Three formal campsite areas – Cedar Point, Flanners Beach, and Oyster Point– make great starting places from which to launch your adventures. All have limited parking.
Pine Cliff Recreation Area is another option. It has a small parking area, vault toilets, and a picnic area. Hike a little way along the Neusiok Trail and find the best wild camping that Croatan National Forest has to offer. The beach that runs along the Neuse River is wide and faces northeast which makes for great camping and beautiful sunrises.
Hiking Neusiok Trail in Croatan National Forest
Part of the 900-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail, the Croatan National Forest Neusiok Trail stretches from the Oyster Point Campground to Pine Cliff Recreation area and offers 21-miles of trail through swamps and pine forests. Hiking is best from October through March when the brush has receded and insects and snakes are sparse.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Three lean-to shelters, accommodating three people, are stationed along the way to provide some relief from the elements. Each has a water pump (notoriously unreliable) and a fire grill. No drinking water is available along the trail, and if hiking in the summer months, insect repellent is a must. Leave 7-10 hours to complete the entire trek.
- Copperhead Landing is about halfway between the Pine Cliff Picnic Area and NC 306.
- Dogwood Camp is less than a mile south of NC 101.
- Blackjack Lodge is about one mile north of Mill Creek Road.
Other Hiking Trails in Croatan National Forest:
Cedar Point Tideland Trail which traverses through a salt marsh and along the White Oak River.
Island Creek Forest Walk featuring a forest of hardwoods.
Black Swamp OHV Trail for off-road vehicles and bikes. (8 Miles)
Catfish Lake Road provides many roads and trails for you to explore. (13 miles)
Weetock Trail (14.1 miles)
Read Our Other Posts on North Carolina Beach Camping