Rental canoes from Cape Fear River Adventures at Buckhorn Dam on Cape Fear River

Epic Overnight

Epic Overnight

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Epic Overnight
Kayaking or canoeing overnight camping river trip

Update: we resume offering this trip starting Saturday 7/17/21!

Canoe camping is the untapped source for outdoor fun. This 2 day, 1 night trip starts 15 miles up the river from our office at the old, retired Buckhorn Dam. Paddle down 9 miles from the put-in and camp at Raven Rock’s secluded canoe-in campground. Your second day will see you down 6 more miles of river to our office in Lillington. You can skip the camping, making it a full day trip. Our shuttle will take your group, boats and equipment to the starting point at Buckhorn Dam.

Please visit the Raven Rock State Park website or call (877) 722-6762 to make reservations for canoe-in campground. Reservations are required by the State Park. There are only 6 campsites, so please plan ahead...

Large Groups! Please note: Raven Rock's group campsites have been permanently closed due to the damage after the Hurricane Florence in 2018. However, we have access to a couple other properties on the river that can accommodate larger groups, like a Boy or Girl Scout Troop. Contact us to discuss arrangements.

Things to know before you go!

The typical water level in summer-time is low creating very slow currents! In general, the river is very shallow and the bottom is very rocky. There is a great chance your boat will get stuck on rocks. Rapids are also shallow and rocky at summer normal level. You have to paddle vast majority of this 15 mile section with very little help from the river's current. As river comes up, these conditions change.

Trip Cost Prices are per boat and include paddles, life jackets, and shuttle service

We require 24-hour notice for weekday reservations during our slow seasons (March - April and mid-Sept - October)
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Trip Schedule

We drive to Buckhorn Dam only once a day, first thing in the morning!
Please see the shuttle schedule when booking. Arrive 15 minutes prior to the start time!
Due to shuttle schedule, we are not able to wait for you if you are late, nor can we shuttle you are later time!
Please be on time!

Camping Reservations with Raven Rock State Park

You must make a separate reservation with Raven Rock State Park for canoe-in camp site. There are only 6 canoe-in campsites. It is a good idea to make sure they have availability before booking your trip with us.
The cost for campsites is $12 per night + $3 booking fee.

Large Groups! Please note: Raven Rock's group campsites have been permanently closed due to the damage after the Hurricane Florance. However, we have access to couple other properties on the river that can accommodate larger groups, like a Boy Scout Troop. Contact us to discuss arrangements.

What to wear

  • Dress for the weather with layered clothing if necessary, and expect to get wet.
  • Wear long sleeves or opt out for sunscreen.
  • Bathing suit is a great option in warmer months, but don't forget sunscreen!
  • Paddling booties or water shoes are great! You can also wear old gym shoes, or strap-on sandals, but no flip-flops!
  • Any hat is recommended.

What to bring

Overnight trips will take a little more planning than other trips. Here are some suggested items:

  • Water - 1 gallon per person
  • Food (day 1 - lunch and dinner; day 2 - breakfast)
    Some food ideas: freeze dried meals, nuts, fruits, canned meats or fish, nutrition bars, instant basic soups is a good addition on a cooler night
  • Tent or hammock
  • Sleeping bag (might be unnecessary on warmer summer nights)
  • Optional sleeping pad
  • Optional stove and pot to boil water
  • Spork (or just fork or spoon)
  • Flashlight
  • Knife
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Optional spare clothing in case your get wet

* for more detailed gear list see Paddling to Wilmington page.

Trip F.A.Q.

Yes, reservations are required for this trip!
If you need to cancel or reschedule your reservation, please contact us at least 24-hours before your scheduled activity. No changes allowed and no refunds will be issued less than 24-hours prior to the activity. If we must postpone your activity due to water conditions or severe weather, we will issue you a full credit valid to be used for an activity in the future. We don't stop operations due to rain in the forecast!
8 years old and up. For younger children check out Leisure Paddle or Easy Float with age limit of 3.
250lb per person for any kayak or canoe; 220lb for paddle board
Yes, BUT… Responsible, moderate consumption is strongly enforced. All North Carolina and Waterways laws apply and are closely monitored by local and Wildlife Law Enforcement. Alcohol is not allowed inside Raven Rock State Park!
You have to have at least one 18 year old individual in your party out on the water. Anyone else under 18 must have consent from a parent or legal guardian.
We offer 10% off for groups 12-23 and 20% off for groups of 24+ ONLY if reservations are made online at least 24 hours before the trip. Contact us for a discount code that we set up just for your group. You can make as many separate reservations as needed depending on how many people are paying. Be sure to complete waiver forms online, it will greatly speed up your check-in process!
Yes! We offer 10% discount for military, EMS, Fire, Police and Teachers. Use "hardwork21" code when making your online reservations. Be sure to have your military or relevant ID when checking in.
Yes we do! We accept all major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
There are no gators or sharks, but there are water snakes. Frankly, that's where they live, they are non-aggressive type and they are more frightened of you and will try to stay out of sight.
Yes, dogs are allowed. Keep in mind that if your furry friend has never been in a boat, you might find yourself fighting to keep your pup onboard instead of enjoying the day ;) Not recommended for 10 Mile Challenge or Epic Overnight unless the dog has prior experience being in a boat.
1 person per single kayak; 2 people per tandem kayak; 2 people per canoe.
Canoes have plenty of storage and preferred for overnight trip. You can bring cooler, backpack or other accessories along the way. Kayaks however, have limited storage. Smaller backpack would fit ok, but not much more than that. Keep in mind that more stuff you have lower the boat seats making it so much more less efficient paddling and going over rapids.
Maybe! The river is an unpredictable environment and there is always a possibility of capsizing. You must be prepared for it, dress and gear up accordingly.
Yes. But this is much more physically demanding trip. While we can show you how to paddle and turn, you still have to do all the work covering 15 miles!
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