Fort Bragg in North Carolina is a popular duty station for those in the Army, though you might hear a heavy gasp when you tell your fellow military spouses your fate. Fayetteville (lovingly named Fayettenam, likely due to the high number of vape shops, pawn shops, and other not-so-family-friendly clubs) has a bad rap. But take a deep breath, mama. Live like a local, and you’ll soon find Fort Bragg is really not that bad.
Fort Bragg Food and Drink
There are a handful of coffee shops in the Fort Bragg area. The Coffee Scene has two locations, one being inside Womack Army Medical Center (cash only for this location). The other provides live music and large comfy couches to enjoy your cup of joe. The Coffee Cup and Rude Awakening Coffee House are located on historic downtown Hay Street.
North Carolina ranks 11th nationally in the number of breweries. Fayetteville has many of their own:
- Lake Gaston Brewing Co. — Grab a seat on the patio and enjoy a cold beer. Not in the mood for beer? This tap house offers a full menu too, including basic bar food and above-average burgers.
- Bright Light Brewing Co — You’ll drive right by this brewery if you’re not careful. BLB is located off of the main street downtown. They offer fun events, like ax throwing (just pay $5 to let off some steam) and themed trivia nights. Bring your dogs or kids. Both are welcomed!
Fayetteville offers every chain restaurant known to man. But do yourself a favor and try the family-owned businesses first. Habana, located off Skibo road — the locals pronounce it “SKY-bo” — serves up delicious, mouth-watering Cuban food. Mary Bills Café offers large plates and a quaint diner ambiance making you feel right at home. Is your soldier finally home? Celebrate at Fayetteville’s classier establishment, The Mash House. They’ll treat you like the king and queens that you are.
Local Things To Do
Ready to take your run outside or do the kids need to get their energy out? The Cape Fear River Trail has just what you need. This trail is five miles (one way), bringing you through the wetlands and marshes on boardwalks and over the river with multiple bridges. Clark Park is located toward the end of the trail. There you’ll find a large playground and a small nature center. The kids can expand their learning with a closeup of live animals or a quiet puppet in the reading center. Ready for something a little more intense? The Cape Fear Mountain Bike Trail offers three miles of bike-worthy trails.
The southern humidity is no joke. Cool off with multiple splash pads in the area. Honeycutt Park is located near Fayetteville Rose Garden. Be sure to bring chairs, blankets, or a tent. Picnic tables are limited, and this splash pad fills up fast in the summer.
Need a place to bring your in-laws? Leclair’s General Store is your one-stop shop for drinks, food, and shopping. Take your coffee to go or order a glass of wine and browse the handpicked vintage and new items. Or, bring your computer and work while enjoying the cool tunes and local vibes.
Be sure the check out the Fayetteville farmers market on Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Saturdays. Shop the local artists and produce vendors. Dirtbag Ales and Taproom puts on the Dirtbag Ale Market Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring blankets and let the kids run around on the playground while you sip a beer. Or, browse the local vendors after enjoying a meal from the food trucks.
Fort Bragg offers a wide variety of on-post housing. If you’re lucky enough to get offered a house, you’ll enjoy the security of being on post. But, with so many military families coming and going, it’s easy to find cheap off-post housing (yup, go ahead and pocket that extra BAH).
Renting an apartment is a popular choice for young families. Try to choose one away from All-American Gate; this gate is terribly busy, but there are 13 other gates to chose from! Enjoy a home with character? Look for houses in the Haymount district. Need some space to let the dogs run around, Hope Mills or Raeford have affordable options with large backyards. Those areas will put you 20-30 minutes from post.
Don’t worry, mama. This duty station can be really great once you get over the initial ehh of Fort Bragg. You’ll soon be wondering why people aren’t fans of this place! Embrace the American pride, ignore the cars parked on the grass (yes, that’s a thing), and take the kids out for a walk!
Photo Credits: Victoria Hamstra | Pixabay