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10 fun things to do in Rocky Mount, NC

Rocky Mount is a small town in North Carolina about 60 miles northeast of Raleigh. Located smack in the middle of the east coast of the United States, Rocky Mount is a great home base for visiting lots of other destinations, and you’ll find plenty to do right nearby!

We stayed in Rocky Mount for a week during our family gap year, and we also stayed in nearby Princeville for four weeks, so we got to know the area pretty well.

Rocky Mount on map

Whether you’re staying for a month, a few days, or just stopping by, here are some fun things to do in Rocky Mount!

10 fun things to do in Rocky Mount NC

1. Star City Skate and Play

Oh, this brought me RIGHT back to my childhood days. This roller skating rink was a fun night out for the family. The kids needed plenty of warm-up time to get comfortable on their wheels, but by the end of the night, everyone was making circles around the rink!

Star City Skate

They also have a big indoor playground that caught our kids’ eyes. Just be aware that you have to pay separately for a play zone bracelet (but their prices weren’t bad at all). We decided if we visited again, we’d just let the kids play on the playground while Mom and Dad skated!

Check on the Star City Skate website for upcoming themed nights and special deals!

2. The Imperial Center for the Arts & Sciences / Rocky Mount Children’s Museum and Science Center

If you’re looking for a fun way to inspire learning, this is the place to be! With nearly 70 years of educational play, the Rocky Mount Children’s Museum and Science Center is a great place to let your kids have fun, without them even realizing that they’re learning!

We didn’t make it here on our visit, but many 5-star reviews say that the exhibits are clean, interactive, and fun for all ages. The center also has a planetarium and a live animal exhibit. The price is very reasonable at about $6 per person, and children under 3 years old are free to enter. Sundays are free for local residents.

The Imperial Center complex also houses the Maria V. Howard Art Center (free to visit), community theatre performances, and in the summer their Lawn Chair Theatre shows outdoor movies.

3. Bel Air Art Center

As their website states, Bel Air Art Center is “a space to create, mingle and flourish”. They display many stunning art pieces from different artists, many of them Rocky Mount locals.

You can round out your experience and really engage all your senses by taking a yoga class and getting a massage, both offered at the center!

4. Tar River Flea Market

On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the Tar River Flea Market is the place to be! The market covers over 15 acres of land and has both indoor and outdoor shops with over 200 vendors, all selling unique and different things.

From toys and books to antique items and jewelry, you can find almost anything here! Outside you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables from local vendors, plus there’s a snack bar in the indoor part of the market.

Got things to sell? You can rent a space and become a vendor yourself. Prices for a booth start at just $10 per day!

5. Tar River Trail

If you’re looking to get out and see some nature in Rocky Mount, this trail is definitely for you!

The Tar River Trail is a wheelchair-accessible hiking trail of just over 3 miles. You can start at Martin Luther King Park or the Tar River Bridge and walk all the way to Sunset Park or a little further to City Lake Park. Along the way you’ll pass through Battle Park and Rocky Mount Mills.

The trail is perfect for all types of exercise, whether it’s walking, jogging, running, or biking! It’s mostly flat with a few hills, and you’ll see some beautiful, natural sights along the way.

If you like to canoe or kayak, give the Tar River Paddle Trail a try!

6. City Lake Park

City Lake Park is a great place to take a breather in Rocky Mount! The lake is beautiful and you can enjoy watching the ducks swim. There’s a water feature and a bridge to an island with a gazebo. There’s also a walking path around the lake, so this is a great place to walk off your dinner!

7. Sunset Park

Sunset Park is a quick stroll from City Lake Park, and there is a little more activity over here! You’ll find a splash pad, playground, basketball courts, a disc golf course, and several kiddie rides including a mini train. It’s a great, family-friendly place to go cool off during a warm summer day!

8. Rocky Mount Mills

When you’re looking for a great meal, especially of the burgers and brews variety, look no further than Rocky Mount Mills. Formerly a cotton mill, the area has been transformed into a gorgeous, modern campus of restaurants, breweries, living spaces, working spaces, and outdoor entertainment.

We visited the Mills twice for dinner — the first time at Tap@1918, a gastropub and taproom, and the second time at The Prime Smokehouse for some great BBQ.

9. Mini Putt Family Entertainment

Who doesn’t love some good old mini-golf and arcade games? Mini golf is a great way to spend time with your family and friends, and Mini Putt Family Entertainment is the best way to play in Rocky Mount! Along with mini-golf, you’ll find some arcade games where you can earn and redeem tickets.

10. Day trip to Raleigh

Raleigh is less than an hour’s drive from Rocky Mount, which really opens up a ton of available activities and attractions! When we stayed in Rocky Mount, we took several day trips into Raleigh to explore.

Here’s a list of some of our favorite places to visit in Raleigh (and look for a post coming soon!):

  • Pullen Park
  • Method Road Pickleball Courts
  • Raleigh Rose Garden
  • North Carolina Museum of Art / Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park
  • Clemmons Educational State Forest
  • Museum of Natural Science
  • The Pit Authentic BBQ
  • Morgan Street Food Hall
  • Poole’s Diner
  • Hayes Barton Cafe & Dessertery
  • The Player’s Retreat
  • Oakwood Pizza Box
  • Wye Hill Kitchen & Brewing
  • The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery

With this list on hand, you’re sure to stay busy, entertained, and well-fed in Rocky Mount. I hope you have a wonderful visit!

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