In the fourth installment of a series entitled Ecotourism in America that focuses on the natural beauty and wildlife viewing opportunities available within the U.S., consider an eco-getaway to North Carolina. Whether it’s meandering along the 11 national wildlife refuges that encompass the Charles Kuralt Northern and Southern Trails or appreciating the spectacle of seeing millions of migrating birds making their way to their final destination for the season, North Carolina has something to meet everyone’s taste.
Besides the option of driving a hybrid vehicle through North Carolina, you may want to look into a Carolina Tailwinds bicycle tour through the Outer Banks, Wine Country or the Blue Ridge Mountain parts of the state. Tours include lodging, dining, local sightseeing, wildlife refuge visits, luggage transfer, small group sizes and all the nature you can take in along the way.
Suggested family ecotour itinerary:
- Tyrrell County near the Outer Banks – from red wolves to red-cockaded woodpeckers to bobcats, this area offers an abundance of wildlife viewing along numerous biking and hiking trails. There are organized birding and wolf howling tours as well as the opportunity to paddle through its 390 square miles of splendid habitat.
- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge near the Outer Banks – over 152,000 acres of hiking, birding, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing in this refuge that comprises the endangered and threatened species of the American alligator, peregrine falcon, and the American bald eagle among others. The refuge is also home to one of the largest remaining concentrations of black bear along the mid-Atlantic coast.
- The North Carolina Aquariums (3 in all) offer many education and conservation opportunities including field trips, collecting expeditions, feeding programs, and lectures. Observe sharks, eels, sea turtles, alligators and touch live horseshoe crabs and sea stars in the popular marine-life touch tank.