The City Pools are too small but the beach is too far? How about going half-way, and have a little beach and a lot more water at Tucker Lake. Yes, the place you all know from driving to the beach and have always said, “I wonder what that is like?”
After finally checking out Tucker Lake over the long weekend for the first time, I can now “speak authoritatively” about it: While it is probably not the poshest destination in the area, it is definitely not trashy or dirty, but by and large a safe, clean, family-friendly destination. The place is well-kept and operated, and on a comparable level for amenities and cleanliness as an average beach on the coast.
There is a small concessions are for chips, hot dogs, and ice cream, but ideally you bring a picnic or something to grill; there are countless grills and picnic tables scattered throughout a shaded 4 acre area, and there is probably about 1/2 mile of sandy lake shore. The water depth is very gradual and suited for all levels of experience, if you observe your limits. There are several life guards, but the area is quite large; I would compare it again to a ocean beach with lifeguards; they are there, they watch, but you still need to keep a very close watch on your kids, especially around the numerous slides, rope swings, and other play elements. There is also an impressive water slide which we didn’t try this time.
Since last year, Tucker Lake features also a wakeboard park with a large cable system. (You get pulled by a cable like a ski lift, not by a boat. Don’t sneer at it until you try it – it is how I learned to wakeboard back in the day.) This is of course more for older kids and adults, but I think it brings some welcome funds to the place that should lift up the entire operation. At any rate, if you’ve been to Tucker Lake years ago, you should give it another try; it came under new management in 2012, and seems to be doing well.
Location: Roughly at I95&I64, address: 3025 Allens Crossroads Rd Benson NC, 27504
Hours: Daily 9-6 during the summer, weekends in the fall and closed in winter.
What to bring: Coal and stuff to grill, umbrellas, lawn chairs, small coolers, water toy. But no pets, glass or alcohol.