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Load Up the Kids and Head to Elizabeth City!

Posted on 04/20/2021 by Visit Elizabeth City

Family fun on the Pasquotank River on a boat

Now that the stay at home order is over, grab the kids and have some fun in Elizabeth City! When you take a road trip with kids you can expect inevitable soda spills, family feuds and wayward limbs ("Mom! She's touching me!"). Elizabeth City has exactly what you need to entertain your young travelers and keep the fun going!  Let them release some energy at our splash pads and skateboard parks, explore our nature trails and historic tours and make discoveries through hands-on science experiments.  When you're not sure what to do next, relaxing and cooling off in the river is always a blast. Rent some kayaks, stand up paddleboards or a pontoon boat from Pelican Marina and enjoy floating, swimming and tubing along the river. 

kids playing on Splash Pad at Enfield ParkSplash Pads

We have not just one, but two splash pads in Elizabeth City!  This is a great way to cool the kiddos down and let them stretch their legs and release some pent up energy. 

The Splash Pad at Enfield Park offers hours of playtime in the sun. Be daring and join in the fun, be ready for the giant water dump as seen on the right of the pic! 

Our other splash pad is located within Fun Junktion, which offers a fabulous playground and picnic area. This is the perfect stop for the whole family to enjoy a day outdoors. The covered picnic areas offer shade and plenty of seating for a picnic in the park, you can fish in the nearby catch-and-release pond, the playground has equipment for all ages as well as equpiment suitable for wheelchairs, and of course, the splash pad provides hours of fun for the little ones!

teen doing trick on skateboard at Enfield Skateboard ParkSkateboard Parks

We have two skateboard parks for those who are ready to roll! No matter your skill level, bring your board, elbow and knee pads and a helmet and drop into a half-pike, hit the rails, or just soar over the hills.

Enfield Skateboard Park is located in Enfield Park diagnonal from the splash pad. This is a great course with many options for dropping in and jumping over intentional obstacles such as the fire hydrant shown here.  Fun Junktion (same location as our other splash pad) also has a skateboard park! Pack a lunch and make a day of fun for all ages. 


mom and daughter exploring and learning at the Museum of the AlbemarleMuseum of the Albemarle

Have you ever walked inside a Colonial farmhouse, or stood by a real cannon from a ship? You can, when you visit Museum of the Albemarle, located along the city's downtown waterfront. The museum is chock full of artifacts that reveal the history of 13 counties in northeastern North Carolina, considered by many to be the birthplace of English America.

The "Our Story" permanent exhibition, showcases more than 750 artifacts and displays that tell the story of the region's watermen, farm life, the Civil War, the Wright brothers, the Coast Guard, as well as the region's rich African American and Native American history.

It won't take long for kids to spy the cannon recovered from the ship purported to be Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge, or the horse-drawn "steam pumper" fire engine used in Elizabeth City through the 1920s. They will also enjoy learning how early farm families lived by exploring the Jackson House, a 1755 farmhouse, and the 1840s Proctor Smokehouse, both original structures from the area.

kids learning at Port DiscoverPort Discover

For even more experiential fun, young travelers can explore and interact with the science around them at Port Discover Hands-on Science Center. Offering a variety of science and health programs for children to enjoy with their parents, the center is a science teacher's dream come true. Kids can fly an airplane, observe sea life, examine rocks and minerals and take part in a host of special programs that bring science to life like these robots! Special attention is given to what's unique about North Carolina's Albemarle region with programs on environmental, marine and aviation sciences.

Please note, Port Discover is now welcoming walk-in customers again but still requires masks to be worn by all visitors over the age of 2.

kayaking with little dogDismal Swamp State Park

If you're traveling toward Elizabeth City via Highway 17 from the north, make your first stop before you get to Elizabeth City the Dismal Swamp State Park. Just the name—Dismal Swamp—should get the kids' attention. When they learn that George Washington explored the forested wetlands in 1763 or that bobcats and bears prowl the inner depths of the forest, they'll want to learn more.

Rangers at the park's visitor center are happy to oblige. The center features interior exhibits that interpret the history and biological make-up of the swamp. Native stands of Atlantic white cedar thrive here, as well as deer, river otters and rare plants. Migratory, neo-tropical birds and a significant number of butterfly species also call the state park their home.

Families can explore outdoors via a raised boardwalk or go for a longer excursion among the 16.7 miles of hiking and mountain-biking trails. Visitors can rent bikes from theDismal Swamp Welcome Center for traversing the park's interior trails or rent kayaks for a paddling excursion on the historic Dismal Swamp Canal. 


TCOM Hanger and blimp or aerostat weeksvilleElizabeth City Aviation Trail

Travel the Elizabeth City Aviation Trail, from Wright brothers visits and blimps drifting across our skies, to our local U.S. Coast Guard rescue flights, we are a destination rich in aviation history. Residents have long been accustomed to seeing airships and Coast Guard aircraft in the skies over Elizabeth City. In 1942, from two enormous hangars in neighboring Weeksville, the U.S. Navy began launching airships, or blimps, that were instrumental in combating enemy submarines that lurked off the North Carolina Coast during World War II. Today, TCOM, L.P., an international supplier of tethered aerostats and airship blimp envelopes, still operates at the Weeksville site. If you drive by, you can see one of the extremely large historic hangars and if you're lucky, you might just spy a blimp aloft.

With outdoor fun and discovery abound, adventure awaits you in Elizabeth City! Be sure to use #VisitECity on all your Elizabeth City vacation pics!

Looking for more things to do and places to see in Elizabeth City? Check out our Insider's Guide Blog for a local's perspective on why EC is a great place to visit any time of year!

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