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I've had many good memories here, sad to see Ben Hardy not there anymore, he always went above and beyond to make your stay pleasant, most recently the mens bathroom was smelly, shower area very dirty, and no toilet tissue available, trash cans were over full there was paper towels all over the fioor, it just might be a while before i return there for a visit…. :(
Love that it’s close to the beach. The bathrooms were very clean. I’m not a fan of the spot we received because we are a pop up camper surrounded by very bright and very large RV’s but if next time we get the back circle area where our camper belongs it will be wonderful.
Freeman Park is a beach area located in Carolina Beach. It's the place to take your 4x4 vehicle, your friends, kids, and dogs, and have some fun in the sand, wind, and waves.
First and foremost, make sure you know how to drive in the sand and what to do when your car gets stuck. It happened to us, as well as to many vehicles on the beach.
Also, be aware of the tides, it's dangerous to be driving near the water when the high tide comes in.
The camping is allowed on the beach Labor Day through memorial Day, but might require a permit, check the rules before you go. In the past, the permit was required only after April 1, so we always tried to come in February or March, when the weather is nice but not too hot.
The camping is allowed in the designated spaces. There's enough room for one tent. Remember, when camping on sand, you don't need stakes. Instead you bring 4 plastic bags, fill them with sand, tie the tent corners to the bags and bury them in the sand. This will prevent your tent from flying away,
There are several pit toilets on the beach, some trash cans are provided too. There's a store next to the fishing pier a short distance from the beach where we usually go to brush our teeth in the morning.
I love Freeman park and give it 4 stars only because it's a primitive camping spot and people should be aware what to expect. It doesn't have fancy amenities, but the proximity to the ocean is priceless.
Our favorite dining spot: The Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar in Carolina Beach.
We stayed at site 14, which is on the other side of the island and is only accessible on a boat. We kayaked from the park office and boat launch. The route was difficult for me, the tide was coming in plus a strong wind, it took us about an hour to get to the island. The site itself was perfect, much better than the rest as much as we could see as we looked around. It's located in the woods with a nice shady clearing, its own very private little beach. We kayaked to the beach and walked around to see the ferry dock.
Make sure you know the tide schedule. The water levels are changing pretty dramatically during the day.
We also experienced a lot of mosquitoes during the night on the island, but it probably depends on the weather.
The fires are not allowed on the island, which requires some thoughts around cooking and reheating food.
Overall I would say it was a very unique experience.
The great thing about this campground is that it offers a peaceful setting no matter whether you are camping in your travel trailer, a tent, or as a group. As a leader of the Boy Scouts and the Royal Rangers, I have camped here many times in large groups. We even had a campout here with about 300 boys. As a group campout, there was lots of room for activities planned by our leaders—paintball, scavenger hunts, and evening campfire services. With that said, one of my latest campouts was just with a group of friends. I think the best fun was fishing, although I really like kayaking on the lake. At this campground, you don’t have to worry about driving in tent stakes if you are camping in a tent. The soil is sandy, and the ground is usually covered with pine straw. When I wanted to build a campfire, there were plenty of sticks and limbs to start and build a campfire. There is a swimming beach, but I would be careful about where I step since there is sometimes goose poop on the sand. You can also rent canoes and pedal boats. There is a hiking trail as well, but make sure you have waterproof shoes if it has recently rained. The trail beside the lake gets really muddy. The price is reasonable, and the staff is friendly. This is a laidback campground in a rural area, so if you are in need of supplies, you’d better bring them with you. The bath house has a concrete floor, but it is well-maintained. I have camped at this campground over a dozen times, and it never gets old. That’s why it’s one of my favorites.
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.