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Cabins, RV sites offer new ways to experience Goose Creek State Park

Tent camping isn’t for everyone, but the new camping accommodations at Goose Creeks State Park most certainly are.

Six new camping cabins and 22 new RV sites, all conveniently located next to a heated shower house, will make overnight stays at Beaufort County’s only state park more accessible than ever. A ribbon cutting at the new campground Wednesday afternoon marked the official opening of the new accommodations to the public.

Among the campground’s first residents, Dale and Loretta Hayden have been coming to Goose Creek State Park for years, mostly for day trips and hiking excursions. But the couple from Wilson, who own a home nearby, never really did much in the way of camping at the park. With the construction of the new campground, all that is about to change.

WELCOME WAGON: Wilson residents Dale and Loretta Hayden, who have enjoyed day trips to Goose Creek State Park for years, will serve as campground hosts for the next few months, greeting visitors and ensuring they have everything they need for a pleasant stay. (Matt Debnam/Daily News)

Five days a week for the next few months, the Haydens will be camped out in their RV in spot No. 1, serving as hosts at the new campground. In exchange for free site rental, the couple will greet guests and help with jobs like firewood delivery, litter pickup and cleaning the bathhouse.

“It’s a great gig,” Dale Hayden said. “We’re going to be here for the next couple of months, five days a week. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are our day off. We love it. We talk to people and love meeting people.”

It’s campers like the Haydens, who aren’t as big on primitive camping, that rangers at the state park hope will start coming in for overnight stays with the opening of the new section.

“What we would like to do is make more availability for people to be exposed to state parks,” Goose Creek State Park Ranger Joe Martin said. “This offers a different recreational amenity for that, to bring more people out, to bring people out more frequently; people that don’t necessarily do the primitive camping.”

The six rental cabins are cozy and comfortable, complete with heating, air conditioning and multiple power outlets. Each two-bedroom cabin offers space for six people to spend the night, with a queen-sized bed in the front room and two bunk beds in the rear. For those who prefer to bring their own camper or RV, the 22 sites all offer full hookups for electricity, water and sewer.

INTERIOR: With heating, air conditioning, power outlets and space for six people, the new cabins at Goose Creek State Park will provide comfortable accommodations for visitors. Each comes standard with a fire pit and picnic table for outdoor dining. One cabin and one RV site are fully ADA compliant. (Matt Debnam/Daily News)

A few steps away, a heated bathhouse offers warm showers, toilet facilities and sinks, a comfortable respite for visitors after a day of hiking and taking in the park’s natural wonders. The bathhouse, one cabin and one RV site are fully ADA accessible, ensuring everyone has a chance to enjoy the park.

MODERN CONVENIENCES: Hot showers, flush toilets and a family restroom will give campers a place to clean up after a long day of hiking and enjoying the park. (Matt Debnam/Daily News)

“One of the main complaints that we typically hear in the primitive campground, which limits the number of nights people are willing to stay, is a bath house not being available,” Martin said. “This will have three shower stalls in the women’s and men’s sides, flushing toilets, electricity and heat in there. It offers a more modern amenity that I’m sure will attract plenty more people out here.”

For those who still prefer to rough it, the park will continue to offer primitive and group camping at its current sites on the southern end of the park. Winter rates are now in effect for accommodations, with cabins renting for $32 per night, and RV sites available from $27 per night.

For more details on camping at Goose Creek State Park, visit www.ncparks.gov/goose-creek-state-park/camping.