If you live in or near Fayetteville and need a place to unwind, read on!
Known primarily as the home of Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base, Fayetteville also plays host to outdoor destinations often overshadowed by attractions along the Outer Banks.
Cape Fear Botanical Garden, located northeast of downtown Fayetteville falls in the overlooked or, "Eh, I'll go there someday" categories. Named for the Cape Fear River adjacent to the park's border, this eighty-five acre botanical haven displays over 2000 varieties of plants along paved and natural trails that wind past a pond and two signature gardens, and through a mixed pine forest. Wide, grassy lawns and foliage-lined pathways provide a sense of order throughout the park, making it the perfect destination for events ranging from weddings, half-day family, group, or couple outings, or a lunchtime stroll to ward off stress.
Have kids? No problem. In addition to conveniently located restrooms and walkways wide enough to accommodate strollers, Cape Fear Botanical Gardens offers two attractive gardens designed for the little ones. Walk the Mary McLaurin Camellia trail to the Friendship Garden and Lilliput Labyrinth, then stroll to the Bog Garden for a picnic. Visit the Gazebo for a quick photo-op, then head to the Heritage Garden and the 1886 restored farmhouse for a glimpse of life in the 19th century.
Worried about the cost? Don't. Admission is only $5 for adults, $4 for individuals with a military ID, and free for children under the age of twelve. Still too tight for your budget? The park offers free admission on the first Saturday of each month and during the entire month of April.
That's right. Free.
While Cape Fear Botanical Gardens takes pride in their appearance, education has a role in their overall mission. For a small fee, the park offers workshops such as Macro flower photography and gardening for the adults, and a variety of programs for the kids, including the Nature Tales story and craft time (during free admission Saturday. Reservations required. Check the park's website and calendar for more details.) They also provide guided tours and school outreach programs. The only thing missing is a concession stand, so pack a snack if you anticipate the need for food.
Cape Fear Botanical Gardens is open Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM, and Sundays from noon to 5 PM (March to mid-December. Closed on Sundays from mid-December to February.) The park is located in the northeast portion of Fayetteville at 536 N. Eastern Boulevard (Hwy 301). For more information, including directions, important Visitor Tips (pets are not permitted, bug spray recommended), and dates for their annual plant sale, go to www.capefearbg.org/