Content produced in partnership with Visit Halifax.
It’s a warm day — the sun is shining down on you, a slight breeze touches your skin, the sound of water hits your ears. You’re in full fun and relaxation mode. If this is your place of zen, then Halifax County, North Carolina, is for you. Located within an hour and a half drive of both Raleigh, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia, Halifax County lies in the Roanoke River Basin, which provides numerous water activities for you to enjoy. Whether you’re passionate about fishing, water sports, or just enjoying a relaxing day lounging by a lake or river, Halifax is your next destination.
Wake Surf the Lake
You have a few water options when you’re in Halifax County, including Lake Gaston, which is 34 miles long, has approximately 350 miles of shoreline and covers around 25,000 acres. The lake is also a mile and a half wide at the lower end in Halifax County, so there’s plenty of space to have fun whether it be swimming, jet skiing or any other numerous activities. If you’ve never been wake surfing, you have to try it. Hit Lake Gaston with Jay Baker who runs guided wake surfing trips out of his home on the shores of the lake. Jay has trained two world champions and is a great coach. No matter your skill level, coordination or balance, Jay will have you upright and feeling like a pro a lot quicker than you’d imagine. He’s also an absolute blast to be out on the water with for a few hours. Try a 2-hour lesson or a half-day trip to get the full experience of wake surfing. Be careful though, you may come back to the shore fully addicted to this amazing, fun sport.
Lake Gaston is also home to several species of fish including bass, crappie, sunfish and several species of catfish. The lake is large enough to find a quiet spot to cast and catch for a few hours or an entire day, away from all the water activities happening, too.
Fish the River
Speaking of fishing, Halifax County is known as the “Rockfish Capital of the World.” Rockfish are also known as Atlantic striped bass, stripe, stripers and linesiders, depending on where you are in the U.S. The Roanoke River is full of rockfish and is a must for any fisherman who loves a good fight with a large bottom-dweller. We recommend heading to Weldon, in northern Halifax County, and trying your luck there. The river runs alongside downtown Weldon, and there’s a boat launch not far from the shops and restaurants. Launching from Weldon, you’re in for a fun day of jig fishing, and you’re guaranteed to catch a boatload. Call up Charlie Robinson at (252) 532-7634 for a guided tour of the river, a thorough history lesson about Halifax County and some great tips on catching the trophy fish of your dreams.
Grab a Bite
A day out on the water is absolutely going to work up an appetite, and there are some great dining options waiting for you when you get back to shore. In downtown Halifax, on the shores of the Roanoke River, there’s The Hen & the Hog. It offers a rotating menu and uses fresh, local ingredients. One dish that never leaves the rotation is the shrimp and grits, which are a must when you stop by. The Hen & the Hog also have a full bar with classic cocktails and one-of-a-kind concoctions. It’s a beautiful space with cozy seating areas and plenty of space for you and all your friends to gather around a great meal and a few drinks.
There’s also David’s Restaurant, which is the spot for authentic Italian fare in downtown Roanoke Rapids. They have a wide selection of seafood, steak, pasta and some delicious desserts. After a day in the hot, bright sun, the cool, calming low light of David’s Restaurant offers the perfect atmosphere to wind down and have a delicious meal and a nightcap.
Local Watering Holes
You’re also going to want to relax with a cold beverage after working up a sweat wake surfing, water skiing or fishing, and we have the perfect place. Weldon Mills Distillery is feet from the boat launch in Weldon. Owners Bruce Tyler and Michael Hinderliter have restored the old mill into a gorgeous hardwood covered space that serves classic whiskey cocktails and a wide selection of beers and other booze. There is also a serene outdoor patio area where you can hear the Roanoke River flowing while you sip your beverage. Weldon Mills is in the process of distilling their first batch of whiskey, but in the meantime, enjoy the wide selection of fine spirits. You’ll be itching to go back as soon as you leave.