It’s one of those weekends in North Carolina where you wish you could triplicate yourself … .
When anyone asks me for a good beginner canoe trip with great scenery, I never hesitate with the answer: Merchants Millpond State Park. For starters, it’s one of the few places in the state where you can rent a canoe year-round. Then, it’s only $5 an hour (that’s for the first hour; it drops to $3 an hour for the second and subsequent hours). But the main reason to paddle Merchants Millpond is the scenery. Paddling here is on a 190-year-old, 760-acre millpond peppered with bald cypress and tupelo gum trees draped in Spanish moss. The pond’s dark, acidic waters support floating mats of duckweed and water fern. It’s the quintessential swamp paddle minus the alligators (it’s been years since one has been seen).