My favorite part of staying at this park was not actually camping, although I always love camping. My favorite part was hiking the trails, especially the Natural Bridge/Palmetto Trail. It is a loop trail, but you can opt to get on a longer trail along the loop. The hike seems easy at first, especially going down to the“natural bridge.” However, when you hike down, you have to hike up, and there were sections on the return that were steep. Along the way, not only do you see the natural bridge, but there is a small waterfall as well. As far as camping, there are RV sites and tent sites. I chose tent camping this time, and there was a large gravel pad. The sites seemed a little too close for me, but at least they were not on top of each other. The day that I went, the other tent sites were all reserved as far as I could tell. I found that surprising for a Tuesday night. Unfortunately, with so many people camping that close together, you never really get to sleep early since some people are up late talking. Nevertheless, once the talking died down, I went to sleep listening to the tree frogs. The bath house is a short walk away and is AIR CONDITIONED!!! Since I went in July, this was important. I was hoping to get in some canoeing, but there were strong thunderstorms and rain. As a matter of fact, I waited for a break so I could put up my tent. There is a camp store, and I enjoyed looking at the relief map in the visitor’s center. It also has displays in the visitor’s center with local history. There is also a boat ramp a short drive away from the campground. Even though I didn’t get to take full advantage of it, it is a lot better than many of the boat ramps I have seen. The biggest attraction for this park, other than the hiking trails, is obviously its access to Lake Keowee. Overall, it is a pretty good place to camp. I’m not fond of how close the sites were, but it’s a lot better than many campgrounds I have been to.
When I stayed here, there were very few campers. Part of the reason was that school had started, and it was during the middle of the week. That was a good thing since there is limited privacy between the sites. I say limited, but compared to most campgrounds, there is a lot more privacy than some that have very little space between sites. The sites are well shaded, there is electricity and water, there are picnic tables, and lantern poles. The sites are gravel, which is fine for RVs but not necessarily for tent campers. However, there is a separate group tent section. The only other thing I didn’t like about staying here were the mosquitoes, but that’s to be expected in this environment. There are a lot of things to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to explore everything, and the beach area was closed. There are two lakes, so I could go fishing and/or kayaking. During the season, peddle boats and canoes are available for rent. There is a really nice playground area for children. When I go back the next time, hopefully with grandchildren, they will take full advantage of that. What really surprised me was the condition of the bath rooms. It was modern and up to date with tiled floors. I felt as if I were in an exclusive resort. There is also a camper recreation building, along with a community building for special events. The trading post is interesting looking with an old ca. 1930s gas pump out front. There is quite a bit of history at this state park. Not only is there a CCC dedication with statue and plaque, but there is also a plaque recognizing the treaty with the Cherokee moving the frontier boundary into what is now Oconee County. The possibilities at this campground seem endless. There is mini-golf, a wildlife habitat, and lots of trails(including the Palmetto Trail), a fishing pier, and one of my favorites—the waterwheel. Overall, I spent too little time here to enjoy it all, but I will definitely want to come back. The only downsides are the gravel for the tents and the minimum two-day reservation system.
I rate this campground two stars only because it has no facilities. Rating a campground such as this one is subjective. Some people would love staying here. It is peaceful since there will not be any other campers for miles around. It is surrounded by woods, and it is accessible only by driving on a one and a half mile forest road that is rough with lots of rocks and pot holes. You cannot drive to this site with a low clearance sedan. It is almost impossible without scraping the bottom of your car. Fortunately, I had a 4-Runner, and I was using 4WD. There is only one fire pit, but you can set up a half dozen tents in the area. Most of the places are not level. I managed to find one of only two level places to set up my tent. There is not a picnic table, but you can park within a few feet of the campsites. If you have to go take care of personal business, there are no pit toilets. Just find your place in the woods. All water has to be taken in since there are no sources of water within miles. This is true primitive camping. So why go? It is a great place for solitude, and the Chatooga River is close by. Just know that you can’t launch a boat, canoe, or kayak from this location since it is too far to portage any watercraft through the woods.
Lake Hartwell State Park was a welcome relief after staying at an overcrowded RV resort. There was more privacy and definitely more shade. The site we chose was next to the lake, so it was also more peaceful. The back-in site we chose was also paved and had a good picnic table and a fire pit. Because of the shade, the heat didn’t bother us as much as it could have, but we chose not to have a fire(Who needs more heat in 90 degree weather?) The bath house was clean, updated, and had good sized shower stalls. The boat launch area was convenient for launching kayaks as well as boats, and there was a fishing pier. The parking area for the boat launch and fishing pier area was large enough to accommodate quite a few cars, and there was a playground for kids. One of my favorite parts of Lake Hartwell State Park was the nature trail. It was a pleasant, but short, walk and not too difficult. I also enjoyed the benches beside the lake. There are designated tent sites, which you have to hike to, but we were staying in our little teardrop camper. There are also cabins, which have nice views of the lake. Overall, this is a campground that I would like to come back to when I have more time. I wasn’t able to spend as much time as I would like, but it wasn’t because there weren’t things to do.
This wilderness area has a terrific trail system with waterfalls, overlooks, and more. I like it because I got to spend time beside the Middle Saluda River. I checked out the other campsites, and I decided to pick campsite 8 because it is right beside the river. You can hear the sounds all night long, which might be a disadvantage if the sound of running water makes you need to go to the bathroom. The best thing about site 8 is that it has more flat space than the other ones I saw, and it is fairly large. There are fire pits at the campsites, but you have to pack everything in. It is a relatively short hike to the campsites, but you won’t be taking the same things you would take for car camping. There is a shower and toilet, but they are back near the visitor’s center. I can’t pick one best thing about this state park, because when you have over sixty miles of trails and two waterfalls, it’s hard to pick. The only drawback this time was that the temperature in July is HOT, so having an electric fan is not an option. Fortunately, there was some cool air at night coming from the river. Rainbow Falls can be accessed by the Jones Gap Trail, which is the one that takes you to campsite 8. If you are staying in campsites 1-4, you will have to go through the parking lot to get to Jones Gap Trail. Likewise, sites 5, 6, and 7 are a short walk to Jones Gap Trail. Overall, camping at Jones Gap State Park is not for everybody since it is not for RV camping nor for car camping. However, if you like camping in earshot of rushing water, you will fall in love with this place.
At first glance, this campground didn’t look inviting, but it turned out to be a fairly good campground. There seems to be two separate areas—one area for seasonal campers and one for short-term campers. I was in the short-term area, and the place where I was had no clearly defined boundaries. That really didn’t matter, and I was beside the lake. There were fire pits, but water and electricity depended on what site you were on. I chose to be as close to the lake as I could so I could see it right outside the door, and I could get water nearby. There aren’t too many amenities, but there are kayak, SUP, and canoe rentals. There is a boat ramp and a small playground. The main reason people come here is because of lake access. The lake is large and is the main attraction. The bath house needs updating, but it serves the purpose. It has hot showers, but it is not air conditioned. There were not many short-term campers while I was there, so the noise wasn’t too bad and I didn’t feel crowded. Part of the reason is because of where I chose to set up. If you choose to camp here, you get to select your site, and if you go during the summer, you may want to choose a site that has more shade. Overall, this campground is okay if you’re going to spend the majority of your time on the water, but it’s not somewhere I would go to just sit around the campsite.
This is the first time I have stayed in a yurt, and it was definitely a learning experience. First of all, it is a cross between a tent and a cabin, and it has no electricity, bathroom, or running water. This was not so bad since the campground bath house was only a couple of hundred feet away. However, the temperatures were in the lower 90s outside, and once we walked inside the yurt, it was like walking into an oven. The temperature had to be somewhere around 110 degrees inside. Immediately after opening the door, opening the window and opening the canvas window coverings, we could feel the heat pouring out of the yurt. Fortunately, I had two 100-foot extension cords and a fan in our car. I plugged into the closest campsite and ran the cord to the yurt. There is no way we could have stayed in the yurt without the fan, so if you decide to stay in a yurt at this park during the summer, make sure to take extension cords and at least one fan. One thing that my wife and I found strange was that there were handrails along the three steps to the deck around the yurt, but there were no handrails beside the rougher steps leading to the yurt. Once we got the yurt cooled off to a decent temperature(high 70s), it wasn’t too bad. It had a queen bed and a trundle bed, which our grandson stayed on. A couch, side tables, and a dining table was also inside. The overall appearance inside the yurt was pleasant, and there was a picnic table and rocking chairs on the outside on the deck. There was also a fire pit, another picnic table, and a lantern hanger included with this yurt on the ground outside of the deck area. You will have to take your own linens for the beds—a queen and a single. There are two campgrounds in this state park, and each one is quite different. The Lover’s Leap campground has space for larger RVs and appears to be the newer of the two campgrounds. Although there are playgrounds, a swimming complex, an amphitheater, and much more, some of these venues are closed for the season due to the pandemic. The one thing I was really looking forward to(the chairlift) is only open on weekends. However, we were able to hike a couple of trails and see the natural tunnel. There are also cabins in the campground and they have a variety of sleeping arrangements of up to sixteen people in one cabin. The historical background of the state park is varied and extensive, so there are a lot of things to see within the park and surrounding the park. My wife and I decided we really want to come back and camp here again when we have more time. Overall, the campground has a lot of opportunities for different types of camping, and a lot to do, but if you stay in a yurt, be prepared.
Table Rock State Park is a large park with at least three“campgrounds.” One is a primitive campground, and one is a traditional campground. I did not get to explore the third campground, but I believe it is a traditional campground as well. The site I stayed at, site 56, was level, except for the approach; however, the pad was rough gravel. I put down two tarps under my tent to help eliminate the roughness inside the tent. The site was shaded and wasn’t too close to my camping neighbors, but the biggest problem was dealing with the ants—big black ants, small black ants, and other tiny ants. There was no lantern pole, but there was a fire pit and a picnic table. The bath house was only a short walking distance away. There is no lack of things to do, and the trail system is extraordinary. The main attraction, I would guess, is Table Rock Mountain, but there are other things to do. There is a swimming beach and a diving platform. Beside the beach are picnic tables, including a picnic shelter with a standing grill. The visitors center/store was well stocked with souvenirs and supplies, and there is a laundry next to it. Sometime during the night when I had to go to the restroom, I discovered that there was not water. The next morning, I turned on the faucet at my campsite, and it sputtered out brown water at first and then it came out clear. I said that to say this. There was a problem and they dealt with it quickly. That impressed me. The heat and humidity was almost unbearable, but nothing can be done about that during the summer. If you camp in a tent during the summer, make sure to take and extension cord and a fan. Overall, this is a great place to camp during vacation, but the cost is a little more than I expected to pay for a tent site. Costwise, I’m not sure I would want to pay that much for camping for a whole week. It rivals the national campground franchises. However, if cost doesn’t concern you, it really is a good place to camp.
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 arrived a little late to the RV park, and the office closes at 5:00. I find that strange since it was in the middle of the summer. The whole check-in process is a little strange for this RV park, and the sites are first come first serve. The sites are gravel and many of the ones that were open were almost level. The biggest thing I do not like about this“campground” is that I felt as if the sites were squeezed in on top of each other. The only privacy I felt that we had was because one site next to us was apparently seasonal since nobody was there, and there were a LOT of seasonal RVs there. There are a lot of activities for campers such as mini golf, a swimming pool, a basketball court, a volleyball court, and a playground. However, we had our grandson with us and the playground was closed off, and the pool closed at 4:30. Our hope was to spend some late afternoon time at the pool, but that didn’t work out. Some of the mini golf holes were also missing carpet in some places. The big attraction for this RV park is Lake Hartwell, so a lot of people stay there for the water activities. Unfortunately, there is no onsite boat ramp. When I asked if I could put in my kayak, the answer was yes. However, there really wasn’t a suitable place to put in without having to drag it over large rocks. The campsite itself had quite a small fire pit and a very weathered picnic table. There was some shade, but we set up our dining canopy since the heat would have almost killed us. The bath house in our camping area really needs updating. It was okay, but it just seemed old. The showers were small and were accessible through a separate door. The worst part was that the showers and restrooms were as hot, if not hotter, inside than it was outside. Later, we discovered that the bath house next to the pool was air conditioned. There was one shower in the pool area that might be considered ADA accessible, but there were no hand rails. We paid to stay two nights, but we left after one night because of the heat and lack of shade and privacy. Fortunately, we were in our teardrop camper with an air conditioner. This is a huge campground, and we were hoping to get ice at the camp store. The only problem is that there is NO camp store, which is again strange for such a large RV park. This RV park does not have hiking or biking trails, but it does have access to water. Overall, the RV park is acceptable for RVers who want to be close to water(it is a short drive away), but getting to the water is inconvenient unless you have a boat already docked at the shore.
This is one of three“campgrounds,” that I know of, that are within Table Rock State Park. This particular one is primitive, and you have to hike in to it. It is advisable to take your own water since the nearest water is almost a half mile away. There is a fire pit, a picnic table, a lantern pole, and a tent pad. The best part about this campground is that it is away from the sounds of traffic, and your nearest neighbor, if you have one, will be a tent camper about 200 feet away. The tent sites are close to the lake, and the site that I chose has a short trail down to it through the woods. However, it is a steep trail, and once you get down to it, the only thing you will be able to do is look at it or fish in it. There are no boat launches there, but then again, I can’t imagine carrying a kayak that far into the woods by way of a narrow trail. There is one pit toilet for this campground, and from my site, it is almost a half mile away. That means that if you have to go in the middle of the night, take a strong flashlight with you since there are NO artificial lights at this campground. It is a great campground if you want to get away from it all, but remember, you do have to pack everything in and pack everything out. I estimate the distance is about a quarter mile or more. It is a peaceful campsite, but if there are lots of groups camping there, you may want to choose a different site farther back. The main trail runs right beside this site. However, this time there was only one couple that I know of, and it was no problem. Overall, this campground is NOT for RV campers or for car campers. However, it IS for people who don’t mind backpacking a short distance for remoteness and solitude.
This was the first time camping with just my grandson and me, and I looked forward to him playing in the water, playing at the playground, fishing, and kayaking on the water. Unfortunately, the pandemic restrictions caused the playgrounds, the boat rental, and the swimming complex to be closed. With no swim beach and no play area, that stretched my imagination to keep him entertained. I took this into consideration when reviewing this campground, but there were other reasons for disappointment.
According to the website, you can purchase a fishing license at the park office. This was not true, so I had to drive seven miles to purchase one. While I was there, I also bought two bags of ice since it was more reasonable than the price at the campground. When I was ready to dispose of the trash, I discovered that the nearest trash disposal was not within a reasonable walking distance, so driving to the trash bin was the best option. The sites were level, and many of them were either paved or gravel. I liked the separation and privacy between most of the campsites. The lower numbered sites had lots of shade. Unfortunately, most of those had been reserved. The site we had was large, but the shade was minimal. I guess the site being so large is a double-edged sword. We had a small teardrop, and the distance from our little kitchenette in the back of the camper to the picnic table on the gravel pad was quite a walk to carry a heavy cooler by yourself.
I’m glad I wasn’t staying in a tent this time. The gravel pad between the pull-through and the picnic table would not have been pleasant. The two nights that we stayed at this campground, the temperature was in the mid-90s for most of the day, so not being able to swim made us miserably hot. The worst part, however, was going to the bath house and shower. The showers were large, and the bath house was clean, but there was NO ventilation. There were no windows or exhaust fan. Stepping inside was like stepping into a sauna. Immediately after turning off the water in the shower, I started sweating from the heat in the shower. It looked as though there might have been a heater, but without having ventilation during the summer, it was TERRIBLE planning.
There is a boat ramp, but when I got there, it said“swimming prohibited.” I was hoping my five-year-old grandson could at least play in the water. I let him anyway(technically, he wasn’t swimming). The boat ramp is small, and motors are not allowed. The only place to fish was really from a boat. There were not many places from the shore to cast. Fortunately, we did take a kayak with us. At the boat launch site, there was a swing set, but it was also closed. To get to the boat ramp and lake, we had to drive 1.8 miles to get there, which isn’t a bad thing, but everything(camp store, trash dump, etc.) seemed out of walking distance. We got a chance to hike a little on one of the trails, which was fairly easy. If the whole family would have come camping with us, I could have tried one of the bike trails. From the campground, I saw one of the bike trails, which looked pleasantly challenging.
There are two camp stores, but the one within walking distance of the campground was closed for the summer. The camp store near the entrance was a decent size, but you would have to drive to it from the campground. There are picnic shelters, meeting facilities, a CCC museum(which was closed), a snack bar(which was closed), and laundry facilities. Overall, it wouldn’t be such a bad campground to stay at if everything was open. Also, despite so many things not being open (swim complex, all of the playgrounds, one of the camp stores, the boat rentals, the CCC museum, etc.), I was charged FULL PRICE!!! However, even with everything open, there are reasons I would prefer to camp elsewhere next time.
I have camped in this state park several times, including with the Boy Scouts. Other than the park itself, I really enjoyed the camaraderie when our Scout troop and another Scout troop that was camping were playing“Capture the Flag.” I say all of this because it is a great place for group camping. However, it also has conventional camping and cabins. When I first started camping at Cliffs of the Neuse, it did not have more than a mile of trails. Now it has added some more trails. It also did not have showers or cabins in times past. This park has improved significantly over the years and now has showers that are frequently maintained. One of the things you have to be aware of is that this park is sandy, so when you are camping, you will probably want to put some kind of rug in front of your tent or RV to minimize the amount of sand that you track in. Don’t think choosing another site will move you away from the sand. It won’t. Another thing you have to be aware of is that in eastern North Carolina, fire ants can be a huge problem. Some of the trails are easy, but the Spanish Moss Trail is quite steep in some places. Also, the Galax trail is almost always flooded during the spring or after a series of rains. There is a lake for swimming and a large picnic shelter. On weekends, it is not unusual for there to be lots of people at the picnic shelters, so you will have to reserve them. The sites have picnic tables and fire pits as well. This is a great park for swimming and boating, but the hiking is limited. If I am not mistaken, the total length of trails is fewer three miles. However, the main attraction is the view over the Neuse River and the new visitor’s center. Even with limited trails, it is still a great park for relaxing.
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 was having a difficult time finding a campground with availability on our way back from Colorado since we were leaving on the Sunday before Memorial Day. We decided to stay a couple of extra days and we found sites available at this one. There are two separate campgrounds at Clinton State Park, and we stayed at campground 1. We checked in with the camp host since the office was already closed. We asked for water, electricity, and somewhere close to the bath house. I guess two out of three aren’t bad. The bath house that we were closest to was closed for the season. The open one was at least two hundred yards away. Getting up in the middle of the night, we decided to drive to it in the dark. We didn’t understand why we couldn’t get a site closer to one of the open bath houses since there were several available sites. Another disappointment was that with all of the recent rain, we had a huge puddle separating our pull-through from our picnic table and fire pit. Again, we should have asked for another site. Other than those two disappointments, it was a really good campground, especially for being a state park. The individual toilet/showers were spacious and very clean. There was shade at some of the campsites, and there were open fields for kids to play in. Although the playground was small, there were other things to do. There was a disc golf course, an archery range, hiking trails, and the lake. The lake is large, and there is a place to launch boats, canoes, kayaks, jet skis, etc. At another part of the lake, there is a huge marina for larger boats. Bering in such a remote area, you don’t have to worry about the sounds of traffic. Overall, Clinton State Park is a place you can stay where there is plenty to do. Although there is no swimming pool, other activities previously mentioned should keep you busy.
This is a charming little campground, and I do not use the word“charming” often. It is charming because it has so many quaint relics of the past, including the town itself. At the entrance to the campground, there is a building covered with old signs, hubcaps, etc. As a photographer, I couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity begin taking pictures immediately. As we drove down the road to our campsite, we came across such oddities as a bicycle halfway up a windmill, an old original train depot with an antique threshing machine next to it, and more. The campsites are flat and fairly spacious. We were lucky that the campground was not at full capacity because many of the sites are in pairs. Our pull-through site was within inches of the adjacent pull-through site. Although there was no picnic table at our site, we could have used one on the adjacent site, and we brought our own table. The site did have a fire pit, but we arrived late and didn’t have time to worry about getting wood. There are seasonal and permanent campers at the campground, and you have to reserve early during peak seasons. I talked to one person at the campground and he said that it was booked up one time when he wanted to stay. Although the site we got was gravel and pull-through, there are sites without power by the creek, in case you want to tent camp or just don’t need hookups. The bath house was clean, and the owner told me that it is sanitized every day. The shower stalls are spacious and there is hot water. There is a playground for kids and activities for older people—basketball, corn hole, etc. The only drawback is that you can hear trains passing through during the night about three or four times. It didn’t bother me since I love the sound of trains, but it does wake you up since the tracks are so close to the campground. The town is within walking distance of the campground, and it is worth walking(or driving) to it. The buildings are interesting architecturally, and the town is known for antiques. Overall, I really liked this campground. It may not have all of the amenities of the larger campgrounds, but it is quiet(except for the trains) and peaceful.
We were looking for a campground on our trip out west, and we found this one. It drew our attention because of the long wall with a beautiful mural, because there was a billboard showing a bouncing balloon, and that it is a KOA. That was a few years ago, and I am finally getting around to reviewing it. When we first got to the campground, we went over to the Cherokee Trading Post, and we decided to get buffalo burgers(our first). Then we explored what the campground and adjacent area had to offer. We were fascinated by the long mural, the teepee, and the bison in the pen. While we were selecting our campsite, my older son asked if he could jump on the bouncing balloon out front, and the person at the desk said yes. The next thing I know, I heard a loud,"boom!” I guess the balloon had gotten old and deteriorated, and it was time for it to go. According to their website, the campground apparently has replaced it. Back at the campground, the site was grassy and shady. There are squirrels that are not so afraid of people. My older son even fed one. That may or may not be a problem for future campers. Overall, it’s not so bad for an overnight stay, but if I were staying longer, I would be more concerned about the traffic noise from the highway.
This is the second time I have camped at this place, and it was even better the second time around. I say this because I explored more of what this area has to offer. The main reason people come to this area is to see the elk. Thousands upon thousands of people come here for that reason. However, there are many trails in this area as well with a lot of old structures—barns, houses built during the 1800s, an old church, an old schoolhouse, etc. I specifically wanted to hike the Boogerman Trail, which I had heard about for years. The trailhead is about a hundred yards from the campground, but more about that later. This campground has a washhouse with toilet, sinks, and a dish wash station, but it does not have showers. The campsites are level and well-shaded. There are no water or sewer hookups, but the sites are relatively private. You can still see the other campers easily, but the sites are not on top of each other. Reservations are REQUIRED since the drive to the campground is a ten mile curvy road with about four miles of it being gravel.(By the way, it was revealed last week that the road to Cataloochee Valley, including the campground, would be closed for repairs until sometime in May.) The Boogerman Trail is often wet, especially after rain, and it is a moderate climb. However, you walk by at least one tree that is HUGE. You will pass by a stone wall and an old homestead. You will also have to cross Caldwell Fork(creek) several times before getting back to the trailhead. Rough Fork Trail, which is at the end of the dirt road through the valley, leads you to the Woody house. It is a pleasant one mile walk. Big Fork Ridge Trail is another trail, with the trailhead being just before you get to the end of the dirt road. It is a much longer and steeper trail. I love this campground, not just because it is a pleasant camping experience, but because there is so much to explore.
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.