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On the edge of downtown Kinston, the Neuseway Nature Park and Campground sprawls across 55 acres along the Neuse River. It’s an idyllic setting for hiking, fishing, and canoeing while being within access to the cultural and family-friendly attractions of Lenoir County.
RV camping at the Neuseway Nature Park and Campground includes access to 32 full hookup sites, with 20, 30, or 50 amp electric connections. Fire rings and picnic tables are provided at each of the sites, with clean bathrooms, hot showers, and a dump station also available to campers. At the entrance to the campground is a sizeable picnic shelter that can easily accommodate large gatherings and events.
Camping at the Neuseway Nature Park and Campground is a convenient base for exploring the Croatan National Forest, which encompasses 160,000 acres along North Carolina’s Atlantic Coast. It’s traversed by several hiking trails, including the 21-mile-long Neusiok Trail and the long-distance Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Aside from exploring its pine forests, salt estuaries, and bird-filled pocosins on foot, the Croatan National Forest is also a popular destination for mountain biking and off-roading, with the latter centered around the Black Swamp OHV Trail.
Continue driving east from the Croatan National Forest, and you’ll arrive at the Cape Lookout National Seashore, a 56-mile section of the Southern Outer Banks. It’s comprised of three undeveloped barrier islands, which are home to a healthy population of wild horses and sea birds, as well as the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. This iconic landmark is instantly recognizable due to its black-and-white diamond pattern and is now home to the Cape Lookout Light Station Visitor Center and Keepers' Quarters Museum. Also not to miss is the historic village of Portsmouth, which dates to 1753 and features a cluster of buildings that are now protected as the Portsmouth Village Historic District.
Directly west of the Neuseway Nature Park and Campground is the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, which encompasses just over 1,000 acres along the southern banks of the Neuse River. It’s home to a variety of wildlife that includes opossums, raccoons, and river otters, with occasional sightings of white-tailed deer and black bears. Begin your visit at the small museum that details the geology and natural history of the cliffs, then see them with your own eyes along one of the park’s hiking trails.
Kinston campers can pick up groceries at one of the local supermarkets, with plenty of gas stations also in the city if you need to fill up your RV rental. Dining establishments in Kinston range from fast-food restaurants to deli-style cafes, as well as an oyster bar and a brewery.
If you’re interested in the local maritime history, make a point of visiting the CSS Neuse State Historical, which protects the lower hull of a steam-powered ram of the Confederate States Navy. It’s now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with the museum detailing the Navy’s attempt to control the lower Neuse River during the Civil War. A short stroll away is the Caswell Number 1 Fire Station Museum, which was constructed in 1895 following a disastrous fire in downtown Kinston. Step into the world of a late-19th-century firefighter as you browse the vintage helmets, ladders, and fire extinguishers on display, together with a 1922 LaFrance Pumper.
If you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss a visit to the family-friendly water park in Kinston, where you can cool off during the summer months. Get your thrills on one of the water slides or enjoy a splash in the kiddie pool before embarking on a leisurely ride along the football-field-length lazy river.
A 30-minute drive east of the Neuseway Nature Park and Campground will see you in the heart of Goldsboro, which serves as the seat of Wayne County. Delve into the past at the Wayne County Museum, where photographs and artifacts belonging to previous and current residents are exhibited. See early-20th-century medical implements and original bottles in the Medical Gallery and browse the old weaponry and flags in the Military Gallery, then learn about the long-established Miss Goldsboro Pageant in the Enduring Elegance display.
If you’re interested in the region’s political history, make the short drive north from Goldsboro to the Charles B. Aycock Birthplace, which preserves the childhood home of this former governor. Learn about the education reforms he enacted while in office and the legacy of his political career while exploring the heritage-listed weatherboard dwelling.
Whether you want to explore the coastal landscapes of the Cape Lookout National Seashore or discover the museums of Kinston, book a camper rental in Lenoir County and start planning your visit.