While visiting the Outer Banks, venture to the Cape Hatteras National
Seashore to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, a paradise for both birds and
birders. Drop the Visitor Center to
view displays on local wildlife. Then,
try out one of the scopes trained on North Pond to view various species of
birds found there seasonally. There are
two short, universally accessible wildlife trails on Pea Island. The North Pond Wildlife Trail is half a mile
long and terminates at a two level tower which offers spectacular views of the
surrounding ponds. The best birding is
during the fall and winter. This trail
is located near the Visitor Center.
There is also a service road that completely encircles North Pond, and
visitors may choose to walk the whole route, though insect activity and traffic
along the portion on Highway 12 make this less enjoyable for some. The Salt Flats Wildlife Trail is slightly
shorter and located on the north end of North Pond, terminating at a disabled-
accessible overlook providing views of the Salt Flats area and North Pond. During the summer, join refuge staff for
programs on topics ranging from sea turtles to life in the sound to bird
adaptations. The refuge also offers
guided canoe tours around the sound during the summer months.
Know Before You Go
When visiting Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, it is
always a good idea to bring drinking water, sunscreen, bug repellent, a light
jacket, and a hat and sunglasses.
Depending on the season, the bugs can be bad along the wildlife
trails. Many visitors also bring their
own scopes or binoculars and an identification guide for better wildlife
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge provides numerous recreation opportunities to hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. People enjoy viewing the unique geology and diverse wildlife; the refuge is especially noted for birding opportunities. Regulation of recreation activities allow for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats.
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Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is a tiny piece of barrier island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina... small in size, but huge in popularity among both wildlife and people!