Located near Seven Springs in Wayne County, North Carolina, Cliffs of the Neuse State Park is a nature lover’s dream featuring 1,094 acres of pine and floodplain forests. The park has served as a landmark for many centuries and is an ideal spot for your next RV vacation. The park offers diversified outdoor adventure activities like hiking, fishing, boating, swimming, and picnicking.
Campers who like to spend time exploring the park on foot will enjoy the well laid out hiking trails that stretch through the landscape that surrounds the Nuese River. These trails present hikers with a unique opportunity to explore a variety of habitats in one distinct location that includes oak, hickory, and pine forest, and a nearby cypress swamp. As for swimming, and boating lovers, there is an 11-acre lake located inside of the park and a place for boat rentals if you don't want to bring your boat along with you behind your motorhome.
The presence of the Spanish moss helps demonstrate the biological diversity of the park. For birders, birds are seen in abundance during all seasons across all of the park's habitats. You get to hear the sounds of the Chuck-will’s-widow at dawn or dusk. Park rangers regularly present scheduled educational and interpretive programs about the park. Also, if you want to stay overnight, you can stay at the primitive group camping area, rent a cabin, and find both tent and RV camping on site.
Cliffs of the Neuse State Park is located in the southeastern section of North Carolina in an area known as Seven Springs. Seven Springs is located along the North Carolina Birding Trail and the Wayne County Paddle Trails. The park is 14 miles southeast of Goldsboro on NC-111 and is easy to access by rig or car no matter where you are coming from. Some of the roads leading into the park are narrow and winding, so drive carefully, especially if you are pulling a camper or driving a large campervan.
The park is just an hour from Fayetteville, which is the home of Fort Bragg and the Airborne and Special Operations Museum. You can visit this beautiful city on NC-24 while you are in the area. If you are really into history, stop at Goldsborough Bridge Battlefield just five miles to the northwest. The park shows you the historical site where 15,000 soldiers fought in December of 1862 with guided or self-guided tours.
Local roads will lead you to whatever location you want within the park, from the Visitor Center to the campgrounds and trailheads. The hiking trails are well connected to make it possible to explore the unique features of the park on foot. No restrictions are set for driving within the park so you will be able to move around with much ease whether in your trailer or campervan. Parking spaces are available close to all the recreational spots in the park. They are spacious and can be accessed by persons with disabilities.
When you park your camper at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, you can set it up on one of 35 campsites available in the campground. These sites can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 40 feet in length. Twelve of the sites have 30- to 50-amp electric, and there is potable water available as well as RV dumping stations. You will be able to cook outdoors on the campfire grill or your own BBQ or campfire stove if you are not able to cook in your rig. The park also provides a large picnic table so the family can sit together for meals. Go ahead and bring Fluffy because pets are welcome as long as you keep them restrained while you are visiting. For ADA campers, site six is ADA accessible. Site occupancy is limited to one family or six individuals per site. Reservations must be made a day ahead of arrival and can be made up to 11 months in advance.
If you want to get out of the camper for a night or two, the park also offers camper cabins on sites seven, nine, and 11. Cabins here have electricity and water, but the water spigots are located outside the cabins. Also, cabin nine is ADA accessible. Each cabin also provides a campfire ring and BBQ grill to cook on as well as a picnic table that seats six. The bathhouse provides hot showers and modern restrooms nearby. Unfortunately, pets are not allowed in the cabins. Reservations are needed and can be made up to 11 months in advance.
If you have a large group or organization, there are four group campsites in the northern section of Cliffs of the Neuse State Park. Each of the sites can accommodate up to 30 people. These are primitive sites with no utilities. However, there are vault toilets and drinking water spigots nearby. You will be able to cook on the campfire rings as well as BBQ grills, and there are several picnic tables at each group site. Also, the Spanish Moss Trail and Overlook Trail begin at the campground. Reservations are required and must be made at least one day in advance.
If you wish to learn about the history of the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, leave your camper and pop into the Visitor Center. This facility offers museum-quality exhibits that explore the natural and cultural history of the area. These exhibits will teach you all about the natural history, geology, and cultural history of the park. The Visitor Center offers a unique design reflecting the park’s character and explores the ways that the landscape and forest influenced the early settlement.
Cliffs of the Neuse State Park runs interpretive programs throughout the year. Park rangers conduct regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about the state park. The park’s program introduces students and visitors to basic geological concepts like geologic history, fossil and prehistoric life, and erosion. For educators, the program is accompanied by a free tutor’s booklet and workshop. You are advised to contact the park office if you want to schedule a special expedition of this recreation center.
Cliffs of the Neuse State Park will provide you with the best hiking adventure. The park has numerous and well-laid hiking trails to ensure you have a spectacular outdoor experience. Five of its hiking trails stretch across the riverside habitats and the enormous forest. These trails will lead you to the waterway where you will find calm fishing spots. One of the park's indigenous trails, the Bird Trail, will provide you with a glimpse of the park’s natural life like the bald eagle. The 350-Yard Trail is the shortest in the park. It gives access to the park’s signature feature, the 90-foot overlook.
Have you heard of geocaching? This fun outdoor activity is like a universal treasure hunt for kids and adults alike. All you need is a phone or other device with GPS so you can find the geocache. What is a geocache? It is typically a small, waterproof box or container such as a coffee can, Tupperware bowl, or another vessel with toys and trinkets inside. There is also usually a logbook and pen inside to sign your name and date. Remember to bring your own small toy or trinket if you plan to take one. Cliffs of the Neuse State Park has several geocaches. Jump on the geocache website for the coordinates and then head out to find a treasure!
This park has something for everyone. For anglers, the Neuse River offers you beautiful areas to fish. The river is a host to many aquatic critters like bluegill, largemouth bass, catfish, and other species. If you visit the park during spring, try fly fishing up the river as that is where shad migrate. If you plan to fish, you will be required to produce a North Carolina fishing license and adhere to the Wildlife Resource Commission regulations. While fishing is encouraged in the river, it is prohibited in the lake.
If you want to stay dry while in the water, you could rent a boat from the boathouse for a small fee. Park guests are permitted to boat from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day, and boaters will love the 11-acre lake, which is manmade, very clean, and calm. Private boats are not allowed, so even if you brought your own, you would have to rent one from the park if you want to get out on the lake.
There is a spacious picnic area close to the swimming lake. This picnic area features 30 large picnic tables and amenities like restrooms, 10 outdoor grills, and clean drinking water. Almost half of the picnic tables are well sheltered under a brick cover. The picnic shelter can comfortably accommodate 120 people with a dozen picnic tables and a couple of fireplaces as well. The use of the shelter is free unless you reserve it ahead of time. Be aware that the shelter is not accessible to persons with disabilities.
One of the favorite spots in Cliffs of the Neuse State Park is its lake. The lake features a bathhouse, sandy and grassy beach, and diving board to provide you with the best facilities for a refreshing swim. For hungry and thirsty swimmers, a refreshments stand sells food and drinks. The swimming beach is open to the public from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day for a small fee, which helps provide the lifeguard services to keep you safe while you swim.