Saturday, March 21, 2009
Relax in Murphy, North Carolina - Fishing, Boating, Hiking
Harbor Cove Marina in Bear Paw, NC - near Murphy, NC
My Youngest Son Learns to Drive at Boat on the Lake in Murphy, North Carolina
Murphy is a small town in the very tip of North Carolina, but it is central to the big North Carolina and Tennessee tourist areas. We were a couple of hours from Asheville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville. Murphy is also close to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Maggie Valley, and Cherokee (about a hour to any of those areas). If you head back down the mountain, you can also white water raft on the Nantahala or closer – cross the state line into Tennessee and test yourself on the Ocoee.
Right in Murphy off Highway 294, you’ll find a recreation area. Just look for the brown sign about 5 miles or so after you turn off 64. The area is on the lake with a fishing pier and lots of ducks. They have picnic tables and grills under a shelter. You can walk around the edge of the lake to the dam and fish off the dam or along the edge of the lake. We had the best luck fishing in brushy areas before the dam.
Howard’s Bait Shop is on the right before you get to the Park turn in off 294. You can get your fishing license and also live bait there at the shop. They also had frog legs when we were up there. Those were for eating and not for bait. We picked up a box of frog legs on the way home and really enjoyed having some fried frog legs back at home.
If you want to rent a boat to ride on the lake, then go to the end of 294. You have to turn right or left. Go right and then a few miles down you will see a marina sign. Follow the dirt road down to the edge of the lake. You can rent a canoe, fishing boat, or a pontoon. We got the pontoon which was wonderful for fishing and also for climbing in and out of the lake to swim. There is a little island a few miles toward the damn with a picnic table.
This Marina is Harbor Cove Marina. The phone number is 828-644-9310. You may need to call to check the lake water levels as it’s been dry the last few years in North Carolina. They also have a limited number of boats to send out, so a reservation is a good plan too – although we just dropped by and got a boat rental set up. The people renting the boats are very friendly. The people docking there are as well. I climbed up in the boat with some guys to try to rent, and they were just regular guys on their own boat. They just laughed and said we could come along, but I had them point us to where we were supposed to go to rent the pontoon.
There’s a second boat rental company right next to the Hiwassee Dam. The marina is inside the gated community of homes and condos there. You may want to ask someone there at the dam exactly where to turn. Once you get inside the gate, the signs are easy to follow, but we missed the turn in on the first run through. They had more boats for rent. They also have snacks and drinks. It’s more formal than Harbor Cove.
We often stay in Murphy or Bear Paw, North Carolina, because the area is very pretty, peaceful, and we’re still close to all the places the boys like to check out on vacation. We generally rent a cabin for a week and then white water raft one day, boat on the lake another, and then hit one of the big tourist towns one day. Some days or in the evenings, we just grill out and play Scrabble or watch TV. So, we come home actually feeling like we’ve had a vacation rather than like we need one.