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Man-made reservoir - Falls Lake is located in the upper portion of the Neuse River Basin. Nice shaded trails. Very nice park.
It was a great place to stay!!!! Can’t wait to go back!!!!
The campground at Staunton River State Park has lots of shade, water and electrical hookups, level sites, are not on top of each other, and… gravel sites. I understand the reason for gravel sites, but it is NOT good for tent campers, especially for campers that do not have freestanding tents. The first two attempts at driving tent stakes in resulted in bent stakes. Even though I said the sites are not on top of each other, they are still close enough that you do not get much privacy. The noise from other campers was fairly loud. Two units(e.g., camper+ tent) are allowed, but there is little room for anything, especially since campers are supposed to keep everything within the boundaries of the“timbers.” We got one of the largest sites, and it still was crowded. There was a fire ring with a grate, a picnic table, and two lantern poles, but again, everything was tight. Fitting two vehicles within the limits was nearly impossible. I know we weren’t supposed to set anything up outside the boundaries(please forgive us), but we set up our dining canopy and hammocks outside of the timbers. Despite the campsite limits, I still think this campground and the state park were great. There were many miles of trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. We rode our bikes along a couple of the trails, but we had to steer around horse poop(not always successfully). The trail itself was scenic at times when we rode by the river, and it was not too difficult. There are enough“bumps” for bikers to get their heartbeats jumping, but the trails are easy and moderate. Kayaking and fishing seemed to be two of the more popular activities. There is a boat ramp, and beside the boat ramp, there were several people fishing. Many kayakers came and went as we put our kayaks into the water. The one thing kayakers have to be aware of is the presence of speed boats. We got hit by passing boaters several times. Other activities at this campground/state park are disc golf, playing on the playground, tennis, and swimming. Unfortunately, the swimming area is closed for 2020 because of the pandemic. However, several people were swimming at the boat landing. When it is open, the swimming pool area is exceptional for a state park. There is a water slide and a really nice swimming complex. Staunton River State Park is also designated as an“International Dark Sky Park.” Unfortunately, we did not take advantage of that. After biking and kayaking all day and camp cooking during the evening, we were exhausted. There is no shortage of things to do, and I wish I could have stayed at least a couple more days. Overall, the park is a fairly nice place, but if you take a tent, make sure it is a freestanding tent.
We love camping at Lake Jordan, unfortunately we’ve usually camped there while I was having surgery at Duke. However we have been there at other times too. There’s a nice sand beach on the lake and a boat launch as well. Some of the sites offer a tie-off of your boat adjacent to your campsite. The camping sites are spacious and most are level.
Raven Rock State Park is known for its namesake cliffs on the edge of the Cape Fear River. It has over a dozen miles of trails, which include horseback riding, hiking, and cycling trails. Since this park is along the fall line, most of the trails are easy with some rise and fall in elevation. Make sure you hike to the“Raven Rock” while you are there. It is impressive, and there are other trails that offer peaceful walks through the forest and other views of the river. The only camping allowed, for now, is primitive tent camping. The campsites can be reached either by hiking or by canoeing/kayaking in. There is a privy, but there are no showers. I counted seven spaces for camping. There is a site(or was) for group camping. The ranger told me that it is no longer in use. When I was talking to her, she said that they are working on an area for RV camping and that it would be ready next year. If I understood correctly, it will be in the area of the Mountain Laurel Loop Trail. When you camp there, make sure to take a good head lamp or flashlight. I had to walk quite far to get to the privy, and during the night, it is dark! The site that I chose was a longer walk to the privy than the other campsites, but it was a little more remote and private. I also had to by-pass a mud hole on the way to the privy, so again, take a good light source. The best thing about Raven Rock State Park is, of course, the 150’ cliffs along the river. The best thing about camping at Raven Rock State Park is how quiet it is. The hike is 1.7 miles, and other than the sounds of Cape Fear River down below, the only thing you hear at night might be an occasional airplane flying overhead. Since it was during December, I didn’t see any other campers. During the day, however, the park had several day hikers. If you want to camp in the backcountry but don’t want to hike very far to get there, this is a great place. If you have an RV or just want to camp where you can drive to, you will have to wait for a year, according to the park ranger.
Love this park. I stayed in cabin #4 twice in the last year and had a great time! The park offers several activities: hiking, biking, fishing, wildlife viewing, boating (if you bring your own boat), stargazing (the park has been recognized as International Dark sky and there are two telescopes that can be checked out for free at the visitor’s center). The staff is very polite and the gift shop is great! While staying there I saw a skunk, a groundhog, several deer and a great variety of birds. We enjoyed gorgeous sunsets from a little beach area near the cabins. The cabins are rustic (they date back to 1936) but very cozy and clean.