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Flanners Beach is tucked away just off of Hwy 70 outside historic New Bern NC. It’s a small campground overlooking the mighty Neuse River. Most sites are level. Sewer is not offered but of course they have a dump. Water and electric is available and camp fees are very reasonable. There is a sand beach to enjoy and you are within 10 miles of both New Bern and Havelock where Cherry Point Marine Corp base is located.
I’ve known about this campground for a long time, but I never got a chance to camp at it until now. It was long overdue. The campground has pull-through and back-in sites. The sites are level and most have 30/50 amp hookups, as well as water. There is also a primitive tent camping area. You can choose to stay along the river or next to the woods. There are viewing platforms to look at the river, trails, and at least three ponds in which you can fish. There is not a swimming pool or an arcade pavilion, but there are a lot of things for children and adults to do. The campground is along the Neuse River, and it is part of the Neuseway Nature Center complex. The Nature Center has a variety of live animal exhibits, and across the street there is a planetarium and science center. Also included on the premises are a playground, a fossil dig, a picnic shelter, and a small train in which visitors can ride. You have to register at the Nature Center, which is about a hundred yards from the campground, and the fee was$20.00, which I thought was very reasonable. The host was one of the nicest hosts I have ever encountered at a campground. He answered all the questions we had, and he walked us to the bath house to make sure we understood how to enter the code to unlock the door. There are some drawbacks to the campground, although not many. It is a long walk to the bath house from the campground, but our host said that they are trying to get a bath house within the campground itself. The reason it has not been done sooner is because the whole area is in a flood zone, and they have to figure out the best way to have bathrooms there. The waters from the Neuse River have covered the entire campground and Nature Center complex more than once and almost every year. With that said, you will want to make sure the river has not flooded before you decide to go. It rained the entire time we were there, so we didn’t get to enjoy many of the outdoor opportunities, but I enjoyed seeing the river and the animal exhibits. However, there is a lot more to do across the bridge into Kinston. With a short drive of three-tenths of a mile, you will be on Herritage Street. Over the last three decades, the city of Kinston has been in a steady decline in population, and the crime rate has increased. However, city leaders have been bringing things back to life. This campground is right across the river from Herritage Street, which has a nationally known restaurant(The Chef and the Farmer), the only full size Civil War ironclad replica in the world, a successful brewery(Mother Earth Brewery), and many other eclectic shops and parks. For breakfast and lunch, Lovick’s Café is a great choice, and it has been in business since the 1940s. It is most famous for its dough burgers. For some people, this might be a two star campground because it doesn’t seem to offer much. Others, including myself, would rate it five stars because it has a little bit of both worlds—nature and civilization(Herritage Street). I will give it only four stars because I’m trying to be objective, knowing that people looking for campgrounds want swimming pools, game rooms, Wi-Fi, etc.
The good news about this RV park is that it is conveniently located next to Interstate 95. The bad news about this RV park is that it is conveniently located next to Interstate 95. Needing to stop for the night on the way home, I found this place along the way. The rate was reasonable, and it was close to fast food places. It was late, and I didn’t want to cook supper. I think that most people stay at this campground for one of two reasons. One is that they are traveling either north to south or south to north, and it is just off the Interstate. The other reason is for the shopping. This area between Selma and Smithfield is a mecca for shoppers, especially during November and December. There are dozens and dozens of outlets, and people from hundreds of miles stop at them. That’s why this RV park is a great place for people who fit into one of those two categories. This RV park does NOT accept tents. It is strictly for RVs. As far as amenities, there is a clubhouse and a large swimming pool. I didn’t see anyone in the swimming pool, especially since it was December. However, I can imagine that it would feel great during the summer, and it seems large enough to handle lots of people. Some of the“picnic tables” were interesting. Many of them looked more like patio furniture, which is a nice touch. All of the spaces that I saw were pull-through sites, and they were level with water, sewer, and 30 and/or 50 amp hookups. The campground roads were paved, and the RV sites were gravel. There was also a dump station. Other than the swimming pool, there is also a large pond in which you can fish without a license. For the younger children, there was a swing set, which surprised me. For a campground this size, I would have thought they would have had a large playground. On their website, they list a playground. Either I missed it, but I don’t think I did, or they don’t expect too many children staying here. There is also a fenced area for owners to walk their dogs. Although there is Wi-Fi, I got the message that the internet was not available. I was happy to see that their bath house was heated, although I never could get warm water to come out of the faucet. Fortunately, the shower had hot water. The only complaint I would have about the showers is that they are small. The area to dress and undress was just large enough to turn around in. I would imagine that most people who are overweight would have a difficult time, but then again, this is an RV park. Most people would be taking a shower in their RVs, so if you are in a teardrop like I was, you would appreciate a larger shower. The worst part about this campground, for me, was the noise from the Interstate. I thought it would die down during the night, but I was wrong. There was also the sound of trains—at least seven or eight times during the night. In the campground office, they have a little store with canned food items and a few other necessities. I got there late, but the hostess was very nice and pointed out everything I needed to know. Overall, it is everything you would expect from a top notch RV park, including the amenities and the services, but I wouldn’t want to stay there for several nights unless I wanted to hear traffic 24/7.
This campground is out in the middle of a farming community miles away from the nearest large city. Decades ago, it was a popular destination for folks for miles around. There was a store and a mill, but more importantly, it was a social gathering place. We took our Cub Scouts there to camp and to have ceremonies a few times. The worst thing about this campground that I have found is that there are venomous snakes that come from the millpond. As far as activities, it does have a swimming pool and a trail or two to explore; but the main attraction is the fishing. Fast forward to the present. A previous owner turned the campground into a cat rescue, and in the past, I have seen dozens and dozens of cats around the campground, sometimes gathered together as the owner is feeding them. This time I only saw five. With that said, you have to watch out for cat droppings. Because of several hurricanes coming through, the pond has washed over the banks a few times, and the dam has broken on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, the dam is still broken and is in need of repair. The millpond is the main attraction for this campground, but with the pond being completely drained, you cannot fish in it or boat on it until it is repaired. In the past, most people launched their own boats instead of renting them, and since it is a millpond, there were lots of places to fish among the cypress trees and stumps. You could see plenty of turtles and geese. There was a peaceful beauty there. My favorite part about the campground is taking pictures of the old mill and store, although it has deteriorated and has“no trespassing” signs. There was once a dock for fishing, but that has also deteriorated and has“no trespassing” signs. The campground did have a store that sold live bait, but with the pond drained, there is no need for it to be in business anymore. Most of the people at the campground are seasonal or permanent residents. The campground has RV sites with cable/internet connections, an in ground pool, a fishing pier, and a pavilion for gatherings. Even with it needing a lot of work and updating, it is a place where you can camp without the sounds of traffic all night long. At night, you could hear owls, geese, and frogs, but this time, it was quiet since the geese aren’t around anymore. The campsite was a little soft because of all the rain, so staying in the back of my SUV seemed like a better option. During the day, you will hear an occasional piece of farm machinery since it is surrounded by farms. Overall, it’s a good place to camp if you just want to get away from the sounds of traffic, and the owner was very nice. As I talked to her, she said she was trying to get help from the federal government to get the dam/embankment fixed so the pond can fill up again. I would like to go back there when the pond is back to its normal level.
If you have a chance, definitely check out Goose Creek State Park. My husband, son, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and myself stayed at the park this past weekend, and we had a wonderful time. We stayed at campsite 11, and we had plenty of room for our two tents, two vehicles, a pup, a toddler, and the supplied picnic table, fire pit, and additional charcoal grill. The one negative about spot 11 is there’s a hiking trail that run directly behind the campsite, so it feels like people are constantly walking through your campsite. Spots 1-10 were definitely a bit smaller, and spots 11-14 are larger. If we were to stay again, I believe we’d try to stay at site 13.
The fishing dock is quite small, but it was fun to fish from with a few people. Be sure to bring bug spray! The worst for me was the biting flies. There is one outhouse-type bathroom near the dock with a spigot and dumpster nearby. There are about 10 steps leading up to the one-person, non-flushing bathroom.
There’s a wood station at the campground that uses the honor system. It’s $5 per bundle. We visited the visitors center in the hopes that they would have live bait for sell, but they sell nothing of the sort (no ice, bait, fishing rods, etc). So bring everything you need other than wood!
Overall, I’d give the campground 4.5/5, and I certainly recommend it! Try to stay in sites 11-14 if possible.
I think this is only the third time I have stayed at a cabin at a campground, and it was all right but I like tent camping better. Because of the intense heat and health concerns, we chose to stay in a cabin here. I wish I had taken more pictures of the campground, but my buddy(seen in the photos) and I are photographers who look for scenes of beauty. It’s not that the campground was not“pretty,” but when you are this close to New Bern, there are better things to photograph. There’s Tryon Palace, Union Point Park, the historic Confederate cemetery, the fireman’s museum, the Pepsi Cola museum(New Bern is where Pepsi was born), etc. The New Bern KOA is perfect in every way. The sites are large with full hookups, Wi-Fi, cable TV, etc. It has all the amenities of a top notch campground that you would expect from KOA. I have stayed at several KOA campgrounds, and they all seem to have the oversized chess; and I have never seen anyone playing it with seriousness. They have two pools, a pavilion, a bouncer… and I could go on and on. IF you want to spend your time at the campground, there is so much to do that you don’t need to go anywhere else… HOWEVER… Did I mention New Bern and Tryon Palace? You can’t come this close to New Bern and not go to Tryon Palace. The campground is located on the shores of the confluence of the Trent and Neuse Rivers. Since they join here, you seem as if you are closer to the ocean. It looks more like a bay. There is a really nice pier at the campground beach for fishing, and the KOA here has outdoor boat rentals. There is also horseshoes, pedal bike rentals… Did I mention there is also New Bern and Tryon Palace? Seriously, the New Bern KOA is about the best campground at which I have stayed, but my buddy had never been to New Bern. There was more to see. If you go, make sure to make reservations. New Bern is a historic town with lots of vacationers during the summer. Looking for something to eat? My favorite place to eat in New Bern was Captain Ratty’s, which has great clam chowder. However, New Bern has lots of other great places to eat as well. The downtown area is also a great area for shopping. Back to the campground… the first time I stayed at the New Bern KOA was over thirty years ago, but it has grown in size and amenities. Now, it is more like a resort than a simple campground.
I have only visited this campground one time & I did not stay the night! There is lots of space to walk and play, ride bikes, etc. There is a really nice pool with a store up front and they have cabins from what I remember. I would go back again IF I didn’t already live in the surrounding area lol
This campground is in an okay location. There is not much to do in the surrounding area and the only thing that I remember them really having to offer is a swimming pool. They had little paddle boats and stuff on the water but I’m not sure if they get used. You can’t swim in the water because it is just too nasty. The tent site we were given was awful. It is very stumpy and bumpy throughout the entire campground. Lots of roots and tree limbs. May have been the worst camping experience of my life.