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Cape Hatteras Preserves, Refuges & Conservancies

Jump To: Buxton | Rodanthe

Buxton Preserves, Refuges & Conservancies

Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve
NC Highway 12
Buxton, NC 27920
(252) 261-8891
The largest remaining maritime forest in the Southeast consists of pine- and oak-covered dune ridges and maritime swamp forest. It's a rare ecosystem for a barrier island, and most visitors don't even realize it exists. The N.C. Division of Coastal Management maintains a 968-acre portion of the woods for research, education and recreation and offers some great hiking trails for the public to use to experience this amazing ecosystem. You might see one of 360 species of birds, including bald eagles and peregrine falcons, plus gray fox, white-tailed deer, mink, river otter, box turtles, salamanders or other creatures.

Buxton Woods National Park Service Nature Trail
46375 Lighthouse Road,
Buxton, NC 27920
(252) 995-4474
Part of the National Park and Cape Hatteras National Seashore at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Enjoy a hike in the beautiful woods of Buxton with views of the Lighthouse.

Near the lighthouse is a three-quarter-mile trail through the maritime forest of Buxton Woods. When heading toward the lighthouse, turn right on the road that heads toward the Cape Point Campground. A pine-needle-covered path leads back into the forest. Along the way there are informational signs about the maritime forest ecosystem and the health of Buxton Woods. You'll pass a naturally occurring freshwater pond called Jennette's Sedge. This is a mostly flat, easy walk, though it's not recommended for the disabled due to uneven terrain.

Rodanthe Preserves, Refuges & Conservancies

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
NC Highway 12
Rodanthe, NC 27968
(252) 987-2394
A good place to start a Pea Island visit is the Visitor Center, located on the northern end of Hatteras Island, about 4 miles south of Oregon Inlet. It provides a good introduction to the ecosystem and wildlife of the refuge and the activities that are permitted there. You can obtain trail maps and informational brochures. Restrooms and parking are available. Start a hike around North Pond here. Ask about the canoe tours and guided bird walks that are offered during the summer months. Hours of operation for the Visitor Center are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is 13 miles of pristine barrier island. The beaches are mostly devoid of people, and there are several paths to get to the beach. Great for surfing, surf-fishing, shell-hunting, kayaking, photography and other outdoor activities. Sorry: No driving on the beach.

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