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15 Best Things To Do In Morganton, NC

things to do in morganton north carolina
Kit
Kit
Updated

Approximately 60 miles (96.5 km) outside the ever-popular Asheville, Morganton is a bit of an undiscovered delight. She houses buildings brimming with tales of old, museums clasping onto Cherokee Indian artifacts, and the cutest little art galleries. Bring your tattered old journal, bring your four-legged friends, and get ready to explore. As you breathe in mountain air and dip in and out of time, you’ll be oh-so-glad you the fates directed you to charming Morganton. Read on to know more about the things to do in Morganton, NC.

1. Silver Fork Winery

Winery
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

The story behind the owners of this vineyard is so inspirational that you simply must sip a glass of their creation. If just a sprinkle of their good fortune should fall upon you, you’ll be happy it did. Owner Jenn spent 13 years in New York’s Financial District, where she met the love of her life, Ed. Wanting to lead more authentic lives, they sought out the road less traveled and quickly climbed the ranks to wine connoisseurs.

Today, they share their home and their passion in this beautiful winery. Tour their vineyards, sip in their tasting room, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and take home a bottle that’s sure to be filled with magic.

Silver Fork Winery

Address: 5000 Patton Rd, Morganton, NC 28655

Hours of Operation: Wed - Fri, from 12 pm - 7 pm; Sat & Sun, from 12 pm - 6 pm

Website: Silver Fork Winery

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2. The History Museum of Burke County

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The History Museum proudly displays artifacts dating back thousands of years, all the way to the time when Native Americans lived and hunted in this region. Artifact collections highlight mementos​ from stoic tribe leaders of the past, Spanish settlers, and the gold rush. Carefully curated, a trip to The History Museum is a pleasant way to start your Morganton travels. It will set you up nicely for all the beauty you’re about to absorb.

The History Museum of Burke County

Address: 201 West Meeting St., Morganton, NC 28655

Hours of Operation: Tue - Fri, from 10 am - 4 pm; Sat, from 10 am - 2 pm

Website: The History Museum of Burke County

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3. Catawba Brewing Company

Brewery
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Carrying the hefty title of, “The Craft Beer of the Carolinas”, Catawba Brewing Company knows what they’re about. The entire concept began 17 years ago when a couple of brothers fell in love with a Christmas gift consisting of pots, hydrometers, grains, and hops. After training to become professionals - and fast forward all these years - you have yourself a brewhouse that crafts nine of its own flagship beers.

Running four sleek brewpubs, there’s something for everyone. White Zombie Ale? No? Okay, then definitely the Farmer Ted Cream Ale. Southerners love to refer to the Catawba brews as the perfect outdoor beer. Rightly so, as there’s so much mountain magic to soak up both inside and out of these brewpub​ walls.

Catawba Brewing Company

Address: 212 S Green St, Morganton, NC 28655

Hours of Operation: Mon & Tue, from 5 pm - 9 pm; Wed - Fri, from 5 pm - 10:30 pm; Sat, from 1 pm - 10 pm; Sun, from 1 pm - 7 pm

Website: Catawba Brewing Company

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4. The Old Burke County Courthouse

Historic Burke County Courthouse - Morganton, NC
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Upstateherd used under CC BY-SA 3.0

History buffs unite at this beautifully historic landmark in Morgantown. In 1833, with a budget of 12,000 USD, Scottish builder James Binnie built The Old Burke County Courthouse out of native stone quarried on the local Forney Plantation.

It’s gone through many transformations since, and this monument is particularly lovely if you visit in late spring. While the inside is, of course, like stepping back in time, there are lovely rose gardens outside that really put the icing on the cake of your well-appointed afternoon here.

The Old Burke County Courthouse

Address: 102 E Union St, Morganton, NC 28655

Hours of Operation: Tuesday - Friday, from 10 am - 4 pm . Website: The Old Burke County Courthouse

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5. Catawba River Greenway

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

After some time spent indoors at the brewery and courthouse, head on out to the Catawba Greenway. With 3.8 miles (6.1 km) of asphalt trails for biking, skating, fishing, and walking, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by this wooded retreat.

Here comes the best part; while you’re sopping up nature, you’re also going to stumble upon restaurants, coffee shops, picnic areas, canoe launches, and fishing piers. While the rest of Morganton bustles on by, this is a sacred space you’re going to want to indulge in for quite a few hours.

Catawba River Greenway

Address: Parking Access at ​Greenlee Ford (near US 70 W); River Village (NC 181); Catawba Meadows (Sanford Drive); Rocky Ford (US 64/NC 18); Freedom Park (NC 126)

Website: Catawba River Greenway

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6. Catawba Meadows Park

Catawba River, North Fork, near Ashford, North Carolina
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user The ed17 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Covering more than 230 acres (93 hectares) in Morganton, there is a lot to do here. Stroll along the famed Catawba River. Enjoy an 18-hole game of disc golf (so fun). Partake in a little Top Gun-style volleyball. Picnic under scenic shelters. With plenty to keep both kids and adults occupied, pack your picnic baskets, stow away a little grill, and soak up the sun here in Catawba Meadows Park.

Catawba Meadows Park

Address: 701 Sanford Dr, Morganton, NC 28655

Hours of Operation: Daily, from 8 am - 5 pm

Website: Catawba Meadows Park

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7. Beanstalk Ziplines

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The reviews on Beanstalk Ziplines are overwhelmingly positive, and you’ll understand why as soon as you arrive. The staff here is enormously welcoming and friendly. Once you get the chops to climb up those towers, the views will be staggering. Enjoy the sensation of flying high above the trees. It’s simply incredible.

You’ll zip through seven tree houses and wish they had 70 more. How can someone really describe flying? You can’t! It’s just something you must partake in. Book your tickets today, and don’t miss out on one of the most exhilarating Morganton, NC attractions!

Beanstalk Ziplines

Address: 701 Sanford Drive Morganton, NC 28655

Hours of Operation: Tuesday - Sunday, from 9 am - 3 pm

Website: Beanstalk Ziplines

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8. Apple Hill Orchard & Cider Mill

Apple Orchard in Aragam
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Revoshots used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The cider donuts alone are worth the trip. No matter what happens during your fun-filled visit to Apple Hill, run - don’t walk - to the bakery for some fresh cider donuts. After you’ve satiated a desire you didn’t know you had, start strolling. Apple season generally runs from late August - early November, so make sure you plan your trip accordingly.

Here, you’ll find a lovely cider mill, a well-stocked country store, u-pick apples, and tours. Family owned and operated since 1955, this is a nice, wholesome trip that you’re going to enjoy before heading back into downtown delights. (Again, just check their site to make sure they’ve kicked off their fall harvest when you’re ready to pop over.)

Apple Hill Orchard & Cider Mill

Address: 2075 Pleasant Hill Ave, Morganton, NC 28655

Website: Apple Hill Orchard & Cider Mill

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9. Morganton Farmers Market

Farmers' Market
Source: Photo by Flickr user NatalieMaynor used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If you happen to be visiting on a Wednesday or a Saturday and you have no idea what to do in Morganton, NC, the cutest little farmers market pops up in town and it’s surely worth a gander. Support some of the local growers and maybe get into a nice new habit involving a reduced carbon footprint. The sellers will be happy to see you!

Morganton Farmers Market

Address: Wednesday Location: 111 North Green Street, Morganton, NC 28655; Saturday Location: 300 Beach St, Morganton, NC 28655

Hours of Operation: Wednesday, from 11 am - 3 pm, May 3 - Oct 25; Saturday, from 8 am - 12 pm, Apr 29 - Oct 28

Website: Morganton Farmers Market

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10. Hamilton Williams Gallery & Studio

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Now this is a lovely treat to close out your time in Morganton. Not only is the gallery itself aesthetically​ pleasing, the locally made pottery is artistry at its finest. Enter into the pottery studio itself, where many of these gems are handcrafted, or splurge on a fine craft from an Appalachian artisan.

You can tell artists run this studio as, again, just the atmosphere itself is well-appointed and oh-so-inviting. An absolute must, stop on by Hamilton Williams as it’s one of the most entertaining activities in Morganton, NC.

Hamilton Williams Gallery & Studio

Address: 403 E Union St, Morganton, NC 28655

Hours of Operation: Monday - Saturday, from 10 am - 6 pm

Website: Hamilton Williams Gallery & Studio

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11. Abele's Family Restaurant

Salad Bar
Source: Photo by Flickr user Mike Mozart used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Are you having early morning or late night food cravings? Abele’s Family Restaurant has got you covered. This family-owned Morganton restaurant opens at 6 am daily, so if you want to dig in for a hearty meal at their breakfast bar and have an early start on your trip around city, you are welcome to do so! You will find that Abele’s Family Restaurant is truly built with love throughout the years. The mismatch decoration will bring you that nostalgic American charm, even if you aren’t from the States!

Abele's Family Restaurant

Address: 2115 S Sterling Street, Morganton, NC 28655, United States

Website: Abele’s Family Restaurant

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 6am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 6am - 12am

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12. McDowell House

Quaker Meadows, Morganton, NC (49021727867)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Warren LeMay used under CC0

A plantation house on this list shouldn’t come as a surprise, since we are traversing the Southern United States! The architecture of plantation houses in the South is truly grand and exquisite, and you’ll find the truth to that once you visit McDowell House at Quaker Meadows. McDowell House is named after its resident, Brigadier General Charles McDowell, who played an important figure during the Revolutionary War in America. In 1973, McDowell House was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is now currently owned by Historic Burke Foundation and is welcoming tours and events.

McDowell House

Address: 119 St Marys Church Rd, Morganton, NC 28655, United States

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13. Mimosa Hills Farm

Horseback riding
Source: Photo by Flickr user Nicola Sap De Mitri used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

When we say vacation, we often think of sipping fruit juices by the beach or getting massages at hotels and all that glam. Deviating from typical vacation activities, horseback riding could be one of the most fun and fulfilling things that you can do in Morgantown. Mimosa Hills Farm is a horseback riding facility that caters to all your equestrian needs. Sign yourself up for the challenge and learn how to ride horses with the experts at Mimosa Hills. Visiting the horse farm is also a unique way to keep children entertained as the owners conduct tours that allow guests to interact with the animals.

Mimosa Hills Farm

Address: 671 Hopewell Road, Morganton, NC 28655, United States

Website: Mimosa Hills Farm

Opening hours: 9am - 7:30pm (daily)

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14. Bigfoot Climbing Gym

Wall climbing
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

For parents who are travelling with their hyperactive little ones, this might be the one family activity that you are looking for. When in Morgantown, try and stop by Bigfoot Climbing Gym to sign your entire family up for some wall climbing. The gym has several types of climb that will keep your bunch occupied. Bigfoot Climbing Gym is a great place to introduce a new hobby to your children. Wall climbing at Bigfoot is also a creative way to get some exercise while vacationing in the city!

Bigfoot Climbing Gym

Address: 212 Avery Ave, Morganton, NC 28655, United States

Website: Bigfoot Climbing Gym

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 9pm; Fri: 11am - 8pm; Sat: 10am - 8pm; Sun: 12pm - 7pm

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15. Back Porch Antiques

Antiques
Source: Photo by Flickr user John Tornow used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Instead of shopping at commercial centers to bring something from Morganton back home with you, consider antiquing and getting your souvenirs from Back Porch Antiques at Carbon City Road. Owned by husband and wife Rick and Susie Pindell, this antique store showcases carefully curated items that are truly display-worthy. Not only will you be able to fill your curio cabinet with trinkets, you might also find useful household items that just need some tender loving care and attention to give them a new life! That has got to be a sentimental way of bringing memories of Morgantown back into your own home.

Back Porch Antiques

Address: 1112 Carbon City Road, Morganton, NC 28655, United States

Website: Back Porch Antiques

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 6pm; Sun: 1pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)

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Here's to roads less traveled

Magnolia Place, Morganton, NC (49010412867)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Warren LeMay used under CC0

Morganton is kind of like a storyteller’s dream. With wineries conceived from roads less traveled, to buildings whispering stories of old, to enchanting galleries and studios, there’s just enough eccentricity in Morganton to blissfully meld into your happiest travels. Now that you have an idea about the things to do around Morganton, NC, you can finally start planning your visit!

Frequently asked questions about things to do in Morganton, NC

1. What are the best attractions to visit in Morganton?

Lauded for its uniqueness, Morganton truly has several attractions that will make your trip memorable. Make sure to stop by the Old Burke County Courthouse to get acquainted with the city. Apple Hill Orchard and Cider Mill is another place that you should not miss during your stay!

2. What are the best outdoor activities in Morganton?

Morganton is a naturally beautiful city in North Carolina and offers a lot of outdoor activities to its visitors. Mimosa Hills Farm is a horse farm that has riding lessons that may interest you. For a truly nerve-wracking experience, be sure to not miss out on Beanstalk Ziplines.

3. What are the most popular things to do in Morganton with kids and family?

Morganton is an ideal place to bring your family together. Take your children for exciting wall climbing activities at Bigfoot Climbing Gym. On the other hand, if you wish to just have a low-key picnic with your loved ones, be sure to drop by Catawba Meadows Park.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Kit Kittelstad is a Freelance Writer who specializes in higher education and lifestyle articles, with a focus on travel pieces. She also serves as an Adjunct Communications Professor at Pace...Read more

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