I stumbled upon Turnpike Creek Beach while hiking a patchwork loop through the Shining Rock Wilderness. I camped near the Ivestor Gap/Art Loeb Trail intersection. After breaking camp the next morning, I took the Fork Mountain Trail north to this point. I had to ford this creek to reach the intersection of the Fork Ridge Trail (these are NOT beginner trails) on the other side of Highway 215. Then I took that trail south to the Mountains to Sea Trail to Little Sam Knob and finally back to Black Balsam Knob where my car was parked. But you don’t need to do any hiking to reach this attraction.
Most of the waterfalls and swimming holes in this area feature boulders and slick, rocky river/creek beds. What makes this site unique is the natural beach of sand and tiny pebbles. The water is not particularly deep, but it would make a great picnic area for adults, kids, and pets who want to enjoy the water.
There are so many attractions on this stretch of Highway 215 that I probably never would have found this place had I not encountered it on foot. Most people visit spots closer to the Blue Ridge Parkway, including Bubbling Spring Branch Falls, Wildcat Falls, and Bubbling Spring Branch Cascades.
This attraction is several miles north of those spots, so expect to encounter fewer people as you get farther from the Parkway. I should add that those attractions all require some kind of walk to the spectacle. This one is literally just steps from the large gravel pull-off where you’ll park.
Navigate there via the map below. There’s limited cell reception in the area, so get your navigation app up and running while you still have a strong signal. The pull-off is on the western side of the road and there is room for several cars. You can’t miss the pathways down to the beach.
Bring a picnic basket and get some sun. If you’re just going to play around on the beach, you can go barefoot. If you or others in your party want to explore the deeper water upstream, then bring some water shoes as well.
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