Columbus County is a storied place. Nestled in scenic southeastern North Carolina, it’s a place where stories are told and where stories are created. It’s a place that feeds the senses and stirs the imagination, where the sights and sounds of nature are sealed in memories and recalled as a part of life unique and special to the people who share that life.
There are stories of fishing on Lake Waccamaw and the Lumber and Waccamaw Rivers; sometimes from the banks; sometimes from a boat, and sometimes when you’re standing in a gently flowing stream listening to the water flow around you, casting lazily, enjoying the world around you so much that catching fish is incidental. Or you might be using all your knowledge and experience to bring in the most and biggest in a fishing tournament.
There are stories of sailing on Lake Waccamaw (one of the largest natural lakes on the eastern seaboard), the wind pushing you softly and quietly, the sun warming the water and melting stress like butter on a hot biscuit. Or maybe you’re racing that boat in one of the frequent regattas, testing your skills as you maneuver your boat toward the finish line.
It’s also a story of comebacks. Devastated by Hurricanes Matthew, in Sept. 2016, and Florence, in Sept. 2018, which dumped billions of gallons of rain on Southeastern NC, the residents displayed a remarkable resilience and re-opened all but two of the businesses that were destroyed.
Visitors to this welcoming region will discover enough attractions to keep them busy for days on end. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort in friendly Tabor City is 350 acres of pure family fun. Guests enjoy an aqua play area, splash zone, outdoor pool, indoor pool, mini-golf, laser tag, hiking trails, dog agility course, jumping pad, fishing, bike track, amphitheater and more. It was the 2017 Jellystone Camp Resort of the Year. Cabins, yurts, campsites and RV sites are only 35 minutes away from North Myrtle Beach.
Learn the culture and traditions of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe at the Waccamaw Siouan Pow Wow on tribal lands near the town of Bolton. Highlights include Waccamaw Siouan history, traditional foods, an American Indian dance competition, drumming competition and gospel singing.
Annual events like the North Carolina Honey Festival create quite a buzz in Whiteville. And the town goes nuts each year for the NC Pecan Harvest Festival. If that isn’t enough, folks from across southeastern NC know Whiteville is the spot to be when the Columbus Co. Agricultural Fair cranks up. Whiteville’s a bee-utiful location for the honey festival as one of only a few NC cities to have “Bee City” status. The town of Chadbourn once shipped hundreds of millions of quarts of strawberries across the nation. Today, strawberries are not as prevalent, but are still a vital crop that draws visitors each spring, especially for the NC Strawberry Festival in early May. Ever see a watermelon tip the scales at 150 pounds? You’ll see that and a lot more at the North Carolina Watermelon Festival the third weekend of July in the town of Fair Bluff.
Naturalists will marvel at Lake Waccamaw. A Biodiversity wonder, Lake Waccamaw State Park features a 9,000-acre lake that is home to more than 50 species of fish. A limestone bluff reduces the acidity levels to create an ideal home for many aquatic species found nowhere else in the world.
No matter the time of year, Columbus County welcomes travelers from all across the country with open arms. You’ll return home with stories of your own.