On one of my recent trips to New Bern, I decided to be bold and step outside my comfort zone. Meaning, I literally stepped outside of New Bern.

Croatan National Forest

This is the trail I hiked–Island Creek. I was a bit disappointed when I found out it was considered easy!

When I inquired as to a nice place to hike and soak in the sights, the hotel clerk kindly suggested Croatan National Forest. How amazed I was to see that just a few miles south, a whole other world existed. While New Bern has its amazing restaurants, beautiful riverfront and historical buildings, the Croatan National Forest has just as many incredible sights.  Namely green ones!

The scenery was simply breathtaking. Trees for miles and miles. Water seemed to be in every direction. (I later read that the forest’s 160,000 acres are bordered on three sides by the Neuse River, White River and Bogue Sound.) And the birds! I have never pretended to be an avid birdwatcher, but I swear I saw species I had never seen before. While I did not come across any wildlife (a bit glad to be honest), the brochure I saw did mention there are all kinds, including deer, turkeys and alligators! Croatan includes recreation areas for everything a nature lover loves to do–camping, picnicking, swimming, canoeing, hiking and fishing.

tryon palace gardens

Does it get any more beautiful than the Tryon Palace Gardens?

After all that “out of the zone” activity, it was time to relax. The next day, I decided to enjoy the beautiful scenery in a more comfortable setting–the gardens at Tryon Palace. It does not seem to matter how many times I visit this spectacular place. Each time is just as magnificent as the first, and I seem to discover something new each visit, whether it is the flowers, the greenery or a path.

Whether being out of my comfort zone or being super-comfortable, New Bern has so much to see and do. Just zone in on something and make it happen!