Go Camping on Spirit Island

You don’t have to travel far to experience an authentic North Carolina wilderness. Our very own Spirit Island offers primitive camping and solitude within a short paddle of Saxapahaw.

Spirit Island is a 5-acre primitive natural area that is a perfect spot for someone looking for a wilderness escape while choosing their level of adventure.

Located between Swepsonville River Park and Saxapahaw Lake, the island can serve as a picnic spot for those on a downriver paddle, or it can be its own destination for an overnight camping trip.

Since this island is privately owned, you’ll need to make a reservation if you would like to camp.

Keep reading to explore camping options and for advice on planning your overnight camping adventure.

How Do I camp on Spirit Island?

After making a reservation, you’ll need to plan your trip, which means securing a boat for transportation and gathering all camping gear.

If you need a boat, we have plenty of rentals to suit your needs.

As you plan for camping, remember that Spirit Island is an authentic, primitive experience. You’ll truly feel like you’ve gotten away from it all even though you’re just a short paddle from Saxapahaw.

To keep the experience primitive, there are no amenities on Spirit Island. This means you must pack in your own shelter and sleeping gear, your food, and your water. The island has room for tents and hammocks.

Important things to keep in mind:

  • Pack in all water. Although you’re near the Haw River, we do not consider its water safe for drinking (even if treated).
  • Pack out all trash and waste.
  • Small fires are allowed if kept within the stone fire ring.
  • Pets are not allowed on the island.
  • Please do not bring glass or alcohol while canoeing or kayaking.

How to Prepare for Camping Out of a Canoe or Kayak

Camping from a canoe or kayak is much like backpacking. You’ll pack in all necessary gear, but the canoe holds all the weight, which makes canoe-camping a very accessible means of experiencing the wilderness.

At Spirit Island, you’ll be canoeing or kayaking to your campsite, so you will take similar gear to a backpacking trip, but you should plan to keep it dry. Officially, dry bags are the best (and most expensive) option, but since you will be paddling on flatwater, you can make do with large garbage bags to protect from rain and paddle splashes.

Although you are paddling to your site, you can still start with REI’s wonderful article on backpacking for beginners. It will help you plan and choose the proper gear. At minimum, you should consider taking:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pad
  • Dry bag or another storage method to keep sleeping gear protected
  • Cooking stove and food
  • Water (while you can filter water on other trips, we recommend packing in all water rather than drinking from the Haw River)
  • First aid supplies
  • Method for packing out waste

How Do I Get to Spirit Island?

Spirit Island is accessible only by boat. For overnight trips, you will launch from the Saxapahaw Lake Paddle Access and paddle roughly 5 miles upriver to the island.

On the island, you can camp, build a fire, swim, fish, birdwatch, and relax.

Our most popular trip is a one-night stay: paddle out, camp, and then return to Saxapahaw Lake Paddle Access the following day.

How Much Does It Cost?

Price to camp on the island without renting any gear is $20 per person.

If you need to rent boats, we offer the following kayaks and canoes. Camping fees are included in the boat rental prices listed below:

  • 1 Single Kayak: $75 per night
  • 1 Tandem Kayak: $105 per night
  • 1 Canoe: $105 per night

Reserve Your Adventure on Spirit Island

To book an overnight adventure on Spirit Island, please call our office.

If you prefer a daytrip and some downriver paddling, you can book our Swepsonville River Park to Saxapahaw Lake trip and picnic on the island.

We’re Here to Help

Feeling overwhelmed with options? Please contact us and let one of our experienced staff help you choose the right trip for you and your group.