30 OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO NEAR CAMP LEJEUNE
By Rachael Fisher
IntroductionThere is plenty to do aboard Camp Lejeune and in the surrounding communities, especially in the Great Outdoors. We encourage you to have fun exploring your new base and find more things to do nearby with these 30 starter suggestions.
Suggested Read:Camp Lejeune North Carolina: In-Depth Welcome Center
COVID-19 NoticeDue to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, many businesses, venues, and parks may be temporarily closed or operating under restricted hours. Many, if not all, of the ones listed here, are likely subject to such restrictions for the time being though new re-openings and closings occur all the time. Therefore, a place we mention here may not currently be open or available for the time being. Check individual websites provided in each section or call to find out each place’s current hours and situation.
30 Of the Best Things to Do Near Camp LejeuneKnow what you are looking for? Click the number(s) to go right to where you want to go: (1-5) Museums (6) Golf Courses (7-12) Parks, Fishing, & Hunting (13-16) Movie Theaters (17) Farmers Market (18) Distilleries (19-30) Gyms
Camp Lejeune Museums
1. Montford Point Marine Museum
Note:The museum is temporarily closed to the public due to the damage caused by Hurricane Florence. Once repairs are made to the building and exhibits, we will reopen. In June of 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Employment Practices Commission that allowed, among other things, African Americans to join the Marine Corps. And the very first of these courageous, groundbreaking men trained right here at Camp Montford Point. Learn all about them right here on Camp Lejeune.
2. Lynnwood Park ZooWho doesn’t love animals? Exactly. Everybody loves animals. And this 10-acre plot right here in Jacksonville is home to over 50 different species, from alligators to zebras. They’re open Friday through Monday until 5 pm, so grab the kids and have a day adventure seeing animals from all over the world.
3. Lejeune Memorial GardensThis sprawling park complex is the site of the Beirut Memorial, the Onslow Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, the 9/11 Memorial, and acreage reserved for future memorials. The Beirut Memorial is a solemn tribute to the 273 Marines killed in Lebanon and Grenada on Oct. 23, 1983. The name of each man is engraved in granite along with the words, “They Came in Peace.” The 9/11 Memorial includes a beam from the Twin Towers, while the Vietnam Memorial is one of the largest Vietnam Memorials in the nation and among the few that lists all the names of the fallen; inscriptions on its glass walls surrounding the central fountain recall all 58,229 men and women who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. In 2015, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the Museum of the Marine. Currently, at what will be part of the entryway for the museum, sits a large Eagle, Globe, and Anchor statue over a reflective pond.
4. USS North CarolinaThe battleship USS North Carolina, docked across the river from downtown Wilmington, beckons visitors to walk its decks and envision the daily life and fierce combat the crews faced during numerous World War II battles. You will encounter stories about men from all walks of life in their oral histories, photographs, and mementos on the ship and through its exhibits.
Pine Knoll Shores
5. North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll ShoresOf the four aquariums run by North Carolina Aquariums, this is the closest. If you and/or your family love enjoying and learning about the wonders of the sea, this is a great place to do that. From guided tours to sleepovers in the facility, the aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is an amazing experience for people of all ages.
Camp Lejeune Golf Courses
6. Paradise Point Golf CourseDesigned by former Marine and world-renowned golf architect, George Cobb, Paradise Point Golf Course has two 18-hole courses, the 70-par Scarlet and the 72-par golf, along with driving ranges, a practice field and putting greens and a Pro Shop, all open to the general public. Golf lessons are available. To schedule a golf outing or reserve your tee time, call 1 (910) 451-5445.
Parks, Fishing, & Hunting
7. Outdoor AdventuresOutdoor Adventures offers fun on the water with paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes. Plus a variety of camps available for all ages that include rock wall climbing, archery, mountain biking, and archery tag. See the events calendar to find some outdoor fun.
8. MCCS Lejeune-New River PoolsGet fit or take a dip in the six pools located throughout MCB Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River. In addition to lap and recreational swimming, pools offer swim lessons, splash camps, instructional classes, and more. Camp Lejeune also offers a swim team for children age 5 to 18, with competitions in age groups against other youth throughout North Carolina. Visit their website for more information.
9. McIntyre-Parks Recreational Shooting ComplexThe recreational shooting complex offers an eight-lane practice course with stationary targets set at known distances of 10 to 50 yards as well as seven skeet fields with two trap overlays with a five-stand overlay. Free basic shotgun safety and archery instruction by Certified Range Safety Officers is available. Learn how to hold, load, and shoot a shotgun, in addition to the rules of the sport. CRSOs can also teach you to hold and shoot a bow and training bows are available. The pistol range is open to authorized MCCS patrons ages 13 and older; children under the age of 18 must be under the direct supervision of a parent/guardian. Only privately owned weapons are allowed on the range. Customers must comply with all base regulations on firearms. Check out the McIntyre-Parks Recreational Shooting Complex and the Pistol Range website for up-to-date information on events such as Kids Day and $5 Friday.
10. Onslow BeachFor a lot of folks, few things feel better than a dip in the ocean. And, at Camp Lejeune, you don’t even have to go off base to enjoy one. Onslow Beach is right here and is open to all. You can even rent a lodge or park your RV here for a multi-day stay. Or just pop over for a day trip and then head home. The Atlantic Ocean’s right here for your enjoyment.
11. Bicentennial ParkFrom the shores of the White Oak River along the Swansboro waterfront, Bicentennial Park includes areas on both sides of the White Oak River Bridge. The park includes a fishing dock, picnic facilities, brick walkways as well as a boardwalk, benches, local history info, and restrooms.
12. Hammocks Beach State ParkA welcome center with nature exhibits showcasing island wildlife and history at Hammocks Beach State Park offers picnic tables and a gazebo, ferry shuttles to and from Bear Island year-round, as well as, opportunities for recreation on the island itself. The island boasts a wealth of unique shells that come fresh with every tide, year-round fishing, primitive camping, covered picnic tables, and swimming on the east shore from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Camp Lejeune Movie Theater
13. Base TheaterFor a great cinematic experience, there are three movie theaters right here on base with the largest being the main base theater. Tickets are cheap, the theater seats 1,400, and getting there from anywhere on post is easy. They even offer private party packages so you can rent out a theater for special occasions. You can learn their current film schedule by calling 1 (910) 449-9344.
14. MCAS New River TheaterA smaller theater located with the Air Station, it has its own snack bar so you can enjoy some tasty nibbles while enjoying Dolby surround sound film. Call them for the current movie schedule at 1 (910) 449-6292.
15. Midway Park TheaterThe third theater on base is a lovely, quaint old brick building that reminisces small-town America. Closed on Mondays, it shows one movie every evening during the week, two on Fridays and Sundays, and three on Saturdays. Find out their current schedule at 1 (910) 449-9344.
16. AMC CLASSIC Jacksonville 16The local megaplex with all the amenities you’d expect. Choose from a wide array of food and snacks, pick a great film to watch, and enjoy it all in surround sound on a big, plush seat. Plus, the theater is attached to the Jacksonville mall, meaning you can get a whole lot of great shopping done before or after your movie.
Food & Drinks
17. Onslow County Farmers MarketThe Onslow County Farmers Market is a nonprofit organization established to provide fresh, local produce; farm-to-table meats and dairy; baked goods; and wonderful hand-crafted items. Shop the market Saturday morning at 4024 Richlands Highway and Tuesday morning at 512 New Bridge St. in Downtown Jacksonville.
18. Walton’s DistilleryFounder Donald Walton may have learned his craft in Kentucky’s bourbon country, but he chose his home state of North Carolina to open his distillery. Which is lucky for all you lovers of high quality and downright delicious American liquors. Stop by for a tour, a drink, a bottle to take home, or all three of his specialty blends.
Camp Lejeune GymsWhether you’re a Marine or Sailor prepping for that next PFT or a family member just trying to stay fit, there is no shortage of gyms on Camp Lejeune for your fitness needs. No matter where you live or work, there’s a place to work up a sweat nearby on base. All of them require 100% ID check, so have your CAC card or other appropriate identification when you go for a workout. Marines and Sailors should also be aware of the base gym policies on appropriate attire and guests.
Note:All gyms are currently affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Some are currently closed, others operating with shortened hours, and strict distancing policies. Check the MWR site for updates and specific guidelines for each gym.
19. Area 5 Fitness CenterBldg. 500, McHugh Blvd., Camp Lejeune 1 (910) 451-8921 This weekdays-only gym has all the weights and cardio equipment you could need, plus locker rooms and showers.
20. Camp Geiger Fitness CenterBldg. G930 C St., Camp Geiger 1 (910) 449-0609 Weight and cardio equipment, plus a sauna and racquetball court. Don’t worry if you don’t have your own racket, ball, or goggles, they have ones you can check out.
21. Camp Johnson Fitness CenterBldg. M-168, Main Service Rd., Camp Johnson 1 (910) 450-1250 In addition to normal, indoor gym features this location has an outdoor space for conditioning exercises like pull-ups, jump rope, and boxing.
22. Courthouse Bay Fitness CenterBldg. BB2 off Horn Rd., Courthouse Bay 1 (910) 440-7447 One of the larger gyms on base with the usual amenities and more, including a sports clinic, a boxing/sparring area, and two racquetball courts.
23. French Creek Fitness CenterBldg. FC332 off McHugh Blvd. & Gonzalez, French Creek 1 (910) 451-5430 With a 10,000 square foot weight room, you won’t feel crowded as you get swole. And that’s in addition to the cardio machines, racquetball courts, sauna, and more.
24. HITT Center Camp LejeuneBldg. 401 (across from the Field House), Camp Lejeune 1 (910) 451-0122 Take advantage of one of two facilities designed to provide High Intensity Tactical Training (HITT) to Marines and Sailors looking to improve their combat readiness. Active duty personnel can attend special classes, but both HITT Centers are open to all authorized patrons for use.
25. HITT Center New RiverBldg AS-4024, New River 1 (910) 449-7698 or 1 (910) 449-5854 The HITT facility servicing MCAS New River with much the same setup as the Lejeune center.
26. Morgan Bay Fitness CenterBldg. H-1, Hospital Point, Camp Lejeune 1 (910) 451-1676 Another smaller, weekday gym but one with plenty of weights and cardio equipment nonetheless. Plus a dry-heat sauna and small group training sessions.
27. New River Fitness CenterBldg. AS-4400 Douglass Rd., New River 1 (910) 449-4961 The main gym for the Air Station, this facility is full of great equipment and spaces. There’s a basketball court, an indoor climbing wall, an outdoor MCMAP pit, a smoothie shop, and more.
28. Stone Bay Fitness CenterBldg. RR-136, Stone Bay 1 (910) 440-2055 A large gym with loads of cardio machines and weights.
29. Tarawa Terrace Fitness CenterBldg. TT-2455C, Tarawa Terrace 1 (910) 450-1681 Weights and cardio, plus a sauna and an aerobics studio.
30. Wallace Creek Fitness CenterBldg. WC1, Camp Lejeune 1 (910) 450-7649 Not does this large gym have all the cardio and weight gear you could need, but a huge, multi-lane pool for lap swimming only. Plus a smoothie shop for some post-swim (or any other workout) refreshment.
ConclusionNorth Carolina’s natural splendor and moderate climate make it a recreational wonderland. Take advantage of the opportunity to get outside and recharge while the country continues to grapple with the effects of COVID-19 on indoor recreational outlets. For information about the recreational programs at MCB Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River, visit their website here. For the most up-to-date information regarding closures, visit MCCS Lejeune-New River Facebook's Page.
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