State Park Passport – Getting back our groove.

I know. I know. I have been really quiet.

I have spent the last few months trying to piece my life back together after the death of my Dad and finding the energy to blog has been beyond my capabilities.

The last few weeks have brought some beautiful sunshine filled days to North Carolina and this past weekend was gorgeous. We started the weekend by dragging my best friend and her family hiking at a local park (more about that in another post). After a 5 mile hike we decided the day was so perfect that it shouldn’t be wasted soooooooooooooo………….. last minute trip to the beach with nothing but what we had in the car already (which wasn’t much BTW – day hike stuff and a few fishing poles).

We have been slowly plugging away at the North Carolina State Park Passport and this weekend seemed like a good opportunity to check a few off the list starting with Cliffs of the Neuse State Park.

We arrived about 40 mins before closing and only had a few moments to check out the lay of the land and the overlook. This is a beautiful park and we will be back.

Next, we made the long drive to Carolina Beach and checked into a hotel for the night. As always the Drifter’s Reef Hotel had a cheap last minute vacancy with a large clean room.

The next day we were up bright and early to drive over to one of our all time favorite state parks – Fort Fisher. This time of the year (well most of the year honestly) Fort Fisher is quiet and peaceful and practically devoid of people which is wonderful. We spent the morning fishing and geocaching.

Around lunch time we moved on to Carolina Beach State Park but only stayed long enough to get our passport stamp and walk on the trails for about an hour. It wasn’t my favorite – but I would like to go back and see if spending the day there would change my mind. Lots of pine trees and sand and not much else to recommend it.

We moved North to Lake Waccamaw State Park. The drive seemed long and the scenery was not all that impressive on the way. The park on the other hand, once we arrived, was fabulous. It’s basically a lake in the middle of swampland – think – hundreds of turtles and alligators. Very cool boardwalk behind the visitor center that walks you over the swampy area and right to the lake. We didnt actually SEE an alligator but we did see A LOT of turtles – apparently the weather is still a bit cold for alligators.

Driving further North brought us to Singletary Lake State Park (after miles of nothing in between). We really enjoyed this park mostly because of the very large dock leading very FAR out into the lake. The park has a few trails too but many of them were too flooded to enjoy them. Not many people other than us were visiting this day so we had the place to ourselves for the most part. In addition to the lake they also have two camps (with cabins) that can be rented out if you belong to a nonprofit organization as well as a “family cabin” that is available for rent year round.

Our last stop of the day was Jones Lake State Park which we arrived at right before closing. The park ranger stamped our passport books and told us we didn’t miss much since all of their trails were flooded currently. We did have time to walk out onto the dock and check out the exhibit in the visitors center.

This is the most State Parks that we have been able to do in one weekend and we were pretty impressed with ourselves. I am already planning our next trip…..maybe the mountains next weekend?

Until the next adventure……..

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