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North Carolina Nature and Wildlife Journey to Hatteras Island

HomeAbout AreaJourneys to Hatteras IslandNorth Carolina Nature and Wildlife Journey to Hatteras Island

Hatteras Island is a great place for travelers to enjoy whether they’re looking for a relaxing getaway or a trip focused on high-energy outdoor fun! If you happen to be interested in a vacation with a focus on nature and wildlife, Hatteras Island can provide that as well. The following three-day itinerary is an ideal place to start when you’re ready to get out and connect with North Carolina nature at its very best.

Day 1

Once you’ve fueled up for the fun ahead on day one of your nature and wildlife journey to Hatteras Island with a delicious breakfast in your vacation rental, it will be time to head out for a day of exploring the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Located on Highway 12 with access points near Rodanthe, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is an incredibly inspiring place to spend time indulging in nature at its very best. The visitor center is situated on the north end of Hatteras Island a mere 4 miles south of Oregon Inlet. This is a good place to get your bearings and plan out your day according to the wildlife, trails, and ecosystems you’re hoping to encounter. Many visitors choose to begin their trek through the refuge at the North Pond Wildlife Trail that is easily accessible from the visitor center. Once you venture out, you’ll discover the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge sprawls across 13 miles of barrier island terrain. The beautiful beaches are popular for surf fishing, shelling, paddling, and nature photography as well. Don’t miss the opportunity to trek the Salt Flats Wildlife Trailhead when you drop by. This route is accessible north of the visitor center by about a mile and is a great place for birding.

Another great nature and wildlife-focused activity to build into your first day is to arrange a kayak tour through the team at Kitty Hawk Kites. This company serves Nags Head as well as Hatteras Island and is happy to offer guided tours around Pea Island upon request. Guides are well-suited to point out North Carolina wildlife, discuss local ecology, and infuse Outer Banks history into the tour as well. Advance reservations for tours of this type are highly recommended as they tend to fill up fast!

Day 2

The second day of your nature and wildlife journey in this direction takes you to the Hatteras Island Ocean Center. Located at 57204 North Carolina Highway 12 in Hatteras Village, the Hatteras Island Ocean Center offers guests access to indoor and outdoor exhibit spaces where they can participate in interactive activities and browse displays showcasing ocean facts, figures, and fascinating insights. There are nature programs on-site throughout the summer including kayak tours to sign up for. The main exhibit room is typically open from noon until 5:00 pm Monday through Friday from April through August.

Once you’ve had a chance to explore the Hatteras Island Ocean Center, be sure to enjoy a Seabirding Pelagic Trip on the afternoon of day two. Headquartered at 58848 Marina Way in Hatteras, a Seabirding Pelagic Trip is a chance to travel alongside experts and explore some of the area’s most thrilling sea birds right in their natural habitats! Led by Captain Brian Patteson, these tours have been thrilling outdoor adventurers since 1986. You’ll have a chance to step onboard a 61-foot vessel known as the Stormy Petrel II and sail alongside two to five onboard staff who are experts in offshore birding.

Day 3

The last day of your North Carolina nature and wildlife journey to Hatteras Island will have you focusing your time at the Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve. Found off North Carolina Highway 12 in Buxton, this reserve has earned the title as one of the largest remaining maritime forests in the entire southeast. The Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve is home to oak and pine covered dune ridges that are also dotted with unique wetlands known as sedges. The ecosystem itself is extremely rare and covers more than 1,000 acres of terrain now dedicated to conservation, education, research, and recreation as well. It’s a prime place to enjoy hiking and there are a variety of raptors to spot along the way including bald eagles, and peregrine falcons. The reserve is also a home to deer, river otters, box turtles, snakes, and gray foxes as well. If you happen to be heading this way in the fall, the hiking trails are particularly scenic.

This evening, enjoy a sunset paddleboard experience on Pamlico Sound. Once you rent a board and hit the waves, you’ll enjoy spectacularly colorful surroundings as well as opportunities to see egrets and pelicans having their evening dinners on the nearby surf and sand. You might even catch a glimpse of a leatherback turtle out for a swim in the surrounding waters too!

Book Your Getaway in Style Today

Enjoy your Hatteras Island getaway in luxury and style when you book your accommodations through Midgett Realty. Reach out today to learn more about our incredible options!