People come to the Outer Banks to enjoy our beautiful beach and the ocean but we have a wealth of other areas and for you to enjoy during the season and off season. This is part one of a series of Hidden Treasures on The Outer Banks that we want to introduce you to. You will find that a week on the Outer Banks is not enough time. When you return for a long weekend or off- season week, you will find deep discounts on rentals and specials at various restaurant’s you wanted to try during the season but were too busy for you to get in.
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1938 to provide nesting, resting, and wintering habitat for migratory birds, including the greater snow geese and other migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, and neotropical migrants; to provide habitat and protection for endangered and threatened species, such as Loggerhead sea turtles; and to provide opportunities for public enjoyment of wildlife and wildlands resources.
The refuge is 13 miles north to south and covers 5,834 acres of land and 25,700 acres of Proclamation Boundary waters.
The refuge is located on the north end of Hatteras Island, a coastal barrier island and part of a chain of islands known as the Outer Banks. The bird list for Pea Island Refuge boasts more than 365 species; the wildlife list has 25 species of mammals, 24 species of reptiles, and 5 species (low number due to salt environment) of amphibians.
The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge has a number of seasonal educational programs and events that are designed to give visitors an in-depth exploration of their wild surroundings. A number of these programs are free, or nearly free, and are simply a come-as-you -are affair, with no advanced reservations required.
Seasonal programs include a guided Pea Island Beach Walk, a guided bird walk along the refuge, weekly “turtle talks” which outline the common and endangered species of turtles that are found in the refuge, and special educational sessions that are designed just for kids. The programs generally last an hour or two and are a perfect morning or afternoon excursion for Hatteras Island visitors with a love of the wild environment.
In addition to daily or seasonal programs, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge also hosts two major events that attract attendees from all over the islands, and the state.
The annual Crabbing Rodeo is held on the second Saturday in June from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and allows kids of all ages to try hand-lining as many crabs as they can in a friendly, competitive environment.
The annual Wings Over Water festival is the biggest event the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge has to offer, and entices birders from all over the country and the world to take a trip to Hatteras Island to enjoy a full week of fun activities within the refuge. Well over 100 varying field trips take place during Wings Over Water, with professional and volunteer guides leading attendees on a number of specific tours throughout the region. Attendees can take a kayak expedition through the sound side waters of the refuge, learn nature photography tips from experts, or enjoy a guided stroll through some of the lesser-discovered refuge areas.
When you visit off season, that is also a great time to look for that investment or 2nd home. We can easily get in and out of the homes as most are not rented. Give us a call while you are here and let us share other hidden areas of:
The Outer Banks!