A beautiful eyesore of a place worth visiting (bring a trash bag)
I am happy to visit any place with the word “beach” attached to it. But don’t get too excited about “Worthville Beach” popping up on your “places to visit near me.” Of course, it isn’t a beach at all, but rather a semi-natural area along Deep River in Randleman, NC. If you are visiting the area and want to hop over to explore, here’s a bit of what you’ll see.
Navigation & Parking at Worthville Beach
I had no issues with Maps navigating me right to the area. I was pleasantly pleased with that as I travel alone and prefer to not get lost. First off, the parking is pretty much non-existent. Since Worthville Beach is really a parcel of property along the river and nestled underneath the bridge, there’s no parking lot or pull-over area aside from this:
This is where I had to pull over and park, while cars were speeding by. I was a bit uncomfortable locking my purse in the trunk and taking a look around. It’s really nice to be out in a beautiful natural area, but not nearly as pleasant when you’re standing on the side of a semi-secluded road. The narrow dirt road leading down into the Worthville “beach” area was far too treacherous for my car to navigate, so I opted for road-side parking and a brief walk.
Worthville Beach Is Free to Visit
There are no attendants or parking fees. Simply park and walk or navigate the very “natural” road down to the waterside. Be prepared to park roadside unless you have a Jeep or other all-terrain vehicle. I was there after several days of rain and there was a “sandy-mud” texture to the road, which made me think even a Jeep might get stuck down in there. Drive down at your own adventurous risk.
Once you get down to the “beach” area, it’s fairly nice. Having had several days of rain prior to my visit, the water of Deep River was fairly high and rushing. The sandy soils were soft and really do have a beachy feel. If you close your eyes and just listen to the waters flowing by, you almost imagine the sounds of the ocean as the river waters lap the shore.
More Clean Up Efforts Are Needed
Worthville Dam area is prone to litter and property damage as a somewhat secluded “party spot.” Once a year the Big Sweep volunteers, coordinated by Bob Langston, an educator and environmentalist with the N.C. Zoo, come in and clean up the area, usually in the fall of the year. When I visited in February of 2021, clearly the property had not been cleaned up in some time. There was litter, bags of trash that were ravaged by wildlife and strewn about. Areas where people had built small campfires and settled in for a night of drinking or sleeping. There were sleeping bags and piles of clothes, bottles, and garbage left behind.
Historical Value but Desecrated
There’s a bit of a climb up the hill to get to the upper area of Worthville Beach where remnants of an old mill building stand, covered in graffiti and spray-painted tags. More litter and evidence of people hanging out for some quiet time to indulge in drinking or perhaps to find a place out of the weather for local homeless or transient populations. It was a bit unnerving to explore this area alone.
While the beach area is more of a fishing and swimming area than anything else, I recommend careful watch over children as the litter could contain broken bottles or other potentially dangerous items. With some clean up, it could be a nice place to bring the family for some outdoor fun and recreation.
Randleman Plans to Improve Worthville Beach
Randleman has a history of millwork and manufacturing, which are evident in the vacant buildings that permeate the area. The 157 acre Worthville dam property area was purchased through a large grant of $400,000 grant from the Duke Community Foundation and Clean Water Management Trust Fund back in 2017 with plans to tie it into the Deep River Rail Trail project, which follows abandoned railways and waterways along Deep River through northern Randolph County through Randleman to Ramseur.
Hopefully as local cleanups and Randleman efforts to restore the property, this swimming hole will be a more family-friendly place to visit. Until then, plan to drop by and check the place out and while you’re at it, bring a trash bag and do your part to make North Carolina a bit more beautiful.
North Carolina has lots of quaint, outdoor areas like this to travel to, but all is jeopardized by a few who use the areas for recreational partying and who demean the properties with destructive and disrespectful behaviors. We can enjoy wildlife and visit places like this that hold historical value to our area, but more efforts need to be made to clean up after those who do not respect the grounds they walk. It’s unfortunate to see beautiful places like this being literally “trashed.” Especially during a time when we all need to spend a little more time outdoors. A good local swimming hole is such a perfect way to spend the afternoon with family and friends. Gentle reminder: enjoy but respect these local treasures.
Have you ever been to Worthville Beach? What were your experiences there? Share your stories in the comments.