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Located at the confluence of Interstate Route 40 and 85, just south of Hillsborough, NC, is the charming, 190-acre, Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area. Its location between two of North Carolina’s largest cities, Raleigh and Greensboro, makes it the perfect weekend motorhome camping spot.
Most people camping at Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area take advantage of the scenic nature trails that wander through forests, along the riverbanks, and to the top of small bluffs. But tranquil strolls aren’t the only thing on offer here. Fishing, picnicking, and even interpretive programs led by the local ranger can be arranged. Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area may not be North Carolina’s most talked-about park, but it sure packs a punch and is well worth a visit for those who book an RV in Orange County, NC.
Losing yourself in a pleasant walk is one of the best ways to while away the time during your Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area camping trip. Although none of the trails are particularly challenging, all of them provide a glimpse into the area’s native flora and fauna, some species of which can only be found here. All three trails, the Chestnut Oak Trail, Brown Elfin Knob Trail, and Occoneechee Mountain Trail, can be completed separately or in one big loop. Combined the loop runs for around 3-miles and shouldn’t take more than two hours to complete; photo stops included! If at all possible, rent a camper near Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area during spring when the Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron are in full bloom.
After all that hiking, a relaxing afternoon of fishing might be in order. Luckily, the park is home to two small fishing ponds and has easy access to an excellent fishing stream, The Eno, that leads from the Neuse River Basin. In the ponds, both novice and expert fishers can expect to reel in bass, bream, and smaller panfish. Fly-fishers should make a beeline for The Eno, where the shallow waters make a prime environment for catching largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and even Roanoke bass.
All that’s left to do after a busy day RV camping at Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area is to enjoy a picnic while the sunsets behind the mountains. Not far from the parking lot, there are several picnic benches and grills, conveniently shaded by trees during the heat of the day. Feel free to bring a hamper along with and enjoy it here! Opening times do apply for the picnic area, along with the rest of the park, but these vary with the seasons. So, make sure to check opening times online before you go or ask at the park office!
When you have an RV rental near Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, you’ll have a choice of two campgrounds, Jones Station RV Park to the west and Birchwood RV park to the east. Both campsites offer similar amenities, with the first offering easier access to Burlington and the second to Durham.
Whichever campsite travelers decide to use to park up their RV rental, there’ll be a choice of sites with partial and full hook-ups, including water, electricity, sewer, and cable connections. Both campgrounds also provide guests with a dump station, laundry facilities, WiFi connection even RV storage, should you need it. Those traveling in an over-sized rental RV shouldn’t have a problem finding a site to accommodate them as these campsites are big-rig friendly and also have a handful of pull-thru sites. It’s worth calling ahead if you need specific requirements, so these can be reserved for you.
With the capital of North Carolina less than an hour’s drive away from Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, it’d be a shame not to pop into Raleigh while you’re renting an RV in the area. An attraction that is sure to please the whole family is The North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. Visitors can explore three-stories of fascinating exhibits, including educational displays that delve into local topography as well as interactive workshops and 3D documentaries that make learning a little bit more exciting for the kids.
If you thought art galleries were just for adults, think again! North Carolina’s Museum of Art makes the creative world accessible to everyone. It houses a large number of traditional galleries inside its four walls, along with outdoor exhibitions scattered around its 194-acre grounds. Once visitors have finished exploring the 35+ indoor galleries, there is a handy, paved, three-mile trail that makes it easy enough to explore everything else on offer.
Anyone traveling with little ones can spend a few fun-filled hours at Marbles Kids Museum. Catering to children ages 0 to 10, the museum is filled with hands-on exhibitions, designed to inspire creativity and curiosity amongst younger years. Indoor and outdoor exhibits include the Tree Tunes corner, toddlers secret garden, and even a petting zoo!