Discover 9 Reasons to Visit Wilson, North Carolina


Start planning a whirlwind trip to the place that has the largest collection of whirligigs in the world, and you’ll find a hamlet of museums, art galleries, home-cooked meals and small-town sports. With its focus on the arts, the outdoors and the bonus of access by railroad, Wilson is a great place for an affordable vacation. Just 40 miles east of Raleigh, this North Carolina city is a cultural hub. Take, for example, the Eyes on Main Street festival, an annual international photography exhibit: 100 days featuring 100 photographers from all over the world.

Sandra Homes, executive director of the Wilson Visitors Center, ticks off a list of reasons to visit, from food to shopping (see below for details), but the real appeal is the people. “Hometown charm is our tradition,” she says.

When you’re done with arts and culture, settle in for some old-fashioned summer recreation on one of the area’s lakes.

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Learn about resilience.

Wilson North Carolina

Freeman Roundhouse and African American Museum; Photo credit: Justin Kase Conder

The aptly named Oliver Nestus Freeman Round House and African-American Museum is, in fact, housed in a small round home, built by Freeman. He was the son of a former slave, and a Wilson native, who returned to his birthplace after being educated at Tuskegee State Normal School in Alabama. Freeman helped create affordable housing in Wilson for returning World War II veterans.

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