Occoneechee Speedway Daytrip

Written By: Amber Johnson

  • Drive Time: 1 hr
  • Adventurers: Amber Johnson, her husband Daryl and son Liam and in-laws
  • Destination: Occoneechee Speedway and lunch at Hillsborough BBQ Company
  • Total cost: $60 for lunch for 5!

A while back, I read an article about this old speedway in Hillsborough that still had old cars on the track. It’s been on my bucket list ever since. My son loves Hot Wheels™ and the Cars movie so I thought it would be fun. The Core trips gave me a good excuse to finally make it happen. My Father-in-law is a car guy too so, of course, the fact that they were visiting was perfect timing! So, early in March on a sunny Sunday morning we loaded up and headed for Hillsborough.  

We wanted to grab lunch in the area so we headed downtown to Churton St which was close to the speedway and had several options for lunch. It was a neat historical area of town. It is home to The Orange County Courthouse, the Orange County Historical Museum, Weaver Street Market, and a ton of neat art shops and boutiques! We would have liked to explore a little more but with a hungry kid in tow we needed to find lunch first. Unfortunately, with covid restrictions the lunch options on Churton St were not working out. So, we looked up other options and discovered Hillsborough BBQ Company not far from where we were. If you know my family, you know we are suckers for good BBQ! So we called in an order and decided to grab it and head to the speedway to eat there. Impromptu picnic! It was a great decision! We all loved our BBQ sandwiches and their tomato based sauce was good. (It wasn’t my famous sauce but it was good enough! Haha!) 

 We made our way to Historic Occoneechee Speedway. It is a dirt track that started as a horse racing track. Then was modified to an early, dirt, car racing track when Nascar was getting started. It’s about a mile around and is tucked into a curve of the Eno river.

There are a few picnic tables around, plenty of grassy space in the middle of the track, and a little bit of a play area for kids too. The whole area is good for all ages and physical capabilities, mostly flat and easy to push a stroller around.

The old stands were really cool. Made of concrete and covered in moss now, but still fun to run and play on. There is even still an old concession stand building in place.

There are stairs around the track that give access to the river banks. You can’t see the river from the track itself in most places but up and over the berm and it’s right there!

But the coolest part of the area is the 2 old cars that are on the sidelines of the track! 

We had a lovely afternoon at the track and we will definitely be going back to explore more of Hillsborough in the near future! 

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