Destination: Beaufort County–Goose Creek State Park offers nature’s bounty

Published 10:54 pm Saturday, January 17, 2015

Take a Hike_WEBBeaufort County residents longing for a quiet place to hike or to just enjoy all nature has to offer don’t have to look very far.

Goose Creek State Park, located approximately 10 miles east of Washington, is a scenic oasis, outdoor classroom and hikers’ paradise rolled into one. And it’s been a favorite destination for local residents and visitors alike for more than 40 years.

The park opened in September 1974 and today includes 1,669 acres of forests, wetlands and riverfront vistas. Anyone who loves the great outdoors will find something to their liking there.

Park superintendent John Fullwood noted that the park’s seven miles of hiking trails are a big draw, and he encouraged potential visitors to drop in soon.

“Spend the day at Goose Creek State Park,” he said. “With the cooler winter days upon us, the time is right to enjoy a hike along the Pamlico River or through hardwood swamps and coastal marshes.”

The eight trails, ranging from the 0.4-mile Live Oak Trail to the 1.0-Goose Creek Trail, provide health enthusiasts ample opportunities to exercise while also showcasing local flora and fauna. A haven for birds, Goose Creek is also home to a diverse population of critters including turtles and snakes, muskrats, river otters, raccoons, squirrels, deer, bobcats, black bears, gray foxes and red wolves.

Water View_WEBOvernight accommodations host guests in primitive campsites, and regular educational programs turn the park into one big outdoor learning center. Program topics include the animals found in the park, hikes along the trails and the aquatic life found in and around the Pamlico River. Park visitors can launch a boat at Dinah’s Landing, paddle the waters in a kayak or canoe and fish and swim to their heart’s content. The park is also a picnicker’s paradise.

Presently the park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; it is open as late as 9 p.m. during the summer months.

Goose Creek State Park is located at 2190 Camp Leach Road. For more information, call 252-923-2191.