10 Best Things to Do in Wake Forest NC

Wake Forest, North Carolina is a quiet town and a hidden gem in Wake, Franklin and Granville counties.

Dr. Calvin Jones was the original owner of Wake Forest, and he sold the land and his plantation to the North Carolina Baptist Convention in 1832.

They built a bible college there where future ministers studied and grew corn and other crops.

This became Wake Forest College.

At one time the town was called the “Town of Wake Forest College”, because Wake Forest College was originally located in Wake forest, but was moved to Winston-Salem in 1956 because it had a bigger population.

In recent years, the town has revitalized the downtown area, built the Joyner park, and constructed a greenway system that’s still growing.

Here are a few of the things you can do in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

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North Carolina Museum of Art

North Carolina Museum of ArtSource: Flickr.com/zombieite | CC BY 2.0 GenericPin

Whether you’ve lived in the area your whole life and visited several times, or you’re a visitor that’s never been, you should definitely add the North Carolina Museum of Art to your To-Do list.

Insider listed it as one of the top 25 museums in the United States, and it’s two whole gigantic buildings full of rotating exhibitions, educational programs, and even a permanent collection.

Art from American, European, Egyptian, African and Jewish artists are showcased, and galleries show photographs, paintings from Renaissance masters, and Greek sculptures, among other things.

You can check out their exhibitions page here to see what’s currently being showcased.

Address: 2110 Blue Ridge Rd, Raleigh, NC 27607, United States

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Southeastern Baptist Theological SeminarySource: Wikipedia.org/Specious | CC BY-SA 4.0 InternationalPin

The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is a bible college located in Wake Forest that was started in 1950.

It’s accredited by both the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

It’s got tons of history, being the former campus of the Wake Forest College, which was at one point closed during the Civil War and used to treat and house injured soldiers.

Here’s a link to the public campus visit dates, if you’d like to check it out.

Address: Stealey Hall – Main Administration Building, 100 N Wingate St, Wake Forest, NC 27587, United States

Winterpast Farm

Do your kids love animals?

Then Winterpast Farm is worth a trip! It’s out by Falls Lake, and was previously a tobacco farm, Christmas tree farm and a horse farm.

It’s 10 acres, and it’s now used as an animal sanctuary for sheep, mini donkeys, goats, emus, peacocks, pigs, geese, ducklings, guinea pigs, bunnies and chickens live.

And the best part?

You can pet, hold and take pictures with the animals! Make sure that you bring food so you can feed them, as well.

Some of the feed they’ll allow you to bring includes wheat saltines or other whole wheat crackers or bread, carrots, celery, thinly sliced apples, grapes and plain cereal.

You can also purchase feed there, but it’s $5 per bucket, and you’ll get more entertainment if you bring lots of your own.

You also need to go here to find out when they’re open, and text their Facebook page to set up an appointment.

You shouldn’t under any circumstances just show up.

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Address: 12936 Ghoston Rd, Wake Forest, NC 27587, United States

Joyner Park

Joyner ParkSource: Flickr.com/Soggy6 | CC BY-SA 2.0 GenericPin

E. Carrol Joyner was a farmer who raised cattle on this land up until the 90’s, and before that the land was a farm that grew produce in the 1940’s.

It’s now a park, and the original buildings, like mule barn, chicken coop and tobacco barn were restored, along with a log cabin, and visitors can now view them and learn about the history of the land.

The land also features a pecan grove which has been managed since the Great Depression to produce a crop each year.

Among all of this, there’s a 1,000 seat amphitheater, and three miles of paved walking trails. It’s a gorgeous setting for a stroll!

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Address: 701 Harris Rd, Wake Forest, NC 27587, United States

Historic Wake Forest Downtown

Historic Wake Forest DowntownSource: Wikimedia.org/Rysnap1024 | CC BY-SA 4.0 InternationalPin

The Downtown Wake Forest Historic District has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 2002.

The period that this district was most historically significant was between 1890-1951.

It was the commercial hive of activity for Wake Forest, and all of the businesses in this district were built during that time period.

There are a variety of different buildings in the historic district, with shop fronts on the bottom floors and apartments and office space often on upper floors.

The concrete sidewalks were put in just before WW2.

Building in the historic district ceased when the college was moved, and today the historic district is full of shops and businesses.

You actually have two options when it comes to visiting the Downtown Wake Forest Historic District: you can either go in person, or check out this virtual tour.

Address: 103 N White St, Wake Forest, NC 27587, United States

Pickles & Play

Are you one of the countless Americans who enjoys pickleball?

It’s gaining popularity all across the country, but one of the major downsides for many people is that because it’s usually an outdoor sport, your games are at the mercy of the weather.

But that’s no longer a problem in Wake Forest, thanks to Pickles & Play.

It’s an indoor pickleball facility, which means you can play any time of year, regardless of the current weather.

It’s only been open since September 2023, but on its opening weekend, more than 1,000 players stopped by, and membership is on the rise.

They offer everything from classes, private lessons, pickleball leagues, and tournaments, as well as open play.

Not a member?

No problem. Non-members can visit the facility up to 8 times a year before they’re required to get a membership.

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Address: 740 Merritt Capital Dr, Wake Forest, NC 27587, United States

Wake Forest Falls Lake

Wake Forest Falls LakeSource: Wikimedia.org/Scott Thompson | CC BY 3.0 UnportedPin

Wake Forest Falls Lake, or “Falls Lake” to the locals, is a 12,000 acre reservoir.

It’s gorgeous all by itself, but you can also swim there with 5 different swim beaches, and several different boating ramps to choose from, some of which are for non-gasoline powered boats or paddlers.

There’s a network of mountain biking trails, as well, and 25 miles of trails you can hike.

There are many trails that are flat and make for an easy stroll. You’re allowed to fish here, as well, if you have a fishing license in North Carolina.

There are catfish, Largemouth bass and crappie in the lake, and there are wheelchair accessible docks to fish from, or you can fish from your boat.

During the warm months you’ll likely need to use an insect repellent. And you should stop by the visitor center to get a trail map so you don’t get lost on the trails.

Address: 13304 Creedmoor Rd, Wake Forest, NC 27587, United States

White Street Brewing Co.

This is another business located in the downtown historic district.

They handcraft small-batch ales, lagers and more.

You can sample their brews in their taproom, but because they’re a local establishment, you can also find them at other shops in town. Visiting their taproom is a fun experience.

It’s a casual environment, and although it may be lively, it’s one of those places where it’s not so loud you can’t hear to hold a conversation.

Some of the best-known varieties from White Street Brewing Co. include their Kolsch-Style Ale, and their Hoptimist American IPA, but I say if you get the chance you should try out their Winter Milk Stout and their Scottish Ale.

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Address: 218 S White St, Wake Forest, NC 27587, United States

The Lemon Tree Cafe

The Lemon Tree CafeSource: Flickr.com/Doug Kerr | CC BY-SA 2.0 GenericPin

The Lemon Tree Cafe and Catering is in the historic downtown area of Wake Forest, and it’s a great place to grab lunch or dinner.

They use locally grown produce and incorporate sustainable products when they can, to provide an ever-changing menu of fresh foods.

Their specials and menu changes on a daily basis, but if you get the chance, try out their chicken salad wrap, mini ham and Brie sliders with apple butter, Italian deli sandwich with spicy mayo, green chile tomato soup, or kale of the day salad.

Address: 415 Brooks St Suite C Downtown, Wake Forest, NC 27587, United States

Polar Ice House

Whether you’re looking for a fun and memorable family outing, a unique date, or just to learn a new skill, the Polar Ice House has you covered.

It’s an ice skating rink, and they have public skating, kids skating aids, youth hockey, adult hockey, birthday parties and events, private rentals, and even classes to teach you how to skate.

It houses two NHL regulation ice rinks, as well as lights and a sound system, open hockey, league play, and figure skating sessions.

There are also camps and programs for youth athletics and development in peer group atmospheres.

It’s a great place to host group outings!

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Address: 1839 S Main St #200, Wake Forest, NC 27587, United States


Wake Forest has been around since the 1700’s, which means the whole town is dripping with history and cultural significance, making it a playground for history buffs.

But if history isn’t your thing, there’s still a lot of other stuff to check out.

There should be something here to suit even the most picky people. (Really, who doesn’t like a petting zoo, food or a good craft beer?)

Whether you want to hit the town for date night, find a park to let the kids burn off excess energy in a safe environment, feed your inner angler at the lake, or make memories at a petting zoo, there are loads of things to do in Wake Forest, North Carolina!

  • Sarah ThackerPin

    Senior Travel Writer, Travelsc

    Sarah is a writer from Ohio, currently living in West Virginia. As an avid baking enthusiast, she always scopes out the best food in an area and can make gre...

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