Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

Public Opportunities

Visitors enjoying the view from outlook platform

  • Pea Island Visitor Center is open 9-4 daily year-round as volunteer availability allows. Friendly volunteers are on hand to provide refuge, wildlife, or other information, schedule you for a canoe tour, give you a bird list or refuge leaflet, or sell you a book or refuge T-shirt! The Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society (the refuge support group) operates a gift shop in the Visitor Center where you'll find nature and conservation related books, t-shirts, jewelry and other educational items and gift ideas. Be sure to stop by on your visit.

  • Crabbing Rodeo each June!

  • Interpretive Programs/Tours - The Refuge Calendar of Events lists ongoing programs conducted by staff and volunteers. There is a fee charged for guided canoe tours. Otherwise, all public programs are offered free of charge. Requests for special programs should be made by calling 252-475-4180.

  • Environmental Education Programs are offered on request. Special prices are given to educational groups for the guided canoe tours. To schedule a program for a group, call 252-475-4180 or email: Cindy_Heffley@fws.gov.

  • Join us in the fall each year for Wings Over Water.

  • Trails- Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge offers two wildlife trails that are open year round during daylight hours and are fully disabled-accessible. Refuge Map (pdf file)

  • North Pond Wildlife Trail is a half-mile, fully disabled accessible trail which offers spectacular wildlife observation any season. The best birding is during the fall and winter. The trail is located near the Visitor Center which is approximately 3.5 miles south of Oregon Inlet. Most visitors walk this trail to the end - a double-level tower - and then retrace their steps to the Visitor Center and their vehicles. North Pond Wildlife Trail Map (PDF).

  • There is a service road that goes completely around North Pond. Energetic outdoor folks may choose to wander all the way around; however, the bugs are usually bad and most of the wildlife observation opportunities are similar to those from North Pond Trail. The final 1.5 mile section of the "loop" is along NC Highway 12 and can prove to be unpleasant and unsafe for walking.

  • Salt Flats Wildlife Trail is a slightly shorter trail on the north end of North Pond that terminates at a disabled- accessible overlook which provides viewing access to the Salt Flats area, as well as North Pond. Salt Flats Wildlife Trail Map (PDF)

  • Pristine Beach - Pea Island offers almost thirteen miles of beautiful, barrier island beach, undisturbed by vehicles. Many visitors seek the peace and solitude of the refuge beach, choosing to walk the extra distance for the quiet and less-crowded conditions. Shelling, beachcombing, and just strolling along the shoreline are popular activities.

  • Wildlife Observation and Photography - In addition to the wildlife trails, which offer tremendous observation and photography opportunities, there is a photography blind located very near NC Highway 12. Please call the Visitor Center (252-987-2394) for directions to the blind. And there are many less formal opportunities to enjoy these activities. Unless an area is signed as "Closed to Public Entry", you may wander throughout the beach, salt flats and dune areas of the refuge.

  • Fishing - Pea Island offers access to both the Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound for saltwater fishing.

  • Hunting is not allowed on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Last Updated: 3/20/13