Summer In Pender County — Visit NC’s Blue(berry) Zone

If you haven't had the pleasure of being charmed by Pender County NC, summer is the perfect time to head to Blueberrytown! From attending the renowned NC Blueberry Festival to horseback riding through winding wooded trails, exploring historic battlefields, and getting your U-pick fix at a local farm, a summer visit to Pender County promises to be an unforgettable journey, especially for families.

Street dancing at the NC Blueberry Festival

Dance in the street at the NC Blueberry Festival!

Why is summer the best time to visit Pender County?

The NC Blueberry Festival is Burgaw’s premier social event of the year! Celebrating all things blueberry, this Pender County NC festival welcomes 40,000+ in a day of street dancing, car shows, BBQ cook-offs, and blueberry-themed foods, crafts, and miscellaneous mania. The 2024 NC Blueberry Festival takes place June 14 at 106 E. Wilmington Street in Burgaw, NC.

Things to do in Pender County NC collage

Summer adventures await in Pender County NC!

More fun things to do in Pender County NC

While in Pender County NC, be sure to stop by the Historic Burgaw Train Depot, the oldest railroad depot in NC, constructed in 1850. The Burgaw Train Depot was once a stop on the longest railroad line (161 miles from Raleigh to Wilmington). Inside, visitors can study a collection of interesting railroad memorabilia and artifacts, including vintage photographs, train schedules, and ticket stubs. 

Did you know? The Burgaw Train Depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

If you're hoping to spend the majority of a beautiful summer day outside, there are three excellent outdoor options. You can start by tapping into your horse whispering senses on a trail ride at Desperado Horse Farm in Rocky Point – one of the most unique ways to explore Pender County NC. Alternatively, head to Moore's Creek National Battlefield, a hauntingly beautiful site commemorating a decisive Patriot victory against encroaching British forces.

“Sweet victory” awaits on a different battlefield… strawberry-picking at Carol Sue Farms is the stuff of summer day trip dreams. That's right, we said strawberries — not blueberries — and we strongly suggest coordinating strawberry-picking outfits. Young children will adore the U-pick experience, though you're welcome to buy produce, as well. Peruse the store for jam, flowers, and an essential scoop of in-house blueberry ice cream!

Blueberry BBQ at the NC Blueberry Festival

How about some blueberry BBQ?

Pender County eats in NC's Blue(berry) Zone

While rumor has it that the Pender County diet is 60% blueberry, other essential food groups have managed to survive. We've included some of our favorite iconic blueberry treats and drinks from Burgaw below:

  • Blueberry mules from Burgaw Brewing (best enjoyed on the patio); this Pender County NC brewpub also serves Pender County Famous on draft that smacks of tart blueberries
  • Blueberry-muffin flavored ice cream from Boombalatti’s (All three of their shops carry a minimum of six vegan or nondairy coconut milk-based ice cream flavors daily! Check their Instagram for new flavors)
  • A perfect hot dog with crispy fries from Paul’s Place
  • Blueberry garlic knots from Fat Daddy's Pizza (Pender County NC local tip: Take advantage of the lunch special. For $7 + tax and tip, get two pizza slices and a drink Monday through Saturday from 11 AM to 2 PM.
  • The Blueberry Goddess smoothie from Brown Dog Coffee
The Pender House

Enjoy views of the Burgaw Train Depot from the porch of The Pender House

Where to stay in Pender County

Something old, something new, something coastal, something blue…The Parlor Room at The Pender House will make even the busiest of day trippers pause for a seat. Freshly revived in 2022, The Pender House dazzles with original hardwood floors, antique and vintage furnishings, and continental breakfast. 

Did you know? Each room of The Pender House is named in honor of a Pender County NC community member who made an invaluable contribution. You can sit on the front porch to enjoy a sunset with the Historic Burgaw Train Depot in full view. 

Can't make it to Pender County NC this summer? Check out the Burgaw events calendar to see what else is going on in Blueberrytown all year long!

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