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Black River

The Black gets its name from its tea colored water. The water is clean, but stained by tannin from surrounding trees. If you know where to look, you can see cypress trees dating back over a thousand years. The river is flat, but the water moves deceptively quickly in places. Pull over to the side and take a swim. It feels great.

If you are quiet, you have a chance to see huge snapping turtles, gar fish, and bear. You will probably see numerous prothonotary warblers whether you are quiet or not. The banks are privately owned, so don't plan on camping unless you obtain permission first.

The Black River runs through Sampson, Bladen and Pender Counties.

Lockwood Folly River

Another black water river is the Lockwood Folly. The river is short, but beautiful. And it has alligators. Unlike the Black River, the Lockwood Folly goes from peaceful lowland swamp to crowded soundside marsh. The lower section is wide and wind buffetted, so save some energy. The advantage is that it is tidal, and therefore legal to fish without a license.

The Lockwood Folly River is in Brunswick County near Southport.

Haw River

Although not technically a flat water river, the upper sections of the Haw are easy to paddle and a lot of fun. Take out at Bynum, and you will avoid the more difficult rapids. Just make sure your boat is rock proof. And take an experienced paddler with you.

Due to its central location and small rapids, the Haw is the most paddled river in the state. Still, if you time your trip right you can avoid seeing other paddlers. And you may see bald eagles.

The Haw River runs through Alamance and Chatham counties. Avoid this river at High water. It becomes extremely dangerous.