Nestled in the historic Albemarle region of northeastern North Carolina, Elizabeth City is a quaint, coastal town that offers a little bit of everything. The area is rich with waterways and woodlands and has close access to nearby big cities.
So, one thing’s for certain – there is no shortage of things to do!
Whether you’re a full-time resident, a college student, or a visitor in Elizabeth City, be sure to check out just a few ways you can explore this waterfront community and the surrounding areas.
1. Kayak the Waterways
Located adjacent to the Pasquotank River and just north of the Albemarle Sound, Elizabeth City is rich in kayaking opportunities! From canopied, secluded creeks to wide rivers and ponds, you can truly choose your own adventure.
Check out a few places where you can kayak near Elizabeth City:
- Dismal Swamp State Park – Enjoy prime views of wild vegetation as you float the remote, historic Dismal Swamp Canal.
- Merchants Millpond State Park – Transport yourself into a peaceful land of hanging Spanish moss and ancient cypress trees as you explore the 760-acre millpond or Lassiter Swamp.
- Coast Guard Park – Take in the clear views of the Elizabeth City waterline from the Pasquotank River at Coast Guard Park—named in honor of the U.S. Coast Guard and its long history with the city.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Click here for a full list of paddling trails and access points.
Need a kayak? There are several local spots to rent kayaks if you don’t have your own, such as Native Girl Kayaking—a mobile rental service that will deliver you a kayak to use for the day.
2. Explore the Outer Banks
Did you know Elizabeth City is less than an hour from the Atlantic Ocean? And, did you know that MACU is the closest four-year university to the Outer Banks? If you’re craving a day on the beach, check out all that the Outer Banks beaches offer.
With more than 100 miles of shoreline, you have the opportunity to explore a variety of beaches! Some of the more well-known beaches include the following:
- Kitty Hawk
- Kill Devil Hills
- Nags Head
- Southern Shores
If you’re looking for something other than time by the water, be sure to check out Paradise Fun Park. Play mini golf, race cars on the mini track, and spend time in the arcade.
3. Go Fishing
Have a passion for fishing? Or, maybe you simply want to try it for the first time. Take advantage of the nearby Albemarle Sound and its tributaries, like the Pasquotank, Perquimans, Chowan, Little, and North Rivers.
Spread out and cast a line at places like Veterans Park, Mariners’ Wharf, Waterfront Park, and Charles Creek. Local fish include flounder, croaker, large-mouth bass, striped bass, white perch, crappie, and trout.
Pro Tip: Make sure you have an updated fishing license before you begin your fishing adventure.
4. Take a Hike
Get on the trails and enjoy the fresh North Carolina air! Hiking is the perfect hobby in Elizabeth City. With miles and miles of untouched land, you can enjoy nature, get some exercise, and unplug for a bit.
Check out Dismal Swamp State Park—which offers 16.7 miles of hiking trails—and Merchants Millpond State Park – which offers another nine miles of hiking trails and a scenic pond area.
5. Hit the Greens
Spend a morning on the greens at Knobbs Creek Par 3 Golf Course! This nine-hole course measures over 800 yards with many traps and lakes.
Looking for a little competition? Consider entering one of the several golf tournaments hosted at Knobbs Creek throughout the year.
6. Discover Downtown
Enjoy some time exploring the historic downtown district in Elizabeth City. From books and antiques to food and boutiques, downtown has something for everyone.
While there, be sure to swing by the beautifully restored Pailin’s Alley. It’s got that cozy-string-light vibe that makes it a great place to grab a bite to eat and enjoy some live entertainment!
7. Catch a Show at the Maguire Theatre
If you’re a theatre lover, you won’t want to miss out on experiencing the Maguire Theatre! Original to the historic Lowry-Chesson Building in downtown Elizabeth City, the Maguire Theatre has been restored as an intimate 250-seat performance space for local, regional and national acts.
The theatre is part of the Arts of Albemarle, a nonprofit arts organization that invites the community to experience the arts, music, and culture of the region through diverse performances, exhibitions and educational programs.
8. Experience Topgolf
If you’ve ever been to a Topgolf, you already know what a fun place it is! (And yes, even for newbie golfers!)
In just under an hour from Elizabeth City, you can experience Topgolf Virginia Beach. This three-story entertainment venue is so much more than a place to swing some clubs. It’s a high-tech driving range combined with a swanky lounge vibe. Enjoy climate-controlled bays, upbeat music, and delicious food all while taking aim at giant outfield targets for a little friendly competition among friends.
9. Check Out Busch Gardens
If you’re a thrill seeker, you will not want to pass up on experiencing Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia! This European adventure park—voted the “World’s Most Beautiful Amusement Park”—offers 130 acres of fun activities, including:
- Roller Coasters
- 50+ Rides and Attractions
- Water Park
- Live Stage Shows
- Animal Encounters
The best part? It’s just a short drive—about 1.5 hours—from Elizabeth City!
10. Attend a MACU Game
If you’re a sports fan, stop by Mid-Atlantic Christian University to cheer on the Mustangs. MACU has seven athletic programs, including baseball, basketball, golf, soccer, and volleyball. Check out the MACU athletics schedule here!
Make Elizabeth City Home. Attend MACU.
There’s no doubt about it. Elizabeth City provides access to some pretty great activities at all times of the year.
Interested in making Elizabeth City home for at least four years? Check out MACU!
Experience a Christ-centered college campus rich with close-knit community, quality academics, and intentional professors. No matter which program of study you choose to pursue, you will graduate equipped for a life-changing career.
Curious about learning more? Reach out to MACU admissions. We’d love to tell you more about this special campus!