NC Coast & Beaches
The North Carolina Coast Features Mild to Wild Adventures
When it comes to outdoor adventure on the North Carolina coast, practically everything but snow sports is fair game.
Starting up near the Virginia state line and heading all the way down to South Carolina, 300 hundred miles of pristine coastline await those in the know and looking for adventures in, on, and above the water. From mild to wild, it’s easy to color outside the lines on North Carolina’s coast.
Up in Currituck County, North Carolina’s coast just may be at its wildest - thanks in no small part to the state horse of North Carolina. Currituck County’s wild horses - Spanish Mustangs - roam the beach and inland along an 11-mile stretch known as Carova Beach. The best way to see the horses is on a wild horse tour, in that tour guides know the habits of the horses during certain times of day. Those who want to look for them on their own can drive their own 4x4 vehicle or rent one - keeping in mind that the horses are protected by the federal government and cannot be approached within 50 feet! Those interested in protecting these wonderfully wild North Carolina animals should visit the website of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.
To the south, Dare County awaits with some somewhat daring adventures and many milder options. Of course, hang gliding off iconic Jockey’s Ridge is a quintessential North Carolina experience for those visiting the Outer Banks. But many visitors may not know that there are varying degrees of difficulty and offerings to make a hang gliding adventure range from mild to wild (check out hang gliding and so much more with Kitty Hawk Kites, among many outfitters). Other possibilities include: wind surfing; kite boarding; parasailing; surfing; stand up paddle boarding; shipwreck scuba diving out in the “Graveyard of the Atlantic;” varied kayaking on the ocean and inland; and so much more. Those looking for even milder pursuits can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, classic fall fishing (with many tournaments), and world-class bird watching (particularly at peaceful Pea Island National Refuge).
North Carolina’s renowned ferry system provides a perfect coastal adventure as well. The Ferry Division operates over seven routes with 21 ferries, transporting more than a million vehicles and 2.5 million-plus passengers across five coastal bodies of water annually.
Wild Horses of Shackleford Banks
Those visiting Wilmington, North Carolina’s Historic River District and the Island Beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach will find an array of adventures as well. The plethora of mild to wild possibilities include: varied kayaking; stand up paddle boarding; surfing (with lessons and more); kite boarding; scuba diving; fall fishing (including many tournaments); bird watching; and fabulous fall nature cruises and other boating adventures with Cape Fear Riverboats and others.
Finally, down in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, there’s kayaking, fishing (with a busy tournament schedule), biplane rides, scuba diving, and bird watching among many options. The charming town of Southport is home to The Adventure Kayak Company, a long-time outfitter that offers an array of paddling trips for all experience levels. It’s a great way to explore the many unique waterways in Brunswick County.
By Lynn & Cele Seldon
By Lynn & Cele Seldon
added: October 7, 2011
updated: October 21, 2011