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Lake Phelps, Creswell

4.1
#140 of 161 in Nature in North Carolina
Lake Phelps is North Carolina's second largest natural lake. It has a surface area of 16600acre, and it is located primarily in Washington County on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula between the Albemarle Sound and the Pamlico Sound. The easternmost part of the lake extends into Tyrrell County. An Indian dugout canoe was found in the lake dating back nearly 4,400 years. Other artifiacts have been found around the area dating as early as 8,000 B.C.
Its origin has long puzzled scientists. Some say that its origin is underground springs, wave action, wind, a meteor, glacial activity or a peat burn. It is more or less a round shape.
Lake Phelps is named for Josiah Phelps, the first white man to enter its waters. Phelps and another colonial explorer, Benjamin Tarkington, were searching through what was then known as the Great Eastern Dismal or Great Alligator Dismal in 1755. Phelps and Tarkington were part of a group of hunters who entered the swamps in search of game and farmland. The group had become discouraged and were about to leave when Tarkington scaled one of the many trees and spotted the lake a short distance away. Phelps went ahead and ran into the water. As the first in the water he was given the honor of naming the lake.
The lake was established as a North Carolina State Lake in 1929, and it is managed by the adjacent Pettigrew State Park.
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Lake Phelps Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
16 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This is a hidden NC gem! Clean water. Lots of fish. Great for kayaking. The lake is shallow and good for swimming. Use the boat ramp and swimming areas at Pettigrew Park. Be sure to walk the...  more »
  • We spent 4 days and 3 nights camping/fishing in pettigrew state park.The weather was terrible for fishing.15 to 20 moh winds causing 2 to 3 foot wakes across the lake.Yet we still caught 20 Bass and.....  more »

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