Croatan National Forest

Paddling into the swamp: boating in Croatan National Forest

Boating in Croatan National Forest is probably the most charming North Carolina adventure. Spreading over 160,000 acres, this vast, forested land is becoming increasingly popular as a family-friendly weekend gateway. Being the East’s only coastal forest, it is, surprisingly, a genuine water kingdom. Dense woodlands are bordered from three sides by three rivers and, from one side, by the calm and chilling waters of Boque Sound. In result, one is certainly overwhelmed here by the abundance of marine and saltwater wildlife. Countless water trails navigate through saltwater estuaries, bogs and pocosins (raised swamps) – and their shallow, dark waters are just perfect for flat-bottomed boats, which means a hell of a lot of adventure for you and your canoe, raft or kayak.

Wildlife adventure in Croatan National Forest

If you are heading to the Croatan National Forest to enjoy wildlife and outdoor adventure in North Carolina, you may call yourself lucky. As you will be cheerfully paddling through peaceful waters of White Oak River, meandering the saltwater marshes or simply boating across lakes, you’ll be surprised by the abundance of marine and forest wildlife. Having said this, do not forget to pack binoculars to your dry bag! Animals that can be seen in Croatan National Forest include majestic deer, funny-looking raccoon and, of course, birds: ospreys, red-tail hawks, Turkey vulture and Fish crows are ones you can easily spot. If you are a keen angler, you’ll find here your private paradise: calm and clear waters of Cedar Point Recreational Area and shallow Catfish Lake offer amazing fishing adventure almost all year round.

Ready for family trip along Saltwater Adventure Trail?

Croatan National Forest offers some of the best family adventures in North Carolina. All you need to do to experience it is pack (in a solid dry bag) some clothes and potable water, jump into shakily looking boat and head towards your jaunt. If you are looking for a place, which offers the most astonishing views on saltwater forests, face to face meetings with local wildlife AND have plenty of time, do not miss the occasion to explore the famous Saltwater Adventure Trail. Measuring 100 miles, this nation’s only saltwater forest trail allows you to explore narrow and shallow creeks and navigate the maze of gloomy and awe-inspiring maze of streams and lakes.

If you are ready to challenge your boating and angling skills, do not wait any longer: the intriguing, fairytale world of saltwater Croatan National Forest awaits you now!

Article by Antonina Małowiecka
Top photo by Ken Lund