Pettigrew State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Lovely forested Pettigrew State Park rests on the shores of 16,000-acre Lake Phelps near the coast of North Carolina. The park is approximately 60-miles east of Greenville and is surrounded by cypress and sycamore trees. The fishing here is legendary. Those with kayaks, canoes and shallow-draft boats will find easy launch sites. Nearby access also allows boaters onto the placid, blackwater Scuppernong River.

The park offers a variety of outdoor activities. Hiking trails lead along winding paths beneath some of the oldest, most majestic trees in the coastal region. Bikes are allowed on most trails. The park is rich in history with a display of ancient American Indian dugout canoes found on the lake as well as the grave of a Confederate general.

Mysterious Lake Phelps, believed to be more than 38,000 years old, is North Carolina’s state second largest natural lake. The lake rests on a vast peninsula between the Albemarle Sound and the Pamlico River. Scientists remain puzzled as to its origin. Hypotheses regarding the lake’s origin include underground springs, wind and wave action, meteor showers, peat burn and glacial activity.

The park maintains thirteen camp sites as well as a primitive camping area. There are no hookups available. However, the sites can accommodate RV’s up to 75-feet in length and offer hot showers and restrooms nearby.

RV Rentals in Pettigrew State Park

Transportation in Pettigrew State Park

Driving

The park's address is:

2252 Lake Shore Road

Creswell, NC 27928

Pettigrew State Park, located in Washington and Tyrrell counties, is easy to find. The park is seven miles south of Creswell off of US-64. From US-64, take exit 558 to Creswell. Turn left at Main Street and continue for approximately two miles (the road becomes Spruill's Bridge Road). Turn right onto Thirty Foot Canal Road and continue for five miles. Turn left onto Lake Shore Road and find the park office on the right.

Parking

At Pettigrew State Park there are several parking options. You can park at the entrance to the park, near the canoe launch, near the Pocosin Natural Area, Near Morotoe Trail, and at the Bee Tree Trail Head.

Public Transport

There is no access to public transportation within the park.

Campgrounds and parking in Pettigrew State Park

Campsites in Pettigrew State Park

Reservations camping

Pettigrew State Park

Pettegrew State Park has limited lodging options for guests. The park maintains thirteen campsites. Each camp site is outfitted with a picnic table and grill. The sites are well-suited for tents and trailers. There are no electric or water hookups available at the camp sites. However, the park maintains water and restrooms nearby with hot showers.

Some of the camp sites at Pettigrew State Park can accommodate RVs. Different sites can accommodate different sizes of RV’s. Guests should note that some sites can accommodate RV’s up to 76-feet in length.

Guests to the park will find that some of the camp sites are shaded from the cypress and sweetgum forest. Guests will find other sites located in an open grassy meadow. Reservations can be made so that guests can get exactly what they need.

Campers are allowed 24-hour access to the park. Pets are welcome in the campground.

Group camping

Pettigrew State Park Campground is surrounded by forest and offers easy access to Lake Phelps via a 740-foot boardwalk trail.

The park maintains primitive group camping facilities. These sites come outfitted with tent pads, a fire ring, a vault toilet, and potable water.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Pettigrew State Park

In-Season

Boating

Guests to Pettigrew State Park with an interest in water sports will love Lake Phelps. The lake, second largest in the state of North Carolina, offers ample room for canoes, kayaks, rowboats and power vessels. The lake offers ideal conditions for sailing in shallow draft boats. You can launch a canoe from Cypress Point or use the launching and docking facilities behind the park office.

Guests will also find that two N.C. Wildlife boat ramps provide access to the Scuppernong. Paddlers will enjoy the view of the areas water ways and forested shore from the canoe trails on Lake Phelps and the Scuppernong River.

Swimming

You may find it difficult to resist swimming in the clear shallow waters of Lake Phelps. There is a designated swim area located a short distance from Lake Shore Trail. This area can be found behind the picnic area on the north side of the lake. The water can be easily accessed by two ladders attached to the swim pier. Most find that this accommodation is sufficient even for small children. There is a square platform located at the end of the pier with seating. This provides guests with a place to relax and keep an eye on swimmers in their party. Guest should be mindful that lifeguards are not provided. So, adults and group leaders must provide swimming supervision. It should also be notes that pets are not allowed in the swim area.

Fishing

Lake Phelps is renowned for bass fishing. Guests to Pettigrew State Park will find the lake teeming with largemouth bass, yellow perch and pumpkinseed. Guests can enjoy the challenges of fishing for pickerel and catfish on this site just as the Algonquians did 10,000 years ago.

Guests can choose from fishing on the fishing pier, boardwalk, or the overlooks at Cypress Point. Fishermen can enter Lake Phelps at the Pocosin Overlook for wade fishing. Guests will find excellent fishing spots along the banks of the Scuppernong River. And if river fishing isn’t your thing, guests can try their luck at the ponds scattered around the park. Anglers must have a fishing license and obey all regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Off-Season

Hiking

The park touts both Cypress swamps and hardwood forests. Meander along Lake Phelps and enjoy trails offering overlooks for photography, birding and spotting wildlife. You should be mindful that bicycles are also allowed on most trails. Some of the trails guests will find in Pettigrew State Park are:

Bee Tree Trail:

You can locate this easy one-mile trail near the park entrance. This trail leads through a sweetgum forest, to Bee Tree Overlook. Here there is a wooden platform with views of the lake. This is a wonderful place to view wintering waterfowl.

Moccasin Trail:

This easy, approximately three-mile trail starts near the park office. This trail leads through a cypress and hardwood forest to Moccasin Canal.

Somerset Place State Historic Site

Guests to Pettigrew State Park with an interest in history will consider themselves luck to have found this park. One of the trails maintained by the state park leads guests directly onto Somerset Place Historic Site. This site was an operating plantation between the years of 1785 and 1865. Indeed, Somerset Place was one of the largest plantations in the region. Somerset Place offers guests a comprehensive and realistic representation of life on a southern plantation. During its years of operation, hundreds of acres of swampy acreage were converted into high yielding fields of rive, wheat, corn, peas, flax, and oats. Guests to the site can explore the lavish plantation home as well as reconstructed slave quarters. Guest to the site can also tour the dairy, kitchen/laundry facility, plantation hospital, and stocks. There is a visitor’s center with historic displays as well as a gift shop on the site as well.

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Guests to Pettigrew State Park with an interest in wildlife preservation will delight in the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge located in nearby Columbia. The refuge and its surrounding waters support many species of native wildlife and fish. These species’ populations are influenced by a number of factors including the refuge’s location. The placement of the refuge along the Atlantic Flyway makes a natural place for waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and neotropical migratory songbirds. Guests to the refuge will find 200 species of birds, 40 species of mammals, 40 species of reptiles, and 36 species of amphibians residing here.

The Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge supports wildlife species that are important from both a regional and a national standpoint. The densely packed oversized vegetation native to the refuge provides a haven for species that prefer to avoid man. Visitors to the refuge will learn that there is a reclusive population of black bear residing here. The refuge also harbors many species that are only adapted to living in large tracts of forested habitat. These species include interior forest breeding birds, such as the prothonotary warbler. These birds migrate to the refuge each spring to nest in wetland forests. The refuge also lies near the northern limit of ranges for several vertebrate species, including the American alligator. It won’t take guests long to understand the value of this refuge for native wildlife.

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