Outdoor Adventures in Spring Lake, NC
I grew up just a few miles down the road from Spring Lake and admittedly, I never spent much time there. I saw Spring Lake the same way I saw my own hometown, a small, tight-knit company with nothing to do. After working closely with my friends over at the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, I learned that I couldn't have been more wrong. Ready to explore the area, myself and a few other bloggers set out on an outdoor adventure in Spring Lake!
Our first stop was the Fort Bragg Clay Target Center. Fort Bragg's Clay Target Center is one of the largest shotgun shooting facilities in the state of North Carolina. This place is a gun enthusiasts dream. With 12 skeet fields, 28 RV sites, plenty of parking, 4 gazebos with grills, the center has everything you'd need for a day of fun. Many in our group were skeet shooting novices so having a instructor present the entire time was a welcomed gift.
While I am generally pretty good at target practice, skeet shooting isn't something I am good at. Let's just say... I hit nothing. Blame it on the fact that the target was moving or that I am left-handed but can't see out of my left eye, maybe even nerves. Whatever the excuse, I sucked. Thankfully, a lot of the other ladies sucked as well so we all embraced it. This just made it even more exciting when people actually hit something. All in all, we had an amazing time, regardless as to how many clay birds we busted.
I highly suggest checking out the facility if you have any gun enthusiasts in your life. It's easy to get to, the staff is amazing, and you can even rent guns if you don't own one (like myself). At no point did I feel unsafe. The staff takes the utmost precaution when handling the weapons and ensure that all shooters are properly trained and set up for safety. Bring your protective eyewear (you can wear sunglasses) and ear plugs!
After all that shooting, we were starving! Luckily, the famed Noble Meats lives just around the corner. Yet another place I had yet to explore but had heard amazing things about. Noble Meats your typical no-frills, diamond in the rough kind of BBQ joint you can find all over North Carolina. Located at a rural intersection across from a roadside produce stand, I immediately felt at home. My family lives by the philosophy that the late Anthony Bourdain stood by -- the best food is found in the most unassuming places.
I knew walking in that we had chosen the right place to eat as the line was almost out the door! Upon entering the restaurant, you're greeted by their amazing staff as well as a massive butcher cooler and mini-store full of yummy sauces and treats. Have a grill-master at home? Stop in to grab some beef short rib, bratwurst, or lamb chops! Not into making your own food? Noble Meets has you covered.
Slightly overwhelmed by the menu, I decided to go with my old faithful: a BBQ sandwich with a side of potatoes. Holy. Hell. Was it amazing. Generally, I am not here for BBQ sandwiches with BBQ sauce but I was totally in love with this one. I also added a little of their house-made vinegar based sauce (like a real Eastern North Carolinian!) and it totally upped the sandwich game. I think what made me the saddest was there I never got the chance to ask what their potato recipe is. Maybe I can convince them to come to my house and make me a massive batch each week as meal prep!! Sounds totally reasonable, personally.
Being that it was approx 900 degrees out, the group decided to have dessert at Artic Sno Snoballs before venturing out on the Lower Little River. I wowed the ladies with my go-to snowball concoction- Orange Dreamcicle + Coconut + Cream! YUMMO!
Pro-tip: always order your snowball in a cup larger than what you actually order so you don't spill it everywhere. Trust me!
After downing delicious snowballs, we were on our way to our final stop and the main event! I've kayaked a handful of times in my life and unsurprisingly to anyone who knows me, each time ended badly. I was determined that this time would be different!
Upon arriving, we all made our way to the adorable vintage camper to get signed in. Once signed in, we all grabbed life vests, paddles, and phone protectors. Spring Lake Outpost's staff gave us all a brief rundown of what to expect as well as safety instructions. Once all of our group photos were taken, we were off down the 3 mile stretch of river!
This stretch of river was fairly calm. There are a few rough patches due to downed trees under water but I found that if you don't freak out (something I usually do when I hit rough patches) and literally just go with the flow, you'll get out perfectly fine. It was a beautiful 3 miles and I loved getting to know Angela at Mommy PR more!! We were battle buddies and get out of the river unscathed! The entire time I kept thinking "I need to kayak more" or "I can't wait to tell my family about this! My nephews would love it!" When we were done on the river, we just gave the front desk a ring and they were there to pick us up in no time.
Spring Lake Outpost offers tons of special events, including night parties on the river (which I totally want to try). For those looking to have a longer adventure, SLO offers 6-mile routes as well. Walk-ups are welcome but as always, it's recommended to make reservations. Before you embark, make sure to check the water levels to know what kind of adventure you're in for if your bringing the littles!
All in all, I had a wonderful day with wonderful company exploring Spring Lake! In all honesty, I can't wait to go back and explore more. That BBQ sandwich and river are calling my name!!!
Have you ever been to Spring Lake? What's your favorite thing to do there?