12 Best New Year’s Eve Fireworks Displays in North Carolina

Uptown Charlotte has one of the busiest fireworks shows, but towns and cities across North Carolina are planning festive fireworks shows this year. (Photo by Patrick Schneider for Charlotte Center City Partners via Uptown Charlotte)

By Emily Krauser

December 26, 2022

From Raleigh’s Acorn Drop to High Country’s ski resort soirees, these are the best places across North Carolina to watch fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

Get ready to send 2022 off with a bang! Towns across North Carolina are preparing to welcome 2023 with major celebrations, many of which include fireworks.

Not only do all the parties on this list have pyrotechnics, many include creative “drops” that show off local pride. Sure, Times Square has its famous ball drop, but is that sparkly sphere as cool as Raleigh’s acorn, Charlotte’s crown, Pleasure Island’s beach ball, or Burgaw’s blueberry? We think not!

Team all that up with food trucks, DJs, and sparkly hats, and you’ve got some truly sparkly, family-friendly fêtes.

From the High Country slopes to the Crystal Coast’s bedazzling beaches, these are some of the best New Year’s Eve fireworks displays in the Tar Heel State.

Appalachian Ski Mountain’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks Celebration (Blowing Rock)

Looking for a snowy soiree? Head to High Country for Appalachian Ski Mountain’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks Celebration.

Starting at 4 p.m., round out 2022 on the slopes for the resort’s Midnight Blast Sessions. You’ll have to get your runs in by 11:30 p.m., when the ski patrol lights up the night with their parade of torches. If skiing isn’t your thing, moonlight ice skating will start at 9:30 p.m.

The best places to view the fireworks, which will launch at 11:45 p.m., are the parking lot, base of the mountain, and restaurant. The latter has food specials for the big night, and its observation deck is cozier than, say, the frosty outdoors.

The fireworks are free for guests of the lodge, but if you want to visit solely for the explosive event, you can drive up to the parking lot for $5. 

Address: Appalachian Ski Mountain, 940 Ski Mountain Road, Blowing Rock

Admissions: Free for guests, $5 to drive in; Midnight Blast Session (4 p.m.-11:30 p.m.) – ~$44-76

Start Time: 9 p.m.

Beech Mountain Resort’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks (Banner Elk)

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the Beech Mountain Resort, where mountainside fireworks go off at midnight and can be viewed from the lodge deck and the resort village.

Need some activities to go with the sparkling sky? The resort is hosting an all-ages family night at the Cafeteria Lodge starting at 7 p.m., complete with a photo booth, dance party, DJ, and games. If you need an adult beverage or snacks, the bar and Playyard Provisions will be open.

Address: 1007 Beech Mountain Parkway, Banner Elk

Admissions: Free

Start Time: 7 p.m.

Burgaw Blueberry Drop

Burgaw is known for its blueberries, so it makes sense that the juicy fruit is at the center of the historic town’s New Year’s plans.

This will be the fifth Burgaw Blueberry Drop but the first to be followed with fireworks. When you hear the band singing Band “Aude Lang Syne,” that’s the cue to look up to the sky! You won’t even need to wait until midnight—the blueberry falls at 7 p.m. ET to match Greenwich Mean Time.

Food and drinks, including hot cocoa, will be available for purchase. The fireworks will be visible from anywhere within the Fremont Street event space; a map of best viewing locations is set to go up on the town’s website and Facebook page.

Address: Historic Train Depot, 115 S. Dickerson Street, downtown Burgaw

Admissions: Free

Start Time: 5 p.m.

CLTNYE (Charlotte)

There are a number of events around Charlotte on Dec. 31, but the big countdown takes place Uptown.

The main draw of the annual, family-friendly event CLTNYE is the Queen City Crown. The royal emblem will be lit just before midnight and followed by fireworks.

Evening events also include a DJ, food trucks, and live music by local band Mo’ Money.

Address: Tryon Street and Levine Avenue of the Arts, uptown Charlotte

Admissions: Free

Start Time: 8 p.m.

First Night Raleigh

For over 30 years, the state capital has been home to the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in North Carolina, WRAL First Night Raleigh.

You won’t want to wait until the sun goes down to get downtown, as this rain-or-shine fest lasts all day and includes kids events, music performances, improv, a 90-foot-tall Ferris wheel, and a silent disco. Music starts at 6 p.m., headlined by Durham native G Yamazawa, and continues through the midnight madness.

The centerpiece is the Acorn Drop. Exactly what it sounds like, the City of Oaks drops an acorn at both 7 p.m. and midnight, with a fireworks show following the latter. The best place to view the fireworks will be in City Plaza, near the Main Stage.

Tickets are available in advance and on the day of. They include access to First Night venues, performances, amusements, and exhibits, and food and drinks will be available for purchase. Tickets are not needed to walk around Fayetteville Street but are necessary to participate in scheduled activities.

Address: Fayetteville Street, downtown Raleigh

Admissions: Advance tickets: $12 (ages 6+); Day of on-site: $16 (ages 13+), $12 (ages 6-12); Kids under 5 free

Start Time: 2 p.m

Greenville’s New Year’s Eve Celebration

Greenville celebrates its 4th Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration in the Town Common.

Live music by The Dickens Band and food trucks will help Emerald City partygoers fend off hunger while dancing 2022 away, and a photo booth will help attendees capture memories. The midnight Emerald Drop Countdown will be capped off with fireworks.

Address: Town Common, 100 East 1st Street, Greenville

Admissions: Free

Start Time: 9 p.m.

Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Celebration (Carolina Beach)

In the Cape Fear area, Pleasure Island gets a sparkly transformation for the Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Celebration in Carolina Beach.

As an ode to its locale, a lit-up beach ball will drop at midnight, immediately followed by fireworks. Before 2023 hits, partygoers can enjoy a DJ and food trucks from The Donut Hut and Michael’s Seafood. Drinks and New Year’s gear will also be available for purchase.

The fireworks will be set up on the beach, and the main place to view them will be from the Pavilion, near the Courtyard by Marriott. Chances are good that you can take them in from multiple places along the boardwalk or beach (but far away from the actual launching!).

Address: Carolina Beach Boardwalk (Avenue S and Harper Avenue), Carolina Beach

Admissions: Free

Start Time: 9 p.m.

Midnight Magic in Manteo 

The tiny Outer Banks town makes a big splash with its colorful waterfront fireworks display during its New Year’s event, Midnight Magic in Manteo.

The shore soiree kicks off at 6 p.m. with DJ Mixin’ Mike and children’s activities, followed by a countdown for the kids at 8 p.m.

Those staying up later can check out the Appalachian Road Show at 8 p.m. and The Soul Pschedelique at 10 p.m., then cap the night off with the fireworks display at midnight. 

Address: Downtown Manteo 

Admissions: Free

Start Time: 6 p.m.

Morehead City’s Downtown Countdown

The Crystal Coast is home to its own unique “ball” drop: Morehead City’s giant crab pot!

Start the night off early with the Downtown Countdown at 5 p.m., which includes family activities, music, and a kids’ crab pot drop. All around downtown will also be dining and shopping options.

But the big crustacean kicker crawls at midnight, when the bright crab pot drops and fireworks commence over Sugarloaf Island. Snag a spot along the waterfront to catch the show.

Feel like celebrating on New Year’s Day as well? The annual Penguin Plunge takes place in Atlantic Beach at 1 p.m. on Jan. 1.

Address: Big Rock Landing, Morehead City

Admissions: Free

Start Time: 5 p.m.

Mount Olive Pickle Drop

Mount Olive, appropriately, wraps up 2022 with its 22nd Annual Mt. Olive Pickle Drop. Immediately after the dill lands in the jar? It’s time for fireworks!

The outdoor event was first held in 1999 and while the plopping pickle is the pièce de résistance, the fireworks are a pretty good reason to stick around—and not even into the wee hours of 2023! Like Burgaw, the main event begins at 7 p.m.

The Mt. Olive party will also include live music by Selma-based Wild Ride, door prizes for contributors to the annual canned food drive (supporting the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC), and free pickles. While you won’t need to pack your own pickle, you should bring a chair. 

Can’t make it in person? The event will stream online

Address: University of Mount Olive, 634 Henderson Street, Mount Olive (in front of the George and Annie Dail Kornegay Arena)

Admissions: Free

Start Time: 5 p.m.

New Year’s Eve at WinterFest (Charlotte)

If you’re aiming for an adventurous New Year’s, head to Carowinds for WinterFest, which the amusement park deems “the largest party on the state line.”

Early countdowns include three Peanuts character hangs for kids, but the midnight countdown is the one that will conclude with fireworks. Guests watching the fireworks at the Carowinds Theater and Blue Ridge Country Christmas will be able to nab hats and horns, and the latter is one of the best viewing places, as is Celebration Plaza and Tinsel Town Fair.

The usual Carowinds fare will be available, as well as WinterFest specials like Apple Pie Nachos and Candied Bacon. The Parks Brothers and Night Year will perform, and a DJ will host a dance party lasting from 9 p.m. through midnight.

Address: Carowinds, 300 Carowinds Boulevard, Charlotte

Admissions: Tickets start at $32.99

Start Time: 5 p.m.

Night Circus: A District NYE Spectacular (Fayetteville)

For the second year in a row, the Cool Spring Downtown District and the City of Fayetteville are hosting Night Circus: A District New Year’s Eve Spectacular. Tony! Toni! Toné! will headline the carnival-themed event featuring stilt walkers, balloon makers, fire breathers, magicians, festive food, DJs, and more.

At midnight, a large multi-colored star will be raised as a symbol of Fayetteville. The evening will then be capped off with fireworks.

While the festival itself is free, there are VIP tickets available, and two specific spots have fees: the Immersive Tent, created by visual artist Robin Vuchnich, is $5 to enter, and drink tokens at the Libation Tent cost $5 for beer or wine and $10 for champagne.

Address: Festival Park, 335 Ray Street, Fayetteville

Admissions: Free

Start Time: 7:30 p.m.


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