Fellas, it’s time to round up the crew and head out of town for the weekend; Fayetteville’s calling and if ever you’ve needed a guy’s getaway, it’s now. This city in the Sandhills of North Carolina along I-95 is busting with things to do, and no matter how you and the gents like to get a little R&R, Fayetteville has got you covered.
Need a golf course? There’s a dozen in and around Fayetteville.
In it for the beer? Five breweries pour an array of pints from IPAs to Saisons to sours, making finding your favorite pint an admirable weekend quest.
Sports? High-adrenaline thrills? Barbecue? Check, check, and check.
Read on for all the ideas you’ll ever need to plan your weekend with the boys in Fayetteville.
Let the Games Begin
Seems like the Sandhills were tailor-made for golf – rolling hills, stands of pine and hardwoods separating fairways, and outstanding weather nearly every day of the year – so when you’re ready to tee off your guy’s weekend, a little golf is in order.
King’s Grant Golf and Country Club is a good start for groups with mixed golf abilities. Rates are low weekdays and weekends, and this 6,600-yard course (designed by an architect from Jack Nicklaus Design) lets you balance play by making use of the five sets of tees. Book a tee time early because this semi-private course can fill up on a beautiful weekend.
Two courses give you a unique look at Fort Bragg as the Ryder and Stryker Golf Courses are located on base. On Ryder, rolling hills and some deep bunkers (some of them are so deep you might as well call them foxholes) add to the challenge. With Stryker, a Donald Ross design, you’ll play through some history. This course debuted in 1946 but it doesn’t play like a yesteryear course.
There’s more than golf on hand. If you’re visiting from May to September, be sure to line up your trip with some home games from the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Low-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. The stadium is fantastic and is there anything more American – or more guys-out-of-the-house – than baseball, beer, and a sunny afternoon? Can’t make the trip in summer? Don’t sweat it. The Fayetteville Marksmen, a veteran-owned pro hockey team, plays throughout the fall (which happens to be an awesome time to be in the Sandhills).
The Early Bird
Word is the early bird gets the worm. In your case, pick up a few worms (and your fishing license, if you don’t have it) at one of the tackle shops in town and wet a line at one of the local fishing holes. There’s a Fish and Game Trail that’ll lead you to two dozen spots – ponds, lakes, and rivers – where you could reel in the biggest catch of the trip. Largemouth and rock bass, striped bass, shad, sunfish, catfish, are just a few of the fish you can catch around Fayetteville. Bring a boat or some fishing kayaks and get on the Cape Fear River at accesses a few miles from Fayetteville or at Campbellton Landing a few minutes from downtown. At Campbellton Landing you can fish from the bank as well as launch a boat or kayak; if you find you need some supplies, Deep Creek Outfitters is nearby and has you covered.
Fort Bragg is home to a number of fishing ponds and lakes, including Mott, Texas, and Wyatt Lakes. These managed lakes are spread across the base, and fishing here gives you a seldom-seen look at the backcountry of the base, but they do require a little more work to get to; in addition to your fishing license, you need to visit the Fort Bragg Wildlife Branch for a special permit and specific directions to the lakes.
Don’t want to go on base? Try Glenville Lake at Mazarick Park in Fayetteville or Hope Mills Lake in nearby Hope Mills. You’ll pull in bass, catfish, crappie, largemouth bass even eel in those spots.
Two high-flying adventures in Fayetteville are ideal for getting some adrenaline going. ZipQuest’s Waterfall Expedition gives you eight ziplines, a trio of suspension bridges and views of Carvers Falls, but the most daredevil thing they have might just be the Swing Shot, a three and a half story swing that carries you out over Carvers Creek, five stories below. It’s not for the faint of heart.
On your trip to Fayetteville you might spot a few paratroopers drifting to the ground, and if you want to experience something akin to that, go to ParacleteXP for indoor skydiving. After a safety brief and orientation, step into a humongous vertical wind tunnel with your instructor, wait for the fans to kick on, the fly. Is it that easy? Sort of. Well, the pros make it look that easy, and you’re likely to spot a few professional skydivers, skydancers, and competition jumpers while you’re there. The Army Golden Knights, the Army’s competition skydiving team, often practice there, showing off individual and group maneuvers that look like something out of The Matrix. You won’t be doing any moves like that, but what you do – soaring up the tunnel to speed to the bottom like a human bullet – will give you a workout you won’t believe and leave you thrilled and ready for more. Pair your trip to ParacleteXP with a visit to the Airborne and Special Operations Museum to take a look at the gear and missions real paratroopers have used over the years and take a minute to say thanks to any of the veteran volunteers you meet along the way.
99 Bottles of Beer
All this action is guaranteed to work up a thirst and five breweries in town have the cure for that. At Dirtbag Ales you’ll be able to fill up on a burger, wings or tots from Napkins, their on-site restaurant, and grab a few pints to slake your thirst. Blood Orange Kolsch, a high-caliber IPA, a Pilsner and a Marzen that’ll transport you to Germany in a sip, and a number of specialty brews stay on tap. Mash House is the place for a fresh pint and a thick steak. Gaston Brewing Company is a pooch-friendly nano-brewery where the snackable bar menu is a perfect pair for some Belgian-inspired brews like their Gold Digger Tripel and their All American Strong Ale. Bright Light Brewing Company is also dog friendly and keep a rotating selection of guest taps and house-brews like their blueberry fruited sour, a tasty lager, and an IPA that’s big on hops. Heckler Brewing Company’s offerings include an Irish Stout, a Kristalweizen (a crystal clear, filtered hefeweizen), and guest taps from across the state. Can you pick a favorite for the crew? Can you even decide on your personal favorite? With so many brews to choose from, answering those questions is going to require another trip.
Don’t think we forgot about food. In addition to the food trucks and in-house kitchens at our breweries, you’ll find some tasty bites for sure, but there’s nothing like recounting the weekend’s exploits (and deciding just which stories stay in the circle and which ones you’ll tell the folks back home) over a sit-down meal. Chris’ Steak & Seafood House dishes up that classic steakhouse feel with wood accents and timeless combos like surf and turf. Do you go for a filet, ribeye, or New York Strip? And do you pair it with a lobster tail, a plate of scallops, or a pile of shrimp? Or are you going for the rack of lamb, some killer crab cakes, or the catch of the day? You won’t go wrong whatever’s on your plate.
No weekend away would be complete without some barbecue. Fowler’s Southern Gourmet lives up to the promise and delivers some exceptional ‘cue. Pulled pork plates, piles of brisket, pork ribs that’ll have you licking your lips for days, and burnt ends that might just have you asking for the recipe are only part of the menu. For the rest, well, you gotta get to Fayetteville. And soon.
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