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May 08

Nature, Sunshine and Smiles: Three Ways to Explore Jacksonville This Spring

Posted on May 8, 2023 at 9:07 AM by Trisha Ferguson

Who’s ready for warmer weather, sunshine, and more time outdoors? Silly question. Luckily, Jacksonville is just the place to experience these favored months. There’s plenty here to do and see for couples, families, outdoor enthusiasts, foodies and bargain hunters. Here are three creative, no-fail ways to enjoy the unique outdoor fun only found here in Jacksonville.

1. Head to the Farm

Just up the road in Richlands, you’ll find Mike’s Farm, a former tobacco farm transformed into a family-friendly attraction. Offering educational programs and an animal petting area, it’s the ultimate place to reconnect with nature. Guests can pet and feed the farm animals year-round and enjoy a slower pace of life outside the city. We suggest turning your cell phones off and relaxing in a rocking chair on the wrap-around porch with some of their homemade fudge. 

A toddler girl takes a bite of a strawberry while her mother watches in the sunny fields.

Bring the whole family for a sunny afternoon of berry picking and connecting with nature at Mike's Farm. You can sample your berry bounty as you go. 

Easter comes to the farm on Saturday, April 8, 2023. The day-long family fun includes an egg hunt, hayride, hotdog lunch, prize eggs, goody bags, farm animals, an Easter Bunny appearance, and Magic Shows with the Rockstar Magic of Chris & Neal. Admission is $12 (child or adult) and pre-registration is required. Details and tickets are available  here. 

From mid-April through May, berry picking is the thing to do at Mike’s Farm. Whether you pick them yourself or take home a pre-picked container, these strawberries' juicy sweetness will bring back memories of childhood. Dates and hours will vary depending on weather and patch conditions. Keep checking the  website for their season opening date.

Green crates of strawberries stacked on an outdoor table in with a blurred couple in the background.

What’s your favorite strawberry dessert? Bring some of these farm-fresh strawberries home and enjoy on their own or in your favorite recipe. 

Every Saturday in April and May, you can find live music from 4 PM to 8 PM. Check the  website for the upcoming music lineup.

If you work up an appetite while visiting Mike’s Farm, you won’t leave hungry. Its family-style restaurant serves up country cooking for dine-in and take-out dinner. Sweet treats, cider, and coffee can be found in the bakery, with some of the tastiest baked goods in Onslow county on display as well as homemade fudge (including a variety of sugar-free options).

The farm’s gift shop offers delightful seasonal gifts, home decor and treats. And, don’t miss its North Carolina Products Barn – a unique collection of NC-produced products gathered from 100 North Carolina counties. These unique finds range from wine and pottery to socks and suspenders.

To confirm the farm’s current schedule, seasonal berry picking dates, and other events, check the  website, or call before you go: 910-324-3422.

2. Picnic with the pros

With its gorgeous parks and beaches, Jacksonville is the perfect place for a picnic. Just pack your snacks and set your course for the outdoors. Even better, elevate the experience with a luxury picnic outing from  Carolina Picnic Co. 

Whether you’re celebrating a romantic weekend, special occasion or you’re looking for a distinctive adventure that’s Instagram-worthy… a one-of-a-kind picnic is the way to go. The experienced planners at Carolina Picnic Co. will guide you through a variety of location options and packages and then handle all the details so you (and your party) can relax and enjoy. 

A pink VW bus parked under an inviting tree and a table dressed with pink-toned picnic settings

Picture the most fun, romantic or creative setting you can imagine and then let the pros at Carolina Picnic Co. help you make it a reality. Photo credit: Carolina Picnic Co.

While the setting is sure to be picture-perfect, expect delight with an amazing table scape, floral arrangements, bluetooth speaker and custom touches to personalize your outing. Plush pillows, blankets and comfy seating are included to ensure each event is relaxing and memorable.

Add snacks, treats or a meal to your picnic and let Carolina Picnic Co. coordinate all the details for you. A perfect example is this Brunch Board they brought in from Jacksonville’s own charcuterie-inspired cafe, The Grazing Tray.

3. Stop and smell the roses? We vote for an azalea-lined stroll…

You don’t want to miss our azaleas this spring in Jacksonville. The city greenways and trails winding through Lejeune Memorial Gardens come alive each year with bold blooms and greenery that’s nothing short of spectacular. 

Take our virtual tour here:


Take your time and enjoy this stunning park and its paved paths, free parking, and 24/7 accessibility. Just a few blocks away you’ll find Jacksonville’s Freedom Fountain. Lit up at night, it’s the perfect spot for a stroll after dinner and is located beside City Hall at 895 New Bridge Street, Jacksonville NC. Proudly flowing year-round, it honors those who have passed through Onslow County while in service to their country. Hungry afterward? Visit nearby  Lil’ Bean Cafe at 1000 New Bridge Street, Jacksonville, NC. 

Azaleas at Lejeune Memorial Gardens 

Located at 109 Montford Landing Road, Lejeune Memorial Gardens gives visitors, residents, and military members an opportunity to honor those who serve and have served our country and remember their sacrifices. The spring season is a particularly lovely time to visit this meaningful attraction.

By Trisha McBride Ferguson