Teri: A Request from the POTA Babe to QRPer Readers

For those regular readers of QRPer.com, you know that this POTA Babe has a goal of 60 new-to-me park activations for 2024. I am planning a POTA trip this summer to North Carolina and/or Virginia. I will be on the road for eleven to twelve days with nine to ten of those days potentially available for activations. I’d like to hear from y’all what one park you think I should visit and why.

You can either leave your suggested park in the comments below or email me via the address on my QRZ page. As summer will be here before we know it, I’d like to nail down my plans soon. Please share your suggestions by Wednesday, March 6th.

For safety reasons, I will not share my itinerary before the trip; however, I will give credit in the articles I write from the trip to the op (or ops if the park is suggested by more than one person) who suggested that park.

Thank you in advance for your assistance! Keep having fun with your QRP adventures!

16 thoughts on “Teri: A Request from the POTA Babe to QRPer Readers”

  1. Teri — you’re making great progress on your goal. Good luck on Rover-Round-2! Don’t know if this helps, but I recently mapped out a rover trip on our way from Atlanta, up through NC and VA, to visit family in the northeast. I mostly look for state parks (WMAs usually don’t get me excited), but subject to that, going up I-85, to I-77, to I-81, and limiting myself to sites right off the interstates, here’s what I had:
    * Crowders Mtn SP (K-2726) (I-85);
    * Lake Norman SP (K-2740) (I-77);
    * Ft. Dobbs SHS (K-6839) I-77;
    * Shot Tower SP (K-1317) I-77 (which might be a two-fer with New River Trail SP, K-1310);
    * Claytor Lake SP (K-1295) I-81 (which can be a two-fer with Claytor Lake State Fishing Lake, K-4985, but I never heard back from the mapping coordinator on the boundaries for that entity);
    * Natural Bridge SP (K-3972), I-81;
    * State Frontier Culture Museum (K-9931) I-81; and
    * Cedar Creek National Historic Park (K-0730) I-81.
    …at which point our route headed into Maryland.
    I knew I couldn’t stop at all of these, but this gave me a list to pick from as we headed north. As it turned out, travel plans only let me get a couple, but it still was handy to have the list on the dash as I drove along.
    Good luck. Keep us posted. Love reading your posts,
    73 Skip K4EAK

  2. I am not familiar with the area, but I can tell you how I approach selecting parks when traveling in an unfamiliar area – when POTA is not the main objective:

    I look at the POTA map and figure out where I am driving. Then I look for state parks (not WNAs, state forests, historic sites and other entity types that may be harder to activate) that are close to my planned route. These parks usually have good parking and bathrooms (which are important when traveling 😉 ). I the go through the list of candidates and research when they are open, how far from the entrance the closest decent activation spot would be and the facilities they provide.

    This usually helps to cine up with a good plan for some relatively fast activations.

    Hope that helps,

    de Karl Heinz – K5KHK

  3. HI
    On our way to Hilton Head we always stop in Statesville NC the home of Ft Dobbs Historical site Park K-6839 is a reconstructed French & Indian War fort. The director is a historian who will give you an unforgetable tour. Also the park has easy access and a sheltered picnic area with tables and bathrooms

    1. To add to Bob’s comment, Fort Dobbs is a 25 minute drive from Lake Norman State Park (K-2740) which has an amazing campground and some beautiful trails. It would be a super easy two-fer.

    1. I second that! Summer of 2023 I drove the whole length. Beautiful, with plenty of opportunities for activating. Half the fun of a Rover POTA trip is in the planning. Have fun, Teri! — Paul, N4FTD

  4. I’m unfamiliar with the east coast POTA sites, but when I see you pop-up on the HamAlert App, I check the band whenever I’m near the radio. One of these days the propagation fairies will cooperate!

    Have fun on your quest, Teri!

    Vic KB7GL

  5. Hi Teri,

    I will second the Blue Ridge Parkway recommendation. We drove it end-to-end long before I got licensed, and I would love to do it again with a radio. The whole Parkway is a POTA entity, with 2-fers, SOTA summits, and other parks close by. The bonus is amazing scenery and a relaxing pace.

    Best 73 de Brian – K3ES

  6. Your adventure sounds fun.

    Don’t forget about national parks & forests, WMAs and etc.

    The pota.app web site can sort sites by grid, so if you know what your route is like, you can pick sites, or you can go the other way and pick your route based on sites.

    There are some three-fers to be found in the Chattahoochee National Forest, especially around the Appalachian Trail.

  7. There is a beautiful, elevated stone viewing platform along the eastern ridge of the Shenandoah Valley, accessible by short hike. It’s at the top of the Hawksbill Trail within the Shenandoah National Park. I seem to recall it’s near the park entrance toward the northern end called Thornton Gap Overlook, a little south of Fort Royal. Access may be by way of US Highway 211 and, perhaps from certain directions, some of US Highway 522.

  8. NC is a long state that sometimes is considered in three regions, western, central, and eastern. Many wonderful parks are in the western part of the state, as noted in earlier comments.

    That said, in central NC, consider the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, especially the Ebenezer Church Access. Beautiful views, ample parking, and well maintained picnic tables and restrooms. If you would be interested, there are a several other pota parks and sites not far away.

    In eastern NC, consider Merchants Millpond State Park. Uncrowded with a nice park headquarters, good facilities.

  9. Hi Teri,
    I spend a lot of time with the POTA Map and Gmaps, comparing locations and looking for good sites to activate. Recently I realized that the NC “Mountain-to-Sea” trail K-8313 runs from the Mountains (right beside the Parkway) all the way to the coast, but when you pull it up on POTA Map the yellow ???? dot is just at the mountain end. But you can activate the trail anywhere along it’s hundreds of miles length, and I found a spot in Carteret County where it crosses two other parks creating a 3-fer. A great deal of the eastern end of the trail is very rough, going through marshes, bogs, crosses rivers with no bridge, travels along stretches of 4 lane paved highway, etc.
    Anyway, it’s worth a few minutes of your time to see if it coincides with any other entity that you may be activating.
    Best of luck as you travel through my home state.
    A few suggestions: the Wright Brothers monument in Kitty Hawk, Fort Macon, the Outer Banks, Hammocks Beach in Swansboro.
    I’m looking forward to reading of your NC POTA trip.
    73 de NG9T
    Gary Faust

  10. Teri,

    At the north end of your journey, let me recommend Chippokes Plantation SP in Surry, VA. This is near Williamsburg on the south side of the James River. Nice camp sites (weekends should have a reservation, but during the week not as critical).

    More importantly very near a bunch of POTA parks. These include Colonial Williamsburg, Colonial National Historic Park that has a bunch of individual activation sites including Yorktown and others (recent POTA listings added several new sites along the Colonial Parkway). Many of these include twofers since they are within 100 feet of the James River which is part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. There are several sites in or near Yorktown that are threefers. Would recommend contacting Scott KE4WMF since he activates or operates from these nearly every day. Even I query him!

    The Chippokes park is right across the James River from Williamsburg and is connected by a 24 hour a day free vehicle ferry operated by the State of VA.

  11. Hard to say without knowing what parts of these twomstates you might be in/travelling through; however, in the Fayetteville, NC area there’s easily 10-12 within an hour’s drive of that city.

    I’d agree with the Shenandoah suggestion in VA, as well – there’s six named parks along the river valley, and to say that area is stunning is an understatement. *And*….HRO has a shoppe on the southern edge of the Beltway.

  12. Hey Teri,

    Sounds like you have a nice trip planned to NC & VA.

    My YL Alanna K4AAC and I live in Raleigh (sorta central NC) and do both POTA & SOTA in NC & Virginia (& overseas.)

    I’ve attached a pdf I made that shows 19 POTA sites within an hour’s drive of Raleigh. Also, attached a map of all the state parks in NC, all 43. And an Xcell spreadsheet that has over 245 POTA sites in NC – there are nice historical sites, as well as wilder places like state and national forests that can be more fun that SPs.

    Around Raleigh, we have Jordan Lake, Falls Lake & Umstead State Parks. I like Jordan Lake, which is the newest and has lots of campsites by the water. While there are state parks in eastern NC, in the summer, they can be pretty buggy & muggy. I would try the National Seashore on the Outer Banks for camping. Depending on your travel, you can take a ferry across the Sound or between islands, which is neat.

    In North central NC near the VA border, my two favorite SPs are New River & Stone Mountain. The New River is the oldest river in north America, and the SP is nice and new. Stone Mountain is a huge granite monadnock (same geology as Stone Mtn Georgia) and easy place to learn rock climbing. Thomas lives in western NC and would know the parks and sites there. Lots along the Blue Ridge Parkway (check out their website). There may be a map of SOTA sites along the BR Parkway, but I can’t find it right now….

    In Virginia, our SOTA group has camped at Middle Creek near Roanoke. It’s private but nice. Nearby is the Virginia section of the Parkway. At beautiful Peaks of Otter SP there is a lodge and campground. Plus, there are 4 or 5 SOTA sites. Sharp Top is beautiful, but a climb. We also stayed at Stony Fork National Forest Campground near Wytheville, VA and near several SOTA sites and POTA sites.

    Feel free to contact me or Alanna if specific questions. Lots more to write, but this should be a good start.

    Hope this is helpful to your planning.

    73 de K4RLC Bob & KI4AAC Alanna

    Raleigh, NC & Windy Hill Beach, SC
    (Attachments sent to your QRZ address)

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