Moving to Rocky Mount - Your EZ Guide to Everything Rocky Mount, NC

Moving To Rocky Mount: Your Guide To Living in Rocky Mount, NC

The city of Rocky Mount is located between Edgecombe and Nash counties in North Carolina. In 1867, the community that settled near the Tar River eventually became the city of Rocky Mount. Since then, it has been the principal city of the Rocky Mount metropolitan area, and also serves as the Rocky Mount-Wilson-Roanoke Rapids Combined Statistical Area with a combined population of 297,726 in 2018. 

Historically, Rocky Mount has strengths in textiles, rail transportation, and agriculture, but their economy has diversified into manufacturing, logistics, and biomedical pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, the city was ranked at number six by Forbes on its list of "Best Small Places For Business And Careers" in terms of costs in 2018. 

Cost of Living and Population Growth

Rocky Mount, NC, had an estimated population of 55,000 people in 2018. However, in a more recent census, this estimate dropped to just below 54,000. Still, it is the 19th largest city in the state and is the 744th largest city in the country. Its peak population was 57,680 in 2010. With over 44 miles of land, Rocky Mount’s population density is at 1,206 people per square mile. 

But just because Rocky Mount has fewer people, doesn’t make it any less livable. The area has some of the most affordable housing anywhere in the country. If you’re wondering just how affordable living in Rocky Mount is, we’ve created the table below that compiles the expenses you can expect along with a comparison to North Carolina’s average and the national average:

COST OF LIVING          

Rocky Mount      

North Carolina     

USA

Overall

75.8%

90.6%

100%

Grocery

93.4%

96.5%

100%

Health

104.3%

107.5%

100%

Housing

39.5%

81%

100%

Median Home Cost

$91,300

$187,300

$231,200

Utilities

102.4%

99.2%

100%

Transportation

73.9%

83.9%

100%

Miscellaneous

97.6%

96.2%

100%

Rocky Mount’s overall cost of living is 75.8% compared to the national average.

Job Market

Families in Rocky Mount have a median household income of around $40,665, which is an 8.13% increase from its previous median income of $37,607. The economy of Rocky Mount currently employs 23.7K people — the jobs available can be separated into three sections; the most common, the most specialized, and the highest-paid. 

Most Common

The most common jobs (determined by the number of employees) in Rocky Mount include: 

  • Office & Administrative Support Occupations with 2,943 people
  • Production Occupations with 2,650 people
  • Sales & Related Occupations with 2,231 people

Most Specialized

Compared to other cities in the country, Rocky Mount has an unusually high number of employees in the following jobs: 

  • Production Occupations with 1.94 times higher people than expected
  • Law Enforcement Workers with 1.91 times higher people than expected
  • Healthcare Support Occupations with 1.61 times higher people than expected

Highest Paid

On the other hand, some of the highest paid jobs in the city of Rocky Mount according to median earnings are: 

  • Health Diagnosing/Treating Practitioners and Other Technical Occupations at $62,067 per year
  • Management Occupations at $51,841 per year
  • Life, Physical, & Social Science Occupations at $49,861 per year

Things To Do

Despite being a smaller city, you can be sure that you’ll never run out of things to do in Rocky Mount. It’s a hip and happening city with plenty of outdoor activities, beautiful parks, amazing food, and a thriving nightlife for young individuals who are thinking about making this quaint town their next home. 

The Rocky Mount Reservoir & Tar River Trail

This 3.9-mile trail is the ideal place for walking, running, and biking, where you can start from Sunset Park and make your way to Battle Park. Following this trail will lead you to many historic landmarks, and will also provide you access to 20 miles of the Tar River and Stony Creek, which are perfect for canoeing and kayaking. 

Battle Park & City Lake

These are two great outdoor areas located in Rocky Mount. Here, kids can ride bikes and scooters and explore along the paved trails — a great way to spend the day outside on a spring day. Battle Park & City Lake practically serves as a landmark in Rocky Mount and is also a great place to take a picnic or walk on its half-mile loop to get some exercise. 

The Prime Smokehouse Barbecue & Beyond

Located in the downtown Rocky Mount area, this restaurant has built a reputation for being the premier dining spot in eastern North Carolina. So, if you’re looking for good food, particularly barbecues, soul food, and southern cuisine, the Prime Smokehouse is for you. It's also a great place for entertainment, with the restaurant hosting national and regional musicians and entertainers during the weekend. 

Koi Pond Brewing Company

Created to provide unique, delicious, and high-quality craft beer, the Koi Pond Brewing Company utilizes locally sourced ingredients to highlight the culture and history of eastern North Carolina. Since its opening in 2016, Koi Pond Brewing became the first craft brewery to open in Rocky Mount, and operates from Tuesday to Sunday. Furthermore, it offers a family and pet-friendly setting for its customers. They serve a few non-alcoholic drinks, while live music and trivia nights are also available. 

Climate

The weather in Rocky Mount, North Carolina is quite stable, but it does get more rain with an average of 45 inches of rain per year compared to the U.S. average of 38 inches per year. However, it doesn’t get much snow, with just two inches of it per year, while the rest of the country gets an average of 28 inches of snow. While it gets a lot of rain, there is an average of 217 sunny days every year in Rocky Mount, while the rest of the country only gets 205 days of sun. Weather highlights in Rocky Mount are as follows: 

  • Summer: The highest temperature is around 90 degrees F in July.
  • Winter: The lowest temperature is 30 degrees F in January.
  • Rain: There’s an average of 45 inches of rain per year.
  • Snow: There’s an average of 2 inches of snow per year.

Traffic

There is a moderate amount of traffic coming in and going out of Rocky Mount, with residents having to sit in traffic anywhere between 20 to 45 minutes depending on the location. According to residents, it takes 45 minutes to get to Rocky Mount from Easter Wake County (Zebulon/Knightdale/Wendell area) with a moderate amount of traffic. While this may be acceptable for some residents, others complain that the traffic can cause them to take as long as an hour to get out of Rocky Mount and get to their place of work in a neighboring city. 

Many commuters have found that it takes an hour each way between Rocky Mount and Raleigh. Because of this, those who live in the area suggest renting apartments in the mills where there are reasonable prices. 

You can use Google Maps to plot the route, then click on "Leave Now" and set options for "Depart At" or "Arrive By" and play around with the time, so you can see what the traffic normally looks like at that time.

Public Transportation

The main provider of mass transportation in Rocky Mount is the Tar River Transit, where service runs from Mondays through Saturdays, with 10 routes: 

  • Meadowbrook
  • Oakwood
  • South Rocky Mount
  • Hillsdale
  • Golden East
  • Ravenwood
  • Sunset
  • Nash Community College / Little Easonburg Shuttle
  • Battleboro / Goldrock Shuttle
  • Rocky Mount East

Meanwhile, Amtrak also runs three north and three southbound trains every day from the Rocky Mount station located downtown. The trains travel to various destinations in eastern North Carolina, along with services to New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, and Washington, D.C. 

The Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport is a public airport just seven miles from the central business district of Rocky Mount. It covers an area of 364 acres and includes an asphalt paved runway. It operates 23 aircraft; 16 single-engine, six multi-engine, and a jet. On July 31, 2005, the airport had a total of 24,904 aircraft operations, with an average of 68 per day. 

Golf

Rocky Mount has three golf courses to offer, along with seven other courses within 20 miles of the city. The oldest course in the city is the Hilma Country Club, which opened in 1900 and was designed by Gene Hamm. However, here are three of the best golf clubs you can find in Rocky Mount today: 

Belmont Lake Golf Club

This golf course emphasizes strategic play and has five sets of tees on each hole, playing 4,900 yards from the front tees and 7,085 yards from the back tees. There’s also a balance of dogleg rights, dogleg lefts, straight holes, small greens, large greens, and a wide variety of hole lengths. Its 18th fairway runs along a beautiful 80-acre lake, with two man-made ponds to elevate the challenge presented to those who want to tackle this course. 

Northgreen Golf Club

This 18-hole course at the Northgreen facility in Rocky Mount features 7,122 yards of golf. With a course rating of 74 and a slope rating of 130, designer Bob Toski intended to challenge golfers of every skill level when the course opened in 1974. 

Benvenue

Just outside of Rocky Mount, Benvenue offers fantastic views and a challenge for golfers of any skill level. Its well-groomed greens and fairways keep this course difficult, yet friendly. Because of this, Benvenue is a great choice for your regular rounds with friends during your stay in Rocky Mount. 

Water Sports

There are plenty of sports to be enjoyed by or on the water at Rocky Mount, with its many lakes and rivers to accommodate enjoyable activities for your family and friends. Here are just some of the best places to visit to beat the heat during summer:

Riverside Recreation

This great recreational destination provides rental services of stand up paddle (SUP) boards, pedal boats, kayaks, tandem bikes, and more. Riverside Recreation also offers guides, tours, and classes in many water sports such as SUP boarding and kayaking. While not found in Rocky Mount, its location in Greenville is close enough for all your recreational rental needs. 

Knee Deep Adventures

Knee Deep Adventures provides rentals for SUP boards, kayaks, and more. They also offer lessons, tours, and events on the Tar River along with other waterways in Eastern NC. They’re also 100% mobile, which means they can travel anywhere you need them to be. Furthermore, they sell Malibu fishing kayaks, Liquid Logic kayaks, t-shirts, paddling accessories, and more.

Dog Friendly

Rocky Mount is also dedicated to providing its residents with dog-friendly places for fun and snacks with your beloved four-legged buddy. 

Comfort Inn Rocky Mount

Comfort Inn in Rocky Mount is a great place to stay for owners with two pets of any size, just for an additional fee of $30 each per night. While both cats and dogs are allowed in ground-floor rooms, other accessible rooms aren’t pet-friendly. But for the comfort of their owners, pets are provided with treats and a bed upon arrival, and there’s also a grassy pet area on the property.

The Prime Smokehouse Barbecue & Beyond

This southern-style eatery combines elegance with a variety of food such as soups, salads, barbecues, seafood, wraps, steaks, burgers, and more. They also offer pet-friendly tables outside, where your pup can enjoy a treat with you. Give yourself a hearty entree with the hand-trimmed beef brisket and a side of their award-winning mac and cheese. 

Best Friend’s Dog Park

This dog park offers lots of room for your dogs to run freely, making it the perfect place to give them plenty of exercise. It is divided into three sections: one for big dogs, one for small dogs, and an area dedicated to agility. Best Friend’s Dog Park is known to be one of the most spacious and most well-maintained parks in Rocky Mount, so be sure to bring your fur baby here for some fun. 

Attractions

Rocky Mount has plenty of attractions to offer, and some of the most interesting places to explore in the state. 

Stonewall Manor

This historic manor is a popular tourist attraction, especially for history buffs. The Stonewall Manor is the perfect example of the Antebellum life on a farm in the nineteenth century. Because it is located near the Tar River, this manor and the area around it is known for beautiful scenery and architecture. It’s also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open for tours, which is great for those wanting to learn more about the South’s history. 

Rocky Mount Mills

Located along the Tar River’s Falls, Rocky Mount Mills mixes entertainment with cultural, commercial, and residential amenities all in one place. With more than 80-acres of indoor and outdoor event venues, as well as workspaces, you’ll find plenty of establishments here such as craft breweries, the River & Twin “tiny house” hotel, many restaurants, and more. As a restored historic cotton mill, the Rocky Mount Mills approaches historic preservation in a way that honors the past while breathing new life into its plank floors, stout timbers, and intricate brickwork. 

Shopping

Rocky Mount has a great mix of small and large businesses, providing its residents with a shopping mall, as well as smaller shops. 

Golden East Crossing

This large, indoor mall presents shoppers with convenient parking, free Wi-Fi in the food court, and a huge variety of stores such as: 

  • JC Penney
  • Sears
  • Belk
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • American Eagle
  • Style Setter
  • And more!

Golden East Crossing also offers residents plenty of options in health and beauty, shoes, jewelry, and others. 

Antiques and Flea Markets

If you’re more into rare and unique pieces, check out Rocky Mount’s flea markets and antique shops. You’ll also find one-of-a-kind treasures at Towel Town and Shedhedah Antiques, where you’re sure to find a special gift or an interesting knickknack. For collectibles, clothes, furniture, and more, head over to The Stockyard Flea Market and 301 Craft and Flea Mall. 

Art and Culture

Rocky Mount also takes pride in its art and culture scene, offering residents and visitors alike with beautiful works of art in many of their museums. 

The Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences

Located in downtown Rocky Mount, the Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences is known as one of the premier cultural facilities on the Eastern Seaboard. This 135,000-square-foot building is home to the community’s performing arts theater, the Arts Center, and the Children’s Museum and Science Center, all of which combine to provide performing and visual arts. The Art Center has hosted a range of classes, events, and exhibitions throughout the year and has done so for more than 50 years. 

Bel Air Art Center

The Bel Air Art Center is housed inside a historic building that dates back to 1924 and offers a space for all kinds of art to thrive under one roof. The foundation of the center is the studio artists, along with the atmosphere that’s created from their works of art. Furthermore, a huge gallery at the Bel Air Art Center showcases a wide range of professional works of art inside a clean and comfortable setting. 

Sports and Sports Teams

Rocky Mount is the perfect place to play softball/baseball, soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse, disc golf, and many other sports. There are two main facilities for hosting all sorts of events — the Rocky Mount Event Center and the Rocky Mount Sports Complex, both of which provide state-of-the-art facilities for all your indoor and outdoor needs. 

The Rocky Mount Sports Complex

Operating under the City of Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Department, this sports complex offers the highest level of services to the residents of Rocky Mount and the surrounding regions. By providing exceptional staff, quality facilities, and a high level of maintenance, this 143-acre facility has an assortment of options for your recreational programs. Here are just a few things you can expect to see at this complex: 

  • Six youth baseball fields
  • One championship baseball field
  • Four interchangeable baseball/softball fields
  • Eight soccer/football fields
  • Two outdoor basketball courts
  • Outdoor volleyball courts
  • A professional disc golf course
  • Picnic shelters
  • Walking trail

The Rocky Mount Event Center

The Rocky Mount Event Center is the premier entertainment, sports, and events destination in North Carolina. This 165,000 sq.ft. multi-use facility is suitable for various sporting events inside an arena that can hold more than 4,000 spectators. It also has a 75,000 sq. ft. event center that can accommodate all your needs, while other facilities include team meeting rooms, four locker rooms, a two-sided observation deck, and full concessions. 

Education: Schools and Colleges

Rocky Mount offers families plenty of options when it comes to their children’s education. The city has recently made investments in distance education to make it possible for those looking for higher education to earn their degrees from top state institutions without having to leave the town. The Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools carry around 18,000 students per year across 28 schools within a 591 sq. mi. area that includes the City of Rocky Mount, Nash County, and parts of Edgecombe County.

Community Colleges

With 58 public community colleges in North Carolina, students living in Rocky Mount have plenty of options to choose from, all of which provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to become successful in their course of choice. In particular, Rocky Mount is served by both Edgecombe Community College and Nash Community College, which have a combined total of 20,000 students. 

Four-Year Colleges & Universities

Rocky Mount serves as the home to North Carolina Wesleyan College, a private liberal arts institution that offers a Bachelor’s Degree in several subjects. It has around 700 full-time students inside the main campus, and an additional 900 students enrolled in part-time and evening programs. Other options include Shaw University, which is a private institution of graduate and undergraduate studies based in Raleigh with a remote campus in Rocky Mount. 

Real Estate

The real estate market in Rocky Mount is thriving, despite being a smaller city. Its median rental cost comes to just $793 per month, while the median house value sits at $113,100. There are many affordable homes for sale here, some of which are townhomes, multi-families, and others that offer two to three bedrooms. On average, homes in Rocky Mount sold for 2.39% below the asking price, as of March 2021. 

Furthermore, homes in Rocky Mount, NC, sell after 74 days on the market, and this trend has gone up since last month and is slightly higher compared to last year. These statistics combined with the city’s thriving population and stable job market make it an appealing choice for anyone wanting to move to North Carolina. However, grab this opportunity quickly; it won’t be long until house prices go up or more people discover the joy that living in Rocky Mount has to offer. 

Welcome to Rocky Mount!

There are plenty of reasons why you should invest in Rocky Mount now; from the affordable homes and cost of living to the beautiful art museums and outdoor scenery, Rocky Mount is a hub for all things aesthetically pleasing. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a family, you can save on so many expenses, especially if you’re moving here from a much more expensive part of the country. And while every city has a pros and cons list to consider before making the move there, Rocky Mount surely delivers more pros than cons, which is enough to make us want to pack our bags and never look back. 

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