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Lake Waccamaw State Park

Lake Waccamaw State Park is a 2000-acre park along Lake Waccamaw in Columbus County.  Lake Waccamaw is one of many Carolina Bay lakes in North Carolina, but one of the most unique.  Carolina Bays are shallow oval lakes found in the coastal plain region.  Their origins remain a mystery, but theories include underground springs, wind action, or even a meteor shower.  Unlike most Carolina Bays, Lake Waccamaw is not completely rain fed, but rather gets water from Friar Swamp and Big Creek.  Most Carolina Bays are acidic due to the high levels of tannins in the water.  Limestone bluffs along Lake Waccamaw's north shore neutralize the water, supporting a greater diversity of aquatic life.  The state park features boating opportunities on the lake, primitive camping, and several miles of hiking trails along the shore and through pine forests.

Contact Information:

1866 State Park Drive
Lake WaccamawNC 28450

Phone (910) 646-4748

GPS: 34.27899,-78.46548



Lakeshore Trail:

Lakeshore Trail is the longest in the park.  It starts near the visitor center from Boardwalk Trail 2 near the lake.  As the name suggests, the trail follows the shore of Lake Waccamaw for about 4 miles.  About half-way through, the trail crosses Boardwalk Trail at the 700-foot pier sticking out into the lake.  The primitive campsites are right past here.  The trail ends at Lake Waccamaw dam.  A recently-constructed boardwalk across the dam leads to a parking area at the end of state park property.

Loblolly Trail:

Loblolly Trail is a short half-mile trail from the visitor center to State Park Drive.  The trail passes through a pine forest and provides a connection to Pine Woods Trail.

Pine Woods Trail:

Pine Woods Trail is a 2-mile trail leading from Loblolly Trail through a forest of longleaf pine and ends near the picnic and camping area.


Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) are being re-established in the park.  Once abundant throughout the southeastern US, fire suppression and planting faster-growing species have reduced the longleaf to a fraction of its original range.  Restoring the longleaf pine ecosystem in the park is aided through the use of prescribed burns.

Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is common draped over cypress and other trees along the lake shore.

Dixie reindeer lichen (Cladonia subtenuis) can be found in the park.

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