Have you checked out the NC State Parks passport? It's a great little book/guide leading you to all of the state parks in North Carolina. Grab a stamp for your passport at each park and feel the sense of accomplishment! (Luckily some parks have started offering sticker stamps too, just in case you forget your passport...like Captain Wifey does every time ha!).
We've been pretty successful knocking out the state parks around us - Fort Macon, Goose Creek, Hammocks Beach, Fort Fisher, Jockey's Ridge, & Lake Waccamaw. So, we moved inland this time, to Cliffs of the Neuse State Park near Goldsboro.
After checking out the visitor's center, we jumped down to the nearby lake trail and hiked through the woods, eventually making it to the 11 acre spring fed lake. We shall call it 'lake no-name'...'cause, like, I couldn't find a name anywhere.
Although you don't have to hike to the lake (there's parking right by it), the lake trail was a fun 2 mile-ish wooded walk with a few ups and downs but not too strenuous. How ever you get there, at the lake you'll find a swimming and diving area, a boathouse for paddleboat and kayak rentals, bathrooms, and a concession stand. Services and hours vary by season and you do have to pay to swim in the summer. We made a "I'll have two margaritas" joke to the concession attendant and I think we scared him.
One unfortunate thing for us is the fact that private boats (kayaks in our case) aren't allowed on the lake. It's clean, clear, and not very big so I can kinda see why...kinda. Also, you have to pay a fee to swim - that's also kinda strange - but I'm sure they have their reasons (hopefully good ones).
Finally, the cliffs! Or, rather the cliff overlook. Luckily I had searched for pictures of the park before we got there...because...well, you can't really see the cliffs unless you were down on the river. Although you can get down to the river via trails, you still really can't get a good view. I could get a great shot via my drone...but taking off/landing from the park is against the rules. Oh well.
The overlook is great, towering almost 100 ft over the Neuse River. Eastern North Carolina is so flat, so it's amazing to finally get a little height on the situation and look out over the forest and river.
Well, another stamp in the passport and NC state park explored. It's interesting to know that although the park is a little off the beaten path, there is a campground and cabins available for rent on site if you wanted to make a weekend out of it. Whatever you do, don't forget to bring your NC state parks passport (Captain Wifey!).
Paul & Amber (a.k.a. Captain Wifey) everyonestravelclub.com
Map of the park
Man did we just scratch the surface of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Here's the deal. We always stop in the town of Columbia, NC - it's one of our favorite small towns around these parts. We sort of stumbled upon the NWR visitor's center here in town - I don't know how we've missed it in past trips to the Outer Banks - but luckily we made it this time.
After checking out the park headquarters/visitor's center (located just off Hwy. 64 in town and on the river), we took a quick little hike along the Scuppernong River Interpretive Boardwalk. We passed fisherman, folks on a quick stroll like us, and found a sweet kayak launch.
The actual refuge stretches over 100,000 acres across 3 counties (Hyde, Tyrrell, & Washington). Well over 100,000 migratory water fowl concentrate here in the winter and the refuge is home to the only population of wild, free roaming red wolves in the world. It also is home to one of the densest populations of black bears in the world. Wowza!
Here's a link to a map with descriptions of great water fowl observation points (best in the winter). These points are accessed via dirt roads throughout the refuge (some may be closed during the winter or peak water fowl migration times). We'll definitely be back in the winter to check things out. If you visit during the fall hunting season use caution and wear your Clemson sweatshirt.
~Paul & Amber everyonestravelclub.com
P.S. - We'll do a post on our favorite little town of Columbia NC in the winter when we visit the refuge to see some serious bird migration action!
There is nothing we love more than putting in a kayak or two along the Crystal Coast and exploring barrier islands along the Intracoastal Waterway. Low tide and with-mutt is the best way to go. Today's blog post is a little photo journal of paddling around islands mostly near the seaside Eastern North Carolina town of Swansboro. Enjoy!
~Paul, Amber, & Eleanor everyonestravelclub.com
Our favorite boat launch near here
A great kayak rental place near here
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