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This was our third year staying at this campground which is about three hours from our home. The access to the Outer Banks was awesome as always. This time we kayaked on the nearby scuppernong River. The swampy trip did not disappoint with wildlife or fishing. The swimming area is still closed on Phelps lake, But we were able to swim everywhere because the lake is so shallow.￼ The bugs were not bad At this time of year. The campground and the surrounding area is really amazing and we are glad we stayed for four days this time.
We camped in the State campground at Pettigrew State Park. It is a small campground with just a few camp sites. We usually overnight there on the way to the NPS campgrounds on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, though it is nice enough to justify a stay if you find yourself in the area. We visited in March, so insects were not a problem, though your experience may be different if you visit during the warmer months, as much of the area surrounding Lake Phelps is cypress swamp.
I little about the campground amenities: it is modest and good for tent camping. Though there is room for RVs, there aren't electrical and water hookups, though most who were there were in RVs. Each site has a fire ring with a grill and firewood is available for a nominal fee. There is a bathhouse with toilet and shower facilities.
The natural beauty is worth the visit. From the campground it is an easy walk to the lake. We were able to see an impressive sunset from the lake shore. There is an out and back 1.5 mile trail, for a total of 3 miles, that follows the lake, taking you through the Somerset Place State Historic Site. The walk passes through the swamp with many large cypress and sycamore trees. At the end of the trail is a walkway to the lake along an irrigation canal.
My group and I stayed at the Benett’s creek high ground primitive camp sites 1-3. It was a 4.5 mile paddle to the site, then roughly 1.5 down to the dock with a staged vehicle. The only complaint is the houses near the sites had a dog that barked all night. Super annoying.
Wet wood. Really wet. Most sites were kind of crap. Either wide open with mushy pull- ins or un-even. There were a few that were great. #3 #1 and #6 were our favs. Was not communicated that you would need exact change for wood since the facilities were closed and there is no camp host. You have to drive 20 mins to any gas station or grocery in order to do that so letting campers know would be great.
The trails were super easy, wide and flat. PERFECT for young families or those looking for a stroll rather than a hike. The lake was beautiful. We make a point of just checking trail lengths and camp sites before we come out (pictures can be deceiving on the latter lol) so we had no idea we were going to be staying at a park named after a confederate general. Felt gross about that. None of the buildings at the plantation were open while we were there so I don't know if the education was as super glossy as the outside plaques….. his grave even had a confederate flag placed on it. Like, really???? If you walk out to the graveyard there is only one small paragragh that will make you smile and feel a little bit better about where you are. Brought our 12 year old so it opened up some really great conversations that we could lead but it would have been nice to have a bit of the uglier history actually mentioned in any of the plaques!
Wouldn't come back, but the area it self was really pretty and the trails were super easy. 4.5 miles felt like nothing to complete!
After seeing some of the pictures I decided to call them ask how bad all the algae and overgrowth was and was told it was pretty clear. That was not the case, if you don’t plan on paddling with a kayak or maybe a canoe don’t risk it. I was going to take a Jon boat with a trolling motor and there are countless limbs and the overgrowth is terrible you will not make it through. Not the place to consider going if you want to camp out and fish
So this was my first campground sadly and the experience was not what I hoped for. The Cheseapeake campgrounds website shows outdated pictures and does not show what the campground looks like currently.
The rules on the website are not followed. They're are campers that have hard piped black/gray water some that folks are living in are severally ran down. The website shows you can make reservations but they often don't seem like they are keeping a good track on people comings and goings.
Customer service depends on who your talking with some treat you very well and the older lady at the counter has 0 customer service skills. She is short rude and not interested in helping you.
The place is quite and pet friendly the 2 washers and dryers work well and are at a good price. The people at the campground seem nice and friendly.
If you can't handle huge large bugs that eat you alive stay away.
The country living and prices are the only reason I have 2 stars
We camped here in the winter a few years ago and finally got back out there this last weekend. We brought a kayak and fishing gear this time and stayed 3 days.
The water is amazing! The deepest part of the lake is 9’ so you are able to walk around most of the lake. My kids loved this. The lake is the second largest in NC, so we spent about 6 hours just swimming, fishing and kayaking within eyesight of the dock. If you want to explore more, you need a boat.
I caught 7 large mouth bass and saw a lot of perch. 2 of them were keepers so I want to come back out again just to fish.
The campsite was pretty empty probably because of the heat, but site number 3 was large and had plenty of shade the whole day. The bath house was decent. Very clean and warm showers. The have a sink outside to wash dishes. Fires were allowed and the have cheap firewood on site. The office isn’t far and I had the kids take a wagon to grab ice twice.
Columbia is the closest town that has groceries or anything to eat. There is a back route to the campground from there along the refuge called Newlands Road. We traveled through there on the way back from a grocery run and saw a lot of wildlife including a baby black bear.
There are lots of trails and a boardwalk that is fun. Bring bikes and boats for the real experience. Also, bring bug spray. We had some citronella and mosquito coils but we still had to spray some off.