Washington, NC

Looking to pack up the car with the family and head off toward adventure? This tour has got you covered. We have experiences for the parents, the progeny, and the pets. From exploring the prehistoric to waterfront walks, in Washington, your next road trip will be one that all members of the family will be remembering for a long time.

Medium Activity

2 days | 19 stops

Day 1

STOP 1: Breakfast at Pam's Diner

This eatery has something for everyone, but expect to fight over the last cheese biscuit on the table. Buttery, cheddar cheese biscuits to be exact. Not that you need another reason to go to this warm, friendly breakfast joint, but you can expect a bottomless cup of fresh, hot coffee and some fluffy, fresh blueberry pancakes. Savory more your breakfast style? Try the corn beef hash with eggs how you like ‘em. If it’s all too much, don’t take your food for granted, take it to go!

STOP 2: North Carolina Estuarium

You can’t head to Washington without experiencing the Pamlico River in all its glory, and one of the best places to do that is at the North Carolina Estuarium. This is the world’s first estuarium and home to 200+ exhibits focusing on North Carolina’s estuaries and coastal rivers. After exploring this innovative environmental center, make sure to head outside to grab a selfie in front of the large crab in front of the building, which valiantly states on his large claws, “Keep it clean, keep it crabby.”

STOP 3: Aurora Fossil Museum

Watch out for that Megalodon! Prehistoric shark teeth, shells, coral, and other fossils are yours for the finding at the fossil pits outside of the Aurora Fossil Museum. Bring your own sand sifter and walk away with a discovery. Inside the museum learn about the unique natural history of the coastal plains of North Carolina. Explore exhibits featuring Native American artifacts, fossils of all shapes and sizes. You may even walk away with your own precious gem.

STOP 4: Underground Railroad Museum

The Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum is a National Park Service Underground Railroad-Network To Freedom Facility completely dedicated to telling the story of freedom seeking from the Greater Washington NC region. Using research through documents, narratives of the formerly enslaved and other information housed in university libraries across North Carolina and the Country, we are able to share how many of those freedom seeking attempts gained them freedom in Northern states, Canada, Florida, the Caribbean Islands and many other places.

STOP 5: Downtown Washington

Downtown Washington is a haven for unique boutiques, delicious eateries, and local art. Paired with the gorgeous streetscape and friendly faces that welcome you to the harbor district, it's also one of the most dog-friendly locations you can visit in North Carolina. Find water bowls, pup cups and some other dogs out on the town, ready to take on the world. If you're traveling with a pet, make the rounds in Downtown Washington and have a dog day out.

STOP 6: Lunch at Bill's Hot Dogs

You can never go wrong with hot dogs, especially these hot dogs that have been served up in Washington since 1928. Hot dogs, chips and drinks is all Bill's Hot Dogs has ever served and we promise you won't be complaining about it. The legacy of this eatery is part of Washington's landscape and you can't beat the original. The chili is even the original recipe! Pairing years of hot dog history, everyone's favorite hands-only food, you get a winning combination here at Bill's Hot Dogs.

STOP 7: Scoops Ice Cream

You scream, they scream, we all scream for ice cream. Conveniently located on the Beautiful Downtown Washington, NC Waterfront. Main Street Scoops serves hand-dipped Hershey's Ice cream, milkshakes, specialty ice cream treats, mini donuts, coffee, candy, and more, this spot is a child's paradise and an adult's reprieve. Sweet moments are hard to find, but at Scoops Ice Cream they come in small, medium, or large.

STOP 8: Pitt Street Brewing

What’s better than a great craft beer? How about drinking that craft beer while sitting down by the River? Welcome to Pitt Street Brewing Company on the Pamlico. Fans of this craft brewery may know it from it’s Greenville location. The indoor area has been opened up to allow the breeze and views of the water to fill the space. Outdoors, there are picnic tables by the water. Boats can dock so you can go ashore and grab a pint. Even friends of the four-legged variety are welcome. If you only drink on days ending in “y,” this is the place to be.

STOP 9: River Vibes

River Vibes is the perfect combination for the whole family. Serving up their signature smoothies alongside the option for bike rentals, you can have sweet treats and then a sweet ride to enjoy the waterfront. Dogs are not just pets here, but they're part of the family. While you and the kids are sipping, make sure to request a pup cup, piled high with whipped cream and two dog treats. If someone doesn't get food on their face, is it really a vacation?

STOP 10: Goose Creek State Park

Explore the wonders of nature with over eight miles of trails at Goose Creek State Park that lead visitors through a broad range of coastal experiences—live oaks draped in Spanish moss, wetlands along the Pamlico Sound and a cypress swamp viewed from an extensive boardwalk. A visitor and environmental education center explains it all with detailed exhibits. Getting into or onto the waters of the sound is easy at a sandy swim beach, a boat ramp or a separate paddling launch.

STOP 11: Dinner at Boss Hog's BBQ

Dinner with the kids is no longer hard when you come to Boss Hogs BBQ. Your plate is piled high, fork and knife are always optional, and a large appetite is a necessity. This eatery is where you can delight in all the Southern staples of homemade mac and cheese, collard greens, ribs, fried chicken and more. You won't be leaving here hungry...just make sure you have some napkins before you dig in!

Day 2

STOP 12: Breakfast at the Washington Café

Come with me and you’ll be in a world of the sweetest temptations! Washington Café is the place where breakfast dreams are made of. This is the place to indulge in a morning coffee and a chocolate-filled croissant. The atmosphere of the bakery is warm and captures that millennial vibe in its décor with the exposed brick wall that lines the entire bakery and string lights encircling bags of coffee for sale, and pottery pieces made by local artists. The menu opens up a large selection of drinks, wraps, salads, and a range of daily specials for lunch and breakfast from sweet potato ham biscuits to sticky buns.

STOP 13: Havens Garden Wheel & Park

Take a selfie with one of Washington’s most beloved landmarks: the Havens Garden Wheel. A relic from an area lumberyard, the giant steel wheel sits at the water’s edge just before the bridge on Park Drive. Kids of all ages love to climb it and at sunset it makes a fantastic silhouette against the Pamlico. Check out the inclusive playground while you’re there, and watch for turtles and crabs waddling out of the river.

STOP 14: Harbor District Market

Find a little bit of everything at the Harbor District Market. Home to 26 full-time vendors offering a little of everything. Pick up a few bars of local handmade soap. Invest in a landscape painting by a resident artist. Grab a handmade chair...or table…or basket. Or let your sweet tooth take over the credit card. We won’t tell anyone Either way, you’re sure to leave with a little piece of Washington that you can box up and take home with you.

STOP 15: Washington Waterfront

The Washington Waterfront Docks borders a park where you can spend the entire afternoon laying around and enjoying the scenery. Or throwing a frisbee, playing fetch, and enjoy the breeze coming off the water. Get pets from the locals, sniff all the stuff, and enjoy the company of your humans, who are also enjoying the perfect spot for contemplation, relaxation and the occasional selfie with their best friend, the dog.

STOP 16: Lunch at Backwater Jack's

If you're looking for an eatery that is both quintessentially Washington and can be enjoyed by you, your kids and your dog, Backwater Jack's is the place to be. Right on the water, you can tie up your boat or drop off your kayaks and grab a bite to eat. Unforgettable burgers, live music, and their tiki bar aesthetic are what they're known for and as a local favorite, you're bound to leave having made several friends.

STOP 17: FishIBX Charters

Unlike that other Washington a little to the North, In Washington N.C. the biggest liars are found on the local fishing charters. Fish IBX has been taking locals and visitors out into the waters of the Pamlico searching for their next trophy since 2006. Give your family a chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Pamlico. Lucky or not, anglers will get an earful about all things fish and fishing. Because nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught.

STOP 18: Historic Turnage Theatre

Live music, comedy shows, celebrity impersonators and much more is to be expected at the Historic Turnage Theatre. This restored Art Deco building is the place to make memories with the family as you take in a show. You can almost hear the cheers, laughter and applause of the audience. Visitors can also tour the restored property by appointment so the magic can be experienced even when there isn't a show.

STOP 19: Dinner at Washington Crab & Seafood Shack

If you love seafood…and by that, we mean you eat everything you see…then you’re going to love the Washington Crab and Seafood Shack. This place is a destination in itself for travelers spending time down by the Pamlico. The restaurant is nothing fancy. But, when it comes to great seafood, it’s as real as it gets. Fish, shrimp, oysters, crabs, clams, and more cooked to order. Everything is freshly caught, and you can taste it. So what will it be? Low country boil, bacon wrapped sea scallops, fried oyster burger, seared tuna. Maybe a combo plate is in order. Any choice is the right choice. Prepare to be hooked.