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natural areas/wildlife

Wisconsin
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natural areas/wildlife

Hi folks,

We will be staying in Southern Shore in August, and I really like seeing wildlife--not just big wildlife but little critters too, like crabs, frogs, and other cool stuff. I see that there are several wildlife refuges and other areas (Pea Island, Alligator River, Kitty Hawk Woods and Currituck Banks). Are they worth visiting? Will they be unbearably buggy in August? Are there other places worth visiting? Are there marshy areas in the sound that would be interesting?

Thanks!!

Elizabeth

Brookneal, Virginia
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1,435 posts
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1. Re: natural areas/wildlife

Everything is somewhat buggy in the summertime near the water,

depending on which way the wind is blowing.

Since wind direction changes frequently,

be safe and plan to take plenty of DEET spray with you,

not just for marshy areas but for the beach as well.

Kitty Hawk, North...
Destination Expert
for Outer Banks
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2. Re: natural areas/wildlife

Kitty Hawk Woods (aka Gunguite Creek) is only accessible by kayak. I take mine in there often and most of the time I see nothing. Sometimes I have seen nutria and some birds, but often nothing at all.

Alligator refuge can be interesting, it can be pretty buggy too so take the deet with you. When you head towards Sawyer Lake / Mill Tail Creek at the end of the road is a parking area and kayak launch. There is an observation area with a bench. Nice place for a lunch or watching the evening sunset. I have been there a dozen times and 3-4 times I have seen alligators from the observation area. Once we saw black bears on the drive in so keep your eyes open, they run from you when you get close. Next to the observation area is a long wooden walkway down a nature path. You might like that - frogs, turtles, bugs etc.

Another area is down rt 12 towards Rodanthe. There is a building and parking lot on the west side of rt 12 before Rodanthe with a couple large bodies of water. You can park and walk back a trail to an observation platform and lots of birds and things to see. Take the binoculars.

Edited: 12 July 2012, 15:10
Durham, North...
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289 posts
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3. Re: natural areas/wildlife

There is a place (I think the same one as descrribed in #2 above) on the right in the Pea Island area with a parking lot and building (unfortunately I just go there and know where to stop). It is not marked in any way I can recall, but if you can find it, the ponds there are filled with a huge number of very large turtles.

Hagerstown, Maryland
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4. Re: natural areas/wildlife

Pea Island is a good place to check out, esp. if you're a birder, and is easy to get to. Never been in summer, though. JT is right about the insects when the wind blows a certain way--beware biting flies, even at the beach.

US
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1,302 posts
68 reviews
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5. Re: natural areas/wildlife

Elizabeth, I love nature also. In August in the Outer Banks, I would plan to be at any marsh destination as early in the day as possible. Coming from Wisconsin, I think you may find the heat and humidity somewhat oppressive later in the day. Bring DEET spray, plenty of water and a hat.

Wisconsin
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6. Re: natural areas/wildlife

Thanks! I appreciate the advice!

Elizabeth

Austin, TX
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65 posts
11 reviews
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7. Re: natural areas/wildlife

We went kayakIng at Alligator River yesterday with Kitty Hawk Kites. Nice, peaceful paddle but we didn't see any alligators. We took 10 am tour and it was already hot. The guide said the gators tend to stay under water when it's hot. Butterflies were pretty, though. We also saw two black bears scamper across the road while we were on the wildlife drive. Later that day we went to the red wolf howling. You don't see the wolves but you caravan out to a spot near where the captive wolves are held and the researchers howl until the wolves start howling. It was very short and maybe somewhat anti-climactic, but the wolves sounded like something out of a Hammer horror film. And it was interesting to hear about the breeding and restoration program. I thought it was worthwhile but don't expect much.

US
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8. Re: natural areas/wildlife

I was wondering how that went, AustinTravelMama! It's great you saw some bears but I know you must have been disappointed not to have seen any alligators.

Wisconsin
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9. Re: natural areas/wildlife

Good information about the wolf howl. I was tempted to try it, but with young kids that don't do well when they're up late, I didn't think it would be wise. It's good to know that it's not a big deal.

Chesapeake, Virginia
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10. Re: natural areas/wildlife

Depending on where you are in Southern Shores there are some huge turtles in the ponds that are getting a little harder to see with all the algae. But we just got back from the one nearest our home (pond is behind 63 Ocean Boulevard). We took the grandkids with leftover crackers, bread and pancakes and entertained them for quite a while. We have also seen deer there early in the morning. Easy to spot crabs on the boardwalk in Duck that goes out over the Sound. Just hang out with someone who is crabbing, or do it yourself with a chicken wing and string!

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