Take a trip with your pup to Wilson, a pet-friendly town that welcomes four-legged friends. This tour is designed to get you moving outdoors, with some great places to explore: parks, gardens, lakes, and some great restaurants to keep you from feeling too peckish. We’ve even planned at night at the ballpark for you. So leash up and get ready to take on Wilson.
2 days | 10 stops
STOP 1: Wilson Dog Park
Welcome to eight acres of play dedicated entirely to your favorite dog. One of the state’s best dog parks, Toisnot is a sought-after destination for local pooches and those on their way from here to there off I-95 and Highway 64. Let Fido run free and through tunnels in one of two dog areas (one for less than 22 pounds, one for dogs over 22 pounds). With water stations and plenty of room to play, your pup may not want to leave. Bright green suspended sails provide much needed shade on warm days, and there are benches where you can sit a spell while your dog makes new friends. Owners also enjoy strolling the walking path peppered with bag dispensers. A great place to get in exercise for everyone in your party.
STOP 2: Wilson Botanical Gardens
Eleven acres and 18 gardens are there for exploring at Wilson Botanical Gardens. Discover new blooms and learn a bit at this educational garden where the staff are friendly and helpful. They can tell you what plants grow best in warmer climates. They can tell you what plants will attract birds. They can even tell you how to compost. But what most visitors see is a whole lot of pretty. The facility hosts thousands of varieties of plants. There are flower gardens, hosta gardens and pondside gardens. There’s even a secret garden with raining sunflowers, a dino dig and garden tunnel for the young or young at heart. Drop by to learn more. Or just to relax and bask in the pretty.
STOP 3: Carolina Cheese Co.
This pretty building in the heart of downtown Wilson is a great lunch spot. Featuring outdoor seating for you and your pup, you’ll find a substantial sandwich, salad, and coffee menu. Order at the counter and they’ll bring it to you. The Zippy Rooster Sandwich is a crowd favorite, piled high with fresh deli chicken, a zesty chipotle mayo, and some cheddar cheese, all on out-of-the-oven sourdough bread. You can't go wrong at Carolina Cheese Co.
STOP 4: Lake Wilson Disc Golf
Disc Golf is a lot like regular golf, but played with small plastic discs. The point is to throw these discs into metal baskets. It should be noted that throwing and leaning the direction you want the disc to go does not actually work. The game takes a bit of practice and skill. The player who gets their disc in the basket with the least amount of throws and expletives, is declared the winner. You can try your hand at disc golf while you're in town. Our 18-hole course is located at Lake WIlson. Grab your discs, make peace with the wind gods, and head on over. We suggest you bring a ball for your pet, lest he think those discs are for him.
STOP 5: Casita Beer Garden
At the heart of any great craft beer is creativity. It’s the ability to experiment. It's the combining of flavors that seemingly don’t belong together into something that makes your palate stand up and take notice. That creativity is on full display at Casita Brewing Company. Owners, Ryan and Mahalia Witter-Merithew, have spent the last decade living and collaborating with breweries all over the world. Now they’re calling Wilson home. From this new taproom Downtown, they are brewing some old favorites as well as some new beers we haven’t even dreamed of yet. Stop by and give your beer palate a work out.
STOP 6: Flo's Kitchen
Best. Biscuits. Ever. The restaurant’s cathead biscuits are larger than your fist, buttery as all get-out, and oozing gooey hoop cheese. Flo’s serves other diner-variety fare, but biscuits have always been the lifeblood here. Customize it with crispy chicken, tenderloin, sausage, eggs, bacon, or what-have-you--you won’t regret it.
STOP 7: Whirligig park
Vollis Simpson created sculptures that, with the slightest breeze, would come alive --spinning, dancing. Vollis found a harmony in marrying the unexpected to form the fantastic. He called these works of folk art Whirligigs. Today, his work can be found in museums around the world. But the largest collection of his Whirligigs are right here in Wilson. Inside the park that bears his name you’ll find 31 kinetic sculptures. Some are over 50 feet in height. Stop by and look at the sky on a windy day. You’ll be amazed and inspired. You’ll never think of junk the same way again.
STOP 8: Kayak Lake Wilson
Just a few minutes from downtown you’ll find Lake Wilson. This park covers over 320 acres and has some of the best hiking, biking, and kayaking around. Visitors will find two looping trails that circle the lake. The inner loop is about 1.33 miles and the outer loop 1.76 miles. The trails are mostly flat with the exception of one hill about halfway around. Along the paths a bridge will take you over the back of the lake and around the bottom side of the dam. The trails start and end at the parking lot. So just when you think you’re getting tired, you’re back at your car. Or put your kayak in at the boat ramp and explore the shore line from the water. Either way, it's a great way to enjoy a spring day.
STOP 9: Pup’s Steakhouse
Benji is welcome to dine outdoors with you at Pup’s Steakhouse. A massive outdoor bar, roaring fireplace, string lights, and plenty of local flavor are the story at Pup’s Steakhouse. The Golden Leaf Patio is the spot for live music to go along with a menu featuring local produce, Black Angus Beef and North Carolina seafood. Try the oysters, they come fried, on the half-shell, or Rockerfeller if you like them well-dressed.
STOP 10: Tobs Baseball
There’s nothing like walking into the ballpark on a warm summer evening. The electric buzz of anticipation for the opening pitch. The familiar wafting aromas of hot dogs and popcorn on the breeze. Historic Fleming Stadium has hosted baseball since 1939 and was the on-site filming location for the 1988 hit film Bull Durham. Watch amateur players battle it out in the Coastal Plains League at this charming ballpark. Cheer on the Wilson Tobs and watch out for Slugger--the tobacco worm mascot is full of mischief. Check the schedule for Tobs famously fun “Bark at the Park” night. Taking in a game with your best friend just took on a whole new meaning.