Wilson, NC

The name of this tour says it all. Get ready to spend a weekend having fun Wilson style. Send remote controlled cars flying over mounds of dirt. Watch whirligigs come to life with the slightest breeze. Go to a restaurant with no menu, play a little corn hole in the parking lot, then enjoy the best steak you’ve ever had. Smiles and laughter included.

Medium Activity

2 days | 10 stops

Day 1

STOP 1: Imagination Station

With spinning whirligigs and galleries lining its streets, Wilson is a town that rewards imagination. So it’s only fitting that there is a Museum in the heart of Downtown called Imagination Station. Here, kids young and old can explore, create, ask questions and leave boredom on the sidewalk. Hop on a snowboard machine to test your balance. Race a friend up the climbing wall. Watch Honey Bees inside their hive and try to spot the Queen. Give your mind a chance to play without guardrails and who knows how you could change the world.

STOP 2: Vollis Simpson 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 3: Dick's Hot Dogs

Dick’s Hotdog Stand has been a family owned business in Wilson for almost a century. To that end, the restaurant is a bit of a museum in itself. Its walls are adorned with photos of celebrities, athletes, politicians and other notables who wandered in over the past decades. But make no mistake, the only true stars in this restaurant are its famous hot dogs. Each is cooked up and slapped in a fresh bun for your dining pleasure. Add some slaw, mustard and maybe some original chili. Then prepare to have your taste buds applaud. Yes, they’re that good.

STOP 4: Thunder Alley RC Speedway

This local track offers visitors a chance to test their driving skills against other RC novices and enthusiasts. Drivers bring their own custom cars to race or they can build one on site. These high end toys are one-part passion project, one-part advanced engineering degree. Thunder Alley offers three total tracks. There are two tracks indoors; one oval and one off-road, and one dirt track outside. Try your luck at each. Or just stop by to check out what happens when you let down your guardrails.

STOP 5: Beefmastor Inn

Beefmastor is a small, ten table restaurant that has attracted local and national attention. It doesn’t offer combo meals. You won’t find seasonal specials or a catch of the day. In fact, this little restaurant in Wilson is known for not really having a menu at all. They serve ribeye steak, a baked potato and salad. That’s it. The owners wanted to keep things simple and concentrate on doing one thing well. Judging by the size of the crowds tailgating in the parking lot, it seems to be working out for them. So if you’re hungry for ribeye, and only ribeye, pop on over for a not-so-quick bite.

Day 2

STOP 6: 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 and biking 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.

STOP 7: Parker’s BBQ

When Parker’s Barbecue in Wilson, NC opened in August 1946, a door connected two buildings, providing access to two very different dining experiences. To the left, there were oysters, which you could pair with whatever liquor you packed; to the right, barbecue and sweet tea. Today only the Barbecue remains. Each week, Parker’s smokes about 150 whole hogs — which are chopped and seasoned with a vinegar-and-red-pepper sauce — and fries about 8,000 chickens for 20,000 customers. We suggest you head over early to grab a space in line. You may also want to grab a fist full of napkins. If you’re not getting messy eating this barbecue, you’re not doing it right.

STOP 8: 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.

STOP 9: Casita Brewing Co.

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 10: Ruckus & Redemption

When the drink menu includes a signature cocktail called Gunshot Bicycle Man, you know the meal is going to be a topic of conversation. That’s exactly what you get at Ruckus & Redemption. Located right in Downtown Wilson, this unpretentious little restaurant offers some big flavors to satisfy any appetite. The food is American with a Southern kick. Burgers are served topped in Pimento Cheese. Brussel sprouts are fried with pork belly. Cocktails go down easy. Maybe too easy. Come hungry and with a belt you can loosen a couple notches.