National Wildlife Refuge System

Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival Nov 6-11

Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival explores the wild side of eastern North Carolina, including Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges. The six-day event is set for Nov. 6-11 with programs designed for history enthusiasts, nature lovers, birders, paddlers, astronomers and photographers, both novice and skilled.

The region offers some of the country's best paddling for canoe and kayak enthusiasts. From tannin-fed cypress swamps to endless marsh mazes, it is possible to paddle the region for a lifetime yet still study charts at night, discovering unexplored areas.

Registration currently is open for an assortment of escorted trips. Physical demands for water trips range from open water with wind exposure, to short distances with excellent wind protection.

  • The Kitty Hawk Bay Sunset Kayak Tour allows participants to enjoy a classic Carolina sunset over the bay while navigating through tall cord grass fields and listening for the mysterious sounds of the night marsh.


  • The Backcountry Expedition combines an "off-road" four-wheel-drive eco-tour that explores 30 miles of beach while naturalists discuss the local ecology, history and shore life. Participants will likely see some of the wild horses in the Spanish Mustang Reserve.
  • Alligator River Night Canoe Tour explores the narrow, winding creek through the heart of Alligator River Refuge. Explore the world of the American Alligator while paddling out from Buffalo City into Milltail Creek. Bring a flashlight!


This year's keynote dinner will be at the Aquarium on Roanoke Island. Catered by Kelly's Restaurant, the keynote address will be presented by author and photographer John Sill. The cost of the keynote dinner is $35 and registration is required. Dinner includes beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages.  And the night before, eat a down-home-barbeque-style dinner at the new National Wildlife Refuges Gateway Visitor Center.

This festival is traditionally set during the shoulder season when rates are lower for accommodations, traffic is light and the weather is mild.

Learn more online or by calling 252-216-9464.  Wings Over Wildlife is sponsored by the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society, Outer Banks Sentinel, Carolina Bird Club and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Photo Caption:
The Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival features opportunities to kayak at Alligator River Refuge, SC.
Credit: Steve Hillebrand

Last updated: November 2, 2012