Civil War Trails: Visiting Kinston, North Carolina

Nestled in the heart of eastern North Carolina, lies the small town of Kinston. This small town tucked away far from the interstate, is well worth the drive and will charm you with more than just its storied past. There are three Trails sites as well as a myriad of other points not to be missed in and around town.

Photo of CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center, Courtesy Civil War Trails, Circa 4/6/18

We recommend beginning your visit at our site at Harriet’s Chapel, located at 1400 U.S. 258 in Kinston. Both the Trails sign here as well as the expansive site itself will give you a great sense of the military action that took place here in the winter of 1862, once you have gotten the chance to walk around and explore the grounds at Harriet’s Chapel, hop back in your car and take Queen Street north into town.

Upon arriving in downtown Kinston, find a place to park your car for the afternoon, and enjoy exploring the town on foot. One of the first must-see’s is the CSS Neuse II , a recreation of the famed ironclad built nearby during the war. If you are coming to Kinston on a Saturday, make sure to take full advantage of the ability to explore the recreated ship (if coming another day, be sure to call ahead). Once you have taken a close look at the Neuse II head north a block and take a break at Sugar Hill Pizzeria, which is sure to give you the energy to continue exploring this vibrant old downtown.

Photo of CSS Neuse II, Courtesy CSS Neuse Foundation

Once you’ve gotten your fill, take a short walk south on Queen Street to one of the coolest things we found in Kinston, the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center home to the recovered hull of the Confederate Ironclad. Take time to explore this incredible museum, built around the immense hull of the 158 foot ship, recovered from the bend of the river in town. This museum has a fantastic collection of artifacts recovered from the Neuse as well as a unique approach to interpreting the parts of the ship that have disappeared over the years. Once this truly fascinating place has gotten your imagination and curiosity going, it is time to take another walk up Queen Street to find a place to discuss what you have seen. For this, we recommend, Mother Earth Brewing a uniquely Kinston establishment and well worth any time you can spend there. If you still have time left after all of this, we recommend that you strike out into the countryside around Kinston, to the many historic sites and locations that discuss the events and stories that unfolded all around Kinston.

Photo of Mother Earth Brewery, Courtesy Civil War Trails, Circa 4/6/18

Hopefully this taste of Kinston will be enough to encourage you to turn off of the interstate and take the time to explore all that this beautiful, unique, and historic place has to offer. If you do decide to visit feel free to reach out through the Civil War Trails website for any further advice, or contact our friends in the Kinston-Lenoir Chamber of Commerce  for a full rundown of what there is to do in town.

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