08-24-11-cape-fear-river.jpgAs our hot, hot summer is winding down to a close, everyone is looking for a way to capture some final quality summer time with friends and family. Luckily, we have, right here in Cumberland County, one of the finest black-water rivers with plenty of opportunities for every age.The Cape Fear River is the only river in North Carolina that flows directly into the ocean. Running from just past Greensboro, its 202 miles flow to the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Fear, from which it draws its name.

The Cape Fear River is a black-water river, a deep slow moving channel that moves through swamps and wetlands. The decaying vegetation stains the water, giving it a color that resembles tea. While the river is acidic in nature, it is safe for fishing and boating.

There are many ways to enjoy the Cape Fear River by boat. If you have your own equipment, you can access the river at the N.C. Wildlife Ramp at the junction of U.S. 301 & Old N.C. 87, or at the ramp at Riverside Sports Center for a $5 fee. For more information, call 910-483-1649.

If you need to rent equipment, Cape Fear River Adventures out of Lillington has a variety of packages from a leisurely paddle for a few hours to Two Day Extreme Adventure excursions. Located on the banks of the Hwy. 421/401 bridge, Cape Fear River Adventures can help you plan a canoeing or kayaking package that will meet the skill level of all your participants. Visit www.capefearadventures.com for more information or call 910-891-9348.

Would you rather hike or stroll? The Cape Fear River Trail adjacent to the river in Fayetteville is a 10-foot wide path that winds through beautiful wildlife for 4.2 miles. It offers spectacular views of the river with several bridges, including one covered bridge, and is open to walkers, joggers and bicyclists. The trail is open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to dusk. The trail is not a loop, however, so a plan should be made to have transportation wherever you plan to finish your trip. Parking lots are available at Jordan Soccer Complex on one end and Clark Park at the other end. Visit the Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Rec website at www.fcpr.us for more information.

Seniors don’t need to be left out of action. At Clark Park, interpretive golf carts tours are available for individuals or groups of up to fi ve people for seniors and persons of limited physical ability. While reservations are required, the tours are free. Call 910-433-1579 for more information.

Looking for more of an educational opportunity? Located adjacent to the Cape Fear River at 631 Sherman Drive in Fayetteville, Clark Park offers an amazing variety of programs for just about every age and interest. Visit www.fcpr.us and click on Parks, then J. Bayard Clark Park for the complete list of opportunities available.

Is fishing more your thing? The Cape Fear River provides good fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, catfish and American and hickory shad. Caution should be exercised consuming fish caught, however, due to high levels of mercury.

Not really interested in breaking a sweat? Freddie Mims with Cape Fear River Boat Cruises offers river cruises from two-hour day cruises to overnight excursions to Wilmington. Mims operates out of Fayetteville at Campbellton Landing. Find Cape Fear River Boat Cruises on Facebook for pricing and contact information.

If you’d just like to sit and enjoy a good meal overlooking the river, Campbellton Landing offers restaurants and shopping with a variety of venues. Named after the first settlement to the Fayetteville area, Campbellton Landing is located at 1130 Person Street on the east bank of the Cape Fear River.

Whatever your interest or skill, there are plenty of opportunities to capture the last few opportunities for summer fun on the Cape Fear River before we bid this season a final adieu.

Photo: The Cape Fear River is the only river in North Carolina that fl ows directly into the ocean. 

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