The Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge is a Mecca for coastal fishermen, hunters, birdwatchers, and everyday explorers, thanks to miles of undeveloped terrain in a uniquely coastal location. Found just northeast of Beaufort along NC Highway 12, and surrounded by the miles-wide Pamlico Sound waters, this protected refuge serves as a haven for local wildlife, and local or visiting explorers alike.
The refuge can be enjoyed, albeit momentarily, by visitors who are cruising north to reach the Cedar Island Ferry, and the endless expanse of marshes and maritime forests are a refreshing sight during any coastal road trip. Comprising of roughly 11,000 acres of brackish marshlands and 3,494 acres of pocosin and woodland habitats, the ensuring region is the home for hundreds of different species of birds, fish, reptiles, and plant life, with towering loblolly, longleaf, and pond pines serving as an intimidating backdrop. Visitors who delve deeper into the reserve, however, will find a number of rugged nature trails, boat ramps, and other scenic spots or platforms where the extensive wildlife can be easily admired up-close. Established in 1964, and renowned as a postcard-perfect corner of the Southern Outer Banks, the Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge showcases the Southern Outer Banks at its inherently wild best.