Fayetteville, North Carolina is home to the 82nd Airborne Division, Special Operations Command, loblolly pines, and state highways leading from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic coast. This veteran-friendly location holds the potential to rank just as high in family satisfaction as it does in OPTEMPO if residents are willing to lean into life in the “land of the pines.” Before you get out there, check out our Fort Bragg area guide.
Picking a gate versus picking a town
Fort Bragg’s massive size covers over 250 acres in four different counties, which leaves the “where to live” question highly dependent upon where within the installation a service member will work versus picking a location off of a radius to the post in general.
Fort Bragg area guide: Fayetteville
Life doesn’t get more local to Fort Bragg than the city of Fayetteville itself. At more than 150 square miles, taking on Fayetteville is a matter of navigating through traffic patterns to reach the best local destinations.
Downtown — Two major experiences lie just off Hay Street: The U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum and the brand new Segra Stadium, home to the Minor League Baseball team the Woodpeckers. If relaxation is more your style, try float therapy at Shanti Wellness or browse the aisles at Pressed, fully stocked with the best and most uniquely curated gifts.
Perks of the Sandhills — One massive plus to life at Fort Bragg is the incredible amount of farm-to-table options available at restaurants, cooperatives, and local farmer’s markets. The Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative offers a variety of subscription options and artisanal add-ons like Paradox Farm’s award-winning chèvre and OTL Farm’s seasonal muscadine grapes. From farm-to-table to the local brews at Dirtbag Ales, there are approximately zero excuses for becoming anything other than a locavore.
Fort Bragg area guide: Southern Pines
Southern Pines delivers small-town charm in a big way thanks to a steady flow of local business owners invested in the town’s success. On any given Saturday, the scene is alfresco brunch at Betsy’s Crepes, children in bike trailers, dogs on leashes, and inn guests perusing artisanal cheese from Southern Whey before the drive back. Whether you venture through just in time for an indie film at Sunrise or to see for yourself whether Ashten’s is as good as they say … it’s always a good time to visit.
Fort Bragg day trips:
Just under an hour’s drive is Carthage, home to Buggy Town Coffee and the multi-generational landmark Pik-N-Pig, serving up wood-smoked barbeque favorites on the edge of a local airstrip. Watching planes fly in and out over fall-apart ribs is great fun for the kids.
Durham is a part of “the triangle,” which makes up Raleigh’s tri-city area. The American Tobacco Historic District makes the perfect lunch stop on the way to the nearby Bull’s game or for a quick bite before touring the gorgeous grounds of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens and the Gothic/Georgian architecture of the campus itself.
Fort Bragg weekend destinations:
Vacations large or small provide essential nourishment for military couples and families. With even the slightest bit of time off, those stationed at Fort Bragg are lucky to have a centralized starting point for these must-do experiences.
The Outer Banks is home to hundreds of miles of remote barrier islands, lighthouses, wild horse herds, romantic getaways, and pirate-filled legends. Simply put, it is the best place along the North Carolina coast to realign yourself and your family to a different pace of life.
Read: Fort Jackson area guide
North Carolina is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with hundreds of trails and waterfalls to explore. The Pisgah National Forest, home to the eclectic and micro-brewery-loving Asheville, is to the west, while the east coast is prime for offshore fishing, surfing, and the historical streets of Wilmington.
Mark your calendars for the First Friday of the month in downtown Raleigh. Each month, experience a rotating collection of art and music at a variety of venues throughout town, making for a unique and diverse experience every time. This capital city is bursting at the seams with foodie favorites like Bida Manda, the perfect way to spice up a date night.
With a longer-than-average stay for most military families, learning to love your time at Fort Bragg is easy. Leaving behind the endless adventures and family-like friendships you’ll form is far more difficult.