Oriental Area Guide

Pamlico County, NC
Area Guide

Pamlico County is located in North Carolina's Inner Banks region, the inland coastal region of eastern North Carolina. The “Inner Banks” (IBX) is a newly coined term for the area, distinguishing it from the string of islands off of the North Carolina coast collectively known as the Outer Banks area (OBX). The North Carolina Coastal Plains region comprises of both the IBX and OBX areas. Part of the New Bern micropolitan area, Pamlico County takes pride in its picturesque views and progressive communities, situated near the Neuse and Trent Rivers. Our neighborhoods and hamlets offer our citizens a high quality of life, allowing residents and visitors the opportunity to explore and experience our culture; Pamlico County’s 300 years of history and tradition are apparent in our attractions, museums, parks and events. Alliance, Olympia, Reelsboro, Stonewall, Oriental, Merritt, Bayboro, Grantsboro, Maribel, Mesic, Vandemere, Lowland, Hobucken, Florence, Arapahoe and Minnesott are just a few of the communities of Pamlico County that are waiting to welcome you home, each with its own unique history and traditions. To learn more about Pamlico County, New Bern, Craven County, other nearby regions and towns of interest, or eastern Carolina’s Inner Banks, please visit:

Town of Oriental Tourism

Town of Swansboro

Town of Atlantic Beach

MCAS Cherry Point, NC

New Bern/Craven County Convention & Visitors Center

Our New Bern

New Bern Now

Downtown New Bern

Elizabeth City Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Inner Banks of Washington NC Tourism

Cruising Carolina

North Carolina Beaches

The Official Travel & Tourism Website for North Carolina


Due to its easy accessibility to both the sound and the rivers of eastern Carolina, various groups of indigenous people inhabited the Pamlico County-New Bern area prior to European civilization.  In 1699, the English Crown forged a treaty with the "Bay River Indians" populating the area which is now northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. Among the first European-North American settlements, many colonial settlers came from England, while our area is characterized by the Swiss, French Huguenot, Dutch and Flemish backgrounds of our ancestors. The area of New Bern is rooted in Swiss culture, established by Marian exiles and marriages of the Royal House of Stuart, whose strong links to Calvinism contributed in part to the Swiss immigrant settlement of New Bern. New Bern is the second oldest town in North Carolina and the original location of its state capital. Baron Christopher de Graffenried of Bern, Switzerland founded New Bern in 1710. Craven County, Pamlico County’s closest neighbor, was established in 1712 and named in honor of William, Earl of Craven, the first Lord Proprietor of Carolina. New Bern became county seat of Craven County in 1722; New Bern was also the capital of the North Carolina colony and its first state capital until 1794. Tryon Palace, completed in 1770, was the former home of British governor William Tryon and was used as newly independent North Carolina’s original state capitol building. Following its destruction by fire during the 1790’s, a replica was built in 1864 from the original plans on the original foundation, where it is now maintained as a historic site and tourist attraction. The community of Alliance was settled in 1890’s, named for the Farmers Alliance Movement. Arapahoe, originally named “Bethany Crossroads” and “Cross Roads”, was settled early in the 18th century, not long after New Bern. Likewise, Bayboro was settled early in the 18th century yet not incorporated until 1881. Bayboro was named after the Bay River, which although narrow is navigable all the way into the town. Minnesott Beach, named for the Native American word meaning, "land of the sky-tinted waters", is built on the former site of one of the largest Indian trading centers in the Southern Atlantic States. Minnesott Beach was developed as a resort town following World War I, reached its heyday of tourism during the 1930-late 1950’s era, and has settled into a quieter tourist and retirement destination than the neighboring Outer Banks towns. Oriental, "The Sailing Capitol of North Carolina", was named after the wreckage of a steamer in 1870. Situated near rivers, creeks and the sea, Oriental was among Blackbeard’s hideout destinations during the Golden Age of Piracy. Stonewall was incorporated in 1870 and is presumably in honor of General T. J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Goose Creek Island communities Hobucken and Lowland, formerly part of Beaufort County, voted to become part of Pamlico County in 1874. The Native American village Secotan was located on the land that is now known as Vandemere. The town’s name is a portmanteau that bears homage to its French Huguenot and German ancestry: the German word van, meaning "village" and the French de mere, "by the sea". Tobacco, corn, rice, sweet potatoes, molasses cane and cotton made up the early regional economy, which shifted to mixed farming by the end of the 18th century. Fishing and crabbing, another means of early economy in Pamlico County, remain strong contributors to the economy and culture into the present day. Production of naval supplies, such as turpentine and tar contributed to nearby Havelock’s economy during this time. The productive prosperity of the regional farmland became a target for frequent Union invasion during the American Civil War; many towns of the area were burned to the ground by Union troops. Havelock was the initial landing point for the Battle of New Bern, where the city of New Bern was captured and occupied by Union forces early in the American Civil War. Union forces transited Havelock from New Bern on their way to the Battle of Fort Macon, and despite Confederate attempts to reclaim the town and the surrounding area it was not relinquished by Union forces until after the conclusion of the Civil War. The remains of some of the many battlegrounds in Pamlico County can still be found today. Post-war, like much of the South, the economy of agriculture suffered a serious blow and the region was slow-changing in its economy. Whether enjoying the architectural beauty and charm of Pamlico County’s National Register Historic Districts, peeking into the historical past of Colonial America or visiting one of our historic sites or museums, Havelock, New Bern and other nearby areas have many gems awaiting discovery. To learn more about the history and museums of Pamlico County, New Bern or nearby areas, please visit:

Pamlico County Historical Association

The Historical Society of Havelock & New Bern

The Swiss American Historical Society

Documenting The American South Collections
The North Carolina Experience/ Baron Christoph von Graffenried

Civil War Battlefield Park

Beaufort Historic Site Grounds

North Carolina History Center

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Division of State History Museums

North Carolina Historic Sites

Tryon Palace Historic Site and Gardens

Museum of the Albemarle

Port O' Plymouth History Museum

North Carolina Civil War Exhibit at The North Carolina Museum of History

New Bern Academy Museum at the Tyron Palace

Attmore-Oliver House

Bellair Plantation

The North Carolina Maritime Museum
(252) 728-7317
Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge
315 Front St.
Beaufort, NC 28516

Parks and Recreation

Pamlico County is located convenient to rivers, beaches and inland natural destinations, creating an ambience of diversity and adventure for any outdoor enthusiast. Hikers, beachcombers, and bikers have ample opportunity to explore the cliffs and shores of our area. The rivers and beaches offer fishing, shrimping, tubing, canoeing and kayaking; other popular outdoor activities in the area include swimming, sunbathing,  windsurfing, kite-boarding, hang-gliding, kite flying, sand gliding, surfing, riding all-terrain vehicles and camping. Sportsmen enjoy the year-round fishing available at several national wildlife refuges of the area (Pocosin Lakes, Lake Mattamuskeet, and Roanoke River). Oriental, in particular, is known for its croakers and tarpon. Some of Pamlico & Craven County’s refuges also allow seasonal hunting—Lake Mattamuskeet  allows crabbing in saltwater areas, as well as seasonal permitted large waterfowl hunting with valid hunting permits. Our natural beauty awaits your exploration in the nature preserves, animal sanctuaries, picnic areas, amphitheaters, boardwalks, gazebos and playgrounds of our park systems. Historic districts abound throughout the communities of our unique towns and villages, inviting our guests to immerse themselves in the picturesque charm and rich history of Pamlico County. Experience the simple beauty of sea turtles nesting on sandy beaches, deer seeking shelter in maritime woods, or Banker Ponies galloping in the surf. The Croatan Forest, Dismal Swamp State Park And Wildlife Refuge, Goose Creek State Park and Neuse State Park are just a few of the places of interest where visitors can learn about our unique ecosystems and interact with nature. Upland forests co-mingle with coastal ponds and southern swamp forests, salt estuaries, bogs, and pocosins (“shrub bogs”); the smooth darkness of millponds creates an ambience of an “enchanted forest” in the parks of the Craven and Pamlico County regions.  From observing the archeological exhibits at the Aurora Fossil Museum to exploring the area’s estuary systems at the North Carolina Estuarium, Pamlico County’s eco-tourism offers up knowledge with entertainment for area guests. Whether paddling the Bogue Sound, White Oak or Neuse River, enjoying the painted sunset and view of the stars from the multicolored cliffs of the Neuse State Park or visiting nearby Beaufort to catch a glimpse of the region’s famous Banker Ponies across the channel on Carrot Island, there’s a hidden gem of natural beauty and wonder hidden somewhere for you in Pamlico County. To learn more about the parks and natural destinations of Pamlico County, Craven County and the New Bern region, please visit:

Pamlico County Parks and Recreation Department

North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (fishing licenses)

Pamlico County Paddling Trails

Craven County Parks & Recreation
(252) 636-6606

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park

Dismal Swamp State Park

Goose Creek State Park

Merchants Millpond State Park

Pettigrew State Park

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge

Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge

Croatan National Forest

Atlantic Beach

Aurora Fossil Museum

The North Carolina Estuarium

Attractions and Activities

There’s plenty to see and do in Pamlico County—the eastern Carolina coasts and cities are under an hour away. Closer to home, both New Bern and Havelock are a distance of mere minutes—so you’re never far from adventure in Pamlico County. Downtown New Bern is a fusion of time-honored history and an up and coming venue for the arts and artists, as well as being the “birthplace” of Pepsi-Cola. Downtown streets are studded with eclectic shopping, art galleries and restaurants.  Golfers, fisherman and nautical enthusiasts have ample choices to enjoy the outdoors, while shoppers explore the unique downtown shops or the high-end vendors of the New Bern Mall. Weekly farmer’s markets in New Bern and Oriental invite the senses with seasonal produce, farm-fresh goods, baked treats and the handiwork of local artisans. Enjoy a cup of coffee, relax and enjoy the waterfront views at The Bean on the harbor in Oriental. Gourmands and foodies can experience everything from the diverse comfort-food meets Italian menu of unique eatery The Silos Restaurant to fine dining at The Crab’s Claw or Chefs105/105 Oyster Bar in nearby towns Morehead City and Atlantic Beach, where top-trained chefs create imaginative and memorable meals. Village Food Emporium plates up a creative taste of Pamlico County with a rotating, seasonally fresh and eclectic menu. No coastal Carolina trip would be complete without sampling the seafood—Gary’s Down East Seafood in Arapahoe, Charlie’s Restaurant in Bayboro, Fresh Ketch Seafood of Grantsboro or the upscale sushi menu of Tokyo Kinson are all sure bets to please all types of palates.  Ghost-hunters, take note: the New Bern and Pamlico County area is “home” to many spirits and legends. The Weeping Arch and Cedar Grove Cemetery are just a few of the “otherworldly” places of note. For those who prefer a different kind of “otherworldly” experience, choose instead to see the “inner space” of the oceans at the North Carolina Aquarium. From shows and events to galleries, shops and restaurants, Pamlico County and the New Bern area are characterized by their small-town feel and big-city sophistication. Whether hunting for ghosts, golfing ranges, “bears”, bargains or the perfect cup of coffee, you’ll find it in Pamlico County. To explore more of Pamlico County or New Bern’s attractions and activities, please visit:

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

Downtown Historic District of New Bern

New Bern Farmers' Market

Oriental Farmer’s Market

Birthplace of Pepsi

New Bern Bears

Craven Arts Council & Gallery

New Bern Civic Theatre

New Bern Riverfront Convention Center

Pamlico Musical Society

Taberna Country Club

The Emerald (a Rees Jones course)

Minnesott Golf & Country Club

North Carolina Aquarium

Cedar Grove Cemetery

The Weeping Arch of New Bern

Haunted North Carolina

Haunted Pamlico County

New Bern Shopping and Dining Guide

New Bern Mall

Village Food Emporium

The Silos Restaurant

The Crab’s Claw

Gary’s Down East Seafood Arapahoe

Tokyo Kinson

Chefs105/ 105 Oyster Bar

The Bean on the Harbor 


Life in Pamlico County is enhanced by many popular festivals, street fairs and seasonal events, with calendars packed full of nature, arts, civic and historical events. Some of the area’s highlighted events include Oriental’s Croaker Festival, New Bern’s MUMfest, the Pamlico Paddle Kayak Event, the Blueberry Festival, the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and the Craven County Arts Council and Gallery annual juried sculpture contest, among others. ArtWalks, gallery exhibitions, classes, performances, festivals, golfing tournaments, fishing expos, cook-offs and fundraisers constantly rotate on the calendars of our regional communities. The historic downtowns of New Bern and Pamlico County communities bustle with live music, active local theatres, festivals, and special events year round. From pirates and pilgrims to blueberries and ducks, celebrate it in Pamlico County. To find out more about what’s happening during your visit to Pamlico County, please visit:

Pamlico County Arts Council - Current Events

Oriental Annual Calendar of Events

Oriental’s Art On The Neuse

Oriental Woman's Club Chowder Cook Off at the Oriental Marina

Town of Bayboro Events

Minnesott Beach Events Calendar

Minnesott Midsummer Classic Annual Men's Golf Tournament

Pamlico Paddle Kayak Event

Croaker Festival

Oriental Tarpon Tournament

Oriental Dragon Boat Festival


North Carolina Blueberry Festival

The East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival

Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter Sand-Sculpting Contest (Sculpt for Wildlife)

1st N.C. Volunteers Civil War Re-enactments

Carolinian Shakespeare Festival

Craven Concerts, Inc.

New Bern Parks & Recreation Events

Washington Summer Festival (Beaufort County)

New Bern Historical Society Events Calendar

Craven County Arts Events Calendar

IBX Lifestyles

IBX Arts, a not-for-profit art organization, based in Columbia, NC