Mackay Island is located in the community of Knotts Island, NC (pop. 2,500), a safe and quiet community with a gas station/grocery store and post office. Virginia Beach and Chesapeake are about a 30-45 minute drive away. These are large cities with movie theaters, fast food restaurants, nicer restaurants, a nice recreation center about 35 minutes from the refuge in Virginia and a public beach.
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Birders flock to Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge in search of the secretive King Rail. This bird is elusive and prefers very specific wetlands habitat.