This weekend, we went to a familiar place but tried some new things. We’re back at Raven Rock State Park. Even if you’ve read our post from March, you’ll want to read this one! We tried some new trails and have new tips about the campground and the park. (And if you haven’t read the March post, you can read it here.)

Where We Stayed

This campground is open year-round. We don’t camp year-round, but we like to start before some of the seasonal campgrounds open (and end after they close), so we frequently make Raven Rock our first and/or last trip of our camping season.

Moccasin Branch Campground, Raven Rock State Park
Lillington, NC
November 10 – 12, 2023
Site 14

At this campground, if you have a reservation, you drive straight to your campsite. Around check-in time, rangers drive through frequently so they notice when someone arrives at a site and they can stop by and check you in.

Site 14 was level enough that we didn’t need to use our red levelers. It’s positioned at a perfect angle with the road angle for backing in, which is always appreciated. You can see your neighbors, but the sites aren’t lined up right next to each other, and they’re large enough that you don’t feel like you’re right on top of them.

water pressure60-70 psi
voltage125-130 volts
cell serviceVerizon: 2 bars; T-Mobile: 2 bars
campground WiFino

Our site had full hookups, but not all of them do, so pay attention when you book your site. The bathhouse wasn’t anything special, but it was bright and clean. The campground is fairly new, so the bathhouse is nicer than many of the other state park bathhouses.

We’ve been to a few campgrounds recently that had few trash cans or only dumpsters at one spot in the campground, so Raven Rock was a nice change. They have trash and recycling receptacles placed around the campground loop every few campsites (including recycling).

Moccasin Branch Campground Travel Tip

The campground has a gate that is closed/locked at a certain time (depending on the time of year). We’ve been to some campgrounds where there’s a code to open the gate after hours, but there’s nothing like that here. If you are outside the gate after it closes, you’ll have to leave your car and walk to your site. At the time of this trip, the gate was being locked at 6:00 PM.

Drivers Beware!

When getting directions, be sure to check the route your GPS has chosen. The campground is on Moccasin Branch Road. You want to arrive via Raven Rock Road off US 421 (W Front Street). You do not want directions that take you from South River Road to Moccasin Branch Road. Why?

Moccasin Branch Road is unpaved. From Raven Rock Road, you’re on a level section of the road for less than 0.25 mi. From South River Road, you’re on it for about 0.8 mi. There’s a decent downhill, quickly followed by a decent uphill with a water crossing in between. No joke. We went that way once, with just the truck, to see what it was like. It was a little scary even without the trailer. I cannot image doing that while towing! (It looks worse in person than it does in the photos.)

There is a bit of good news though. South River Road does intersect with Raven Rock Road. So, if you happen to find yourself approaching the corner of South River Road and Moccasin Branch Road, there’s still hope. You might just want to skip that turn and continue on to Raven Rock Road. We didn’t actually drive that section of the road, but it’s got to be more RV-friendly than the alternative.

What We Did

Visitor Center

We stopped at the visitor center to get a park stamp in our NC State Parks Passport. They have a very small gift shop and a few small educational exhibits. Outside, they have restrooms and a few picnic tables.

Longleaf Loop

Behind the visitor center is the Longleaf Loop. This would be a great hike for kids. It’s really short and loops around a small clearing. If the kids were old enough, the adults could probably sit on the (conveniently placed) benches in the clearing and let the kids do the loop on their own.

American Beech Trail

This might be my new favorite trail! Fellow wildlife/nature nerds, you’re going to like this one. At the beginning of the trail, there’s a small stand with some brochures inside. To get the most out of this trail, you’ll want to take one when you pass it. There are numbered posts along the trail whose numbers correspond to an informational blurb within the brochure. The trail is only 0.5 miles long, which made me a little sad. I would have loved it to go on for longer.

The educational aspect makes this trail great for kids, but I wouldn’t recommend it for really young ones. The only reason I say that is because there are a lot of exposed roots and rocks to step over, so it would be easy for someone to trip. You definitely can’t get a stroller down this trail.

My favorite part was the “tree finder.” It’s a wooden wheel with an arrow and a small “window.” You spin the wheel until a card appears in the window. Each card describes a type of tree, and the arrow points into the forest around you to an actual growing tree of the species named on the card.


We saw mostly squirrels this weekend. Corona even surprised one underneath the trash container on a walk. She started excitedly sniffing around and then it darted out the other side, ran right under Max, and finished his mad dash to the nearest tree. Corona was ready and willing to chase him forever. It all happened so fast that I don’t think Max actually knows what happened.

Aside from the squirrels, we saw plenty of daddy longlegs. I don’t know if they exist in higher numbers in this park, or if we just happened to see more of them, but we saw a lot of them. One in particular caught my attention while hiking in the park because he was carrying a snack.

Happy travels!

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