- Whether you're a senior out for a pleasure ride or a busload of school kids, Occoneechee's new visitor center brings the past to life through its extensive exhibits that include prehistoric artifacts. Park maps, firewood, an ADA restroom, local information including a list of nearby restaurants, soft drink machine and a year-round gift shop with very reasonably priced merchandise are located at the center.
Copyright: Virginia State Parks
Occoneechee Pow Wow
For years Occoneechee State Park has offered hikers a limited trail system. Today equestrians and mountain bikers have joined the trailblazers in discovering the new 15-mile multi-use trail. In total, the park offers over 18 miles of earthen path through field and forest.
History buffs can do more than tour the historical exhibits found at the visitor center. Each year the park hosts the Native American Heritage Festival and Pow Wow the second weekend of May. In addition, Terrace Gardens, found near Campground B, gives visitors a glimpse of plantation life from the 1800s. Great for kids!
Well-known among the fishing community, Buggs Island Lake and connecting Lake Gaston are accessed from the park. Anglers pour into the lake in pursuit of largemouth bass, striped bass, crappie and more. The park offers seven boat launches ($) with plenty of car and trailer parking. A valid Virginia or North Carolina fishing license is required. Unlimited horsepower boating is permitted.
Touring the park is particularly enjoyable. A wide variety of trees may be identified including shagbark hickory, mockernut hickory, American beech, black gum, Virginia pine, black cherry, red oak, red bud, dogwood and many more. The understory is sprinkled with Virginia creeper, low sweet blueberry, hog peanut, rattlesnake fern, wild yam, Virginia heartleaf, solomon's seal, false solomon's seal, meadow parsnip, and poison ivy. As a result, wildlife flourishes. The park boasts 51 mammal species and 255 bird species including three federally endangered species: the peregrine falcon, Kirtland's warbler, and the redcockaded woodpecker.
A concession area adjacent to the main boat launch is open seasonally - - weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The concession offers a variety of rental equipment including canoes, one and two-man kayaks, motorboats, paddleboats, and seven-speed off-road bikes. Other essential items include ice, drinks, snacks, and more. The concession does offer boat rental during the month of September by calling 434-374-4446 (half-day rental minimum). Shaded picnic tables and grills are behind the concession overlooking the lake.
Occoneechee State Park offers two separate campgrounds; both are shaded and very scenic. Recent upgrades to the campground include modern bathhouses with ADA parking, graveled tent sites, recycling center and more. The sites are reservable through the State Park Reservation System, 1-800-933-PARK (in Richmond, 225-3867). Primitive group camping may be arranged by calling the park office direct.
Other activities at the park include scenic picnicking. Several reservable shelters and a smattering of lakeside tables and grills make for the perfect outdoor dining experience. Footsteps from picnicking, kids can discover the huge new playground. Guardians will enjoy the resting benches and the fact the playground is fenced.
During the summer months, the park offers a variety of interpretive programs featuring such favorites as Youth Fishing Clinic, Junior Ranger Program, and night hikes.
Bird-watchers will want to keep an eye overhead for osprey and the sometimes seen bald eagle. Hunters are invited to use the 1,900 acre Panhandle Area.
The park does not permit swimming or wading.
Recreation - Boating, fishing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, experiencing history, enjoying Native American festivals, participating in nature programs, picnicking, and playground fun can be experienced along the Virginia / North Carolina border at Occoneechee State Park. Hunters are invited to use the 1,900 acre Panhandle Area.
Climate - Virginia generally has mild winters and warm humid summers. The Piedmont Plateau area of the state has winter temperatures averaging above 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). The state's summer temperatures have little variation. Piedmont Plateau generally experiences temperatures above 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius). High humidity along with warm temperatures can be uncomfortable.
Occoneechee State Park is on U.S. 58, 1.5 miles east of Clarksville in Mecklenburg County which rests on the North Carolina border.