NC Folks: I Need Suggestions ASAP

I need some help finding a paddling destination for this Saturday. I’m from Greenville, NC, and I normally paddle our blackwater and the brackish creeks in the east. I have a free day this Saturday to paddle with my dad, who lives in Dunn (basically at the intersection of I95 and I40). We’ll only have about 6-8 hours, so I’d like to keep driving down to an hour or less each way, and we’re looking to do either a tandem canoe trip with his Mad River or two single kayaks in my 14’ Neckys. I’d prefer a some moving water, but this drought is narrowing the possibilities. I really wanted to run the Cape Fear from Lillington to Erwin, but the gauge appears well below minimum. Anybody have any suggestions? If nothing else, we’ll take some cool flatwater lake or pond, especially if it has some places to explore.

here are a few thoughts
check out Lake Phelps if you like to fish - a bit over an hour though

Merchant Mills Pond

Bear Island - about 1.5 hours away

Goose Creek State park?

the New Bern Water front

Oriental water front

the Tar River from the town commons down to Washington

Jordan Lake Maybe?
I think it’s about an hour from I-95. Bald eagles are always there to see.

Since your from Greenville-
have you ever spent any time on Contentnea creek as it runs through Grifton?

Rhodes Pond and Horseshoe Lake
You’ll need to pull out the gazetteer but Rhodes Pond on 301 and Horseshoe Lake off 53 provide a lot of cypress to paddle through.

If you paddle Rhodes Pond, you have to paddle through the man-made embankment that splits the pond to really explore.

Horseshoe Lake is bigger, if you go left from the put-in and follow the marked trees it opens back up to some wide water. Don’t know if it would hold true this time of year, but my wife and I went in the winter and there were hundreds of waterfowl in this area. This lake also has numerous, large patches of canivorous plants, especially pitcher plant. Look closely and you’ll also see quite a bit of sundew canivorous plants, but they’re very small and you’ll have to look closely.

Neuse river
The Neuse river about the old milburnie road dam has plenty of water in Raleigh. I’d launch at the Buffalo road official canoe launch and paddle up stream and then drift downstream. Or you could go downstream to the second dam and then paddle back upstream right now their is not much current.

We expect to get some rain before Saturday so that won’t hurt.

Locations mentioned
I’ve done all the ones listed in the first response. They’re all from my neck of the woods near Greenville, and they’d all be a little far from Dunn. My dad and I took my two 4 year old daughters out on Rhodes pond about a month ago. It was fun, but not very big. The Horseshoe pond sounds cool. I am in the process of doing all of Contentnea creek in sections. So far, I’ve done from Hookerton, just southeast of Snow Hill, down to the Neuse and on out to Fort Barnwell. Contentnea is great, but the last leg we did from Hookerton was about 12 miles, but it took us 7 hours because of all the downed trees. There were over a dozen that we had to either scoot over, lay forward and squeeze under, or flat out paddle through. We only wound up portaging twice, though. I’ll save the rest of it until we get some more rain.

Falls Lake/Beaverdam
Falls Lake or Beaverdam should be within your range and offer some nice paddling opportunities. Anywhere on Falls Lake south of I-85 there is plenty of water for paddling, but less water than normal. Beaverdam is next to and just above Falls Lake. Gas motors aren’t allowed so you’ll have less boat traffic. Both places offer good wildlife viewing opportunities. I usually see beavers, deer, osprey and the occasional bald eagle or fox.

Bladen County/Lake Waccamaw
Both of these parks at down I-95 from you. Have you tried them? Or how about scooting over towards Troy and paddle Badin Lake?

Any day on the water is a great day,


Does Beaverdam have some nice little inlets and tighter spots that we could paddle up into? On flat water, I really like exploring and taking it easy, rather than paddling across large expanses.

Jordan Lake
would be closer and more interesting than Beaverdam. Put in a VistaPoint (off 64) and paddle back up toward the dam.

a few coves but…
with the low water, you can’t get far into them.


Sat on the Limber
A bunch of paddlers are going to do the Lumber from 74 down to fairbluff. About 20 miles of a pretty river. we are leaving about 9. Doing the shuttles around 8 so come on down. always room for another boat.

+1 for Jordan Lake and with the water low very few powerboats out.

Tons of wildlife I mostly use the Farrington Point launch. 7min from my house.and it is free.

Vista has a nice area but tends to get crowded on weekends plus a 5.00 fee.

i suggested going toward the dam from vista because it is a bit more “remote.” we too usually go from fearington (see mudflat rangers on yahoo groups) typically going out under the bridge and either (1) left up to where the eagles nest or (2) stright out around the second island and back, with ample opportunities for poking around. if you decide on jordan and want company, might find some of the mudflatters who’d be glad to join you. skills range from advanced beginner to world class race/expedition paddling.