The Neuse River Recreation Area, locally known as Flanner’s Beach, is off of Highway 70 between Havelock and New Bern, North Carolina. Sitting along the Neuse River and part of the Croatan National Forest, this area features a beach, picnic area, campground and hiking/bicycling trail. I was going to be in New Bern yesterday afternoon and decided to visit this trail on my way home. It was a nice Spring day and we’d been having some plesantly warm weather, so I was hopeful I might come across some wildflowers. Apparently it’s still a little bit early.
The trail system at this recreation area consists of a loop around the campground with a couple of small loops off of that plus one fairly large loop out into the woods. The section circling the campground is paved, as are the two smaller loops. the longer loop is covered with fine pea gravel. The trails are open to bicyclists and hikers alike. Walking parallel to the river from the picnic parking area will put you on the trail. Taking the longer loop around until it meets with the campground route, then back to the parking area will net about a 2 mile hike. While not a huge stroll it is a pretty area with the woods being a mix of pine and hardwoods. The trail crosses a small swampy area via a boardwalk, adding to the variety of terrain. One big plus for this trail is that when everything else is wet, muddy and nasty it provides a dry and comfy trail for stretching your legs. While the Neuse River Recreation Area trail isn’t the longest or most demanding in the area, it makes a great place to take the family, introduce a “tenderfoot” to nature, or to incorporate a picnic with a little excercise. It’s definately well worth a vist.