Get outdoors, local opportunities abound

Published 8:35 am Saturday, April 23, 2022

The arrival of spring weather brings Eastern North Carolina to life in more ways than one. Our coastal location offers a number of outdoor and recreational opportunities, from our estuarine rivers and creeks to parks and trails.
Those resources are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
The pandemic drove even more people outside to places like Goose Creek State Park.
Visitation to state parks jumped to 23 million in 2021, a 15 percent increase over the prior year, according to the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
“As we return to something approaching ‘normal,’ we’ll still see high demand for parks, trails, and greenways, because millions of people have rediscovered that getting outdoors improves their physical and mental health,” said NCDNCR secretary Reid Wilson. “Parks and trails provide places to connect with nature, where the values of conservation and stewardship can take root across age groups, demographics, and ideologies. That’s true in April when we observe Earth Day and it’s true all year long.”
Goose Creek State Park features eight miles of trails through a Cypress swamp and the wetlands along the Pamlico River. The park also features a sandy swim beach, a boat ramp at Dinah’s Landing, two camping areas and a visitor/environmental education center with detailed exhibits.
All of this is available in our own backyard. The park is just a short drive from Washington and Bath, offering a quick part-day or weekend getaway.
There are many other ways to enjoy the outdoors in Beaufort County, particularly the river, one of our readers’ most enjoyed spring activities, according to our latest online poll.
Beaufort County features a number of boating access areas and several kayak ramps as well. And Sound Rivers owns and operates camping platforms on the Tar-Pamlico Water Trail. Their facilities are available year-round through use by permit only. You can reserve your spot at soundrivers.org.
If you’re a landlubber, waterfronts in Washington, Bath and Belhaven offer opportunities to enjoy the river from solid ground.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, but don’t have access to a boat, the NC Estuarium offers boat rides on the Pamlico-Tar River.
Tours are scheduled Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m. & 12 p.m., and Saturday at 10 a.m. There is a maximum of 10 riders per trip and you must be at least 6 years of age to ride. Tours run through the end of October and are free, but donations are welcome. To make reservations, call 252-948-0000.
See you out and about.

Ashley Vansant is publisher of the Washington Daily News. He can be reached at publisher@thewashingtondailynews.com.