Between the villages of Duck and Corolla is the pristine marsh of the Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary. Miles of secluded water trails make this arguably the most intricate marsh maze on the Outer Banks (8 square miles). The National Audubon Society has preserved a piece of the Outer Banks as it was before man arrived. In their goal to save wildlife habitat they have also created a kayaker’s dream. One of the unique features of this tour is the solitude you will experience. Coastal Kayak has partnered with the National Audubon Society to offer this exclusive tour of one of the Outer Banks least traveled and most sought after wildlife sanctuaries. The tour starts with a 10 minute walk down the Audubon trail to the location of our kayaks. From here your guide will lead you into the maze of islands through which only he or she knows the way.
Tours are permitted from April through September and depart from the Pine Island Audubon Center in the mornings and a few hours before sunset. We are offering a 2 1/2 hour kayak tour which cost $60 per adult and $35 per child and a 2 hour stand up paddle board tour which cost $75 per person.
Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve is one of few remaining maritime forests in the world. Over 1800 acres are protected providing a vital habitat for various migratory birds, mammals and reptiles. This tour meanders up Ginguite creek which is lined with loblolly pine and twisted live oak draped in Spanish moss. This sheltered creek remains very calm on even the windiest of days making it ideal for the first time kayaker or someone looking for a very relaxed nature filled tour. The northern route takes you into the heart of the maritime forest all the way to a covered bridge (the bridge to nowhere). This bridge was actually built by a developer who was poised to develop this desirable land. The Nature Conservancy purchased this property after the developer went into bankruptcy. Thanks to the acquisition, bald eagle and osprey, two formerly endangered species, have begun to nest here again. In season (March – August), osprey sightings are a daily occurrence. Eagle sighting are less common, but have been on the rise since we started our tours here in 1999. Tours of Kitty Hawk’s Maritime Forest and Marsh run from March through December. Duration of tour is about 2.5 hours. This tour meets at the Dare County boat ramp on Bob Perry Rd. in the morning and a few hours before sunset at a cost of $40 per adult and $35 per child.
Through our partnership with The Dock of the Bay Marina, we have gained access to the Kitty Hawk Bay and the Albemarle Sound. This tour departs from a sheltered creek which meanders out to the Kitty Hawk Bay. From here you will enter the majestic marsh trails which empty into the Albemarle Sound. You will enjoy a brief open water paddle before your return loop through the tranquil marsh trails. The Kitty Hawk Bay & Marsh Tour is ideal habitat for river otter, osprey and bald eagle. This tour is offered as a kayak or stand up paddle board (SUP) tour. This tour is $50 per adult, $35 per child, $65 for stand up paddle board (SUP), and lasts about 2 hours.
SHORTER TOUR OPTION
By popular demand, we are now offering a shorter kayak tour option of our Kitty Hawk Bay & Marsh tour. This tour is ideal for bringing along small children or adults who want less time on the water. Enjoy the calm sheltered marsh trails in half the time (1 hour). This tour is $30 per adult, $30 per child, and $40 for stand up paddle board (SUP).
The Algonquin Indians identified this habitat as a “pocosin”, meaning “swamp on a hill”. Bald cypress loom overhead, feeding the narrow creeks with tannins giving the water a mysterious black coloration. The winding creeks lead to mirror-image lakes where alligators can be seen as they sun on the floating grass fields (slough grass) or a protruding cypress stump. This refuge is home to the world’s only wild population of red wolves, which we sometimes hear on our wolf howlings. Last year we also had sightings of river otter, bobcat, black bear, American bittern, barred owl, and colonies of egret and ibis. This refuge is a must see. Just 20 minutes from Nags Head, down old Buffalo City Road we set out on these black waters to learn of a time when loggers and moonshiners called this place home. There is little evidence of Buffalo City or the moonshine known as East Lake Dew today, but you will get a glimpse of what it must have been like in the logging and prohibition days. We conduct this tour from March through December. This tour is $55 per adult and $35 per child and lasts about 2.5 hours. This tour meets in the mornings and four hours before sunset at mile post 9 on the west side of Rte. 158 in the western parking lot of Walgreens Pharmacy.
From here you may ride in our van for $10 per person on all morning tours (except Thursdays). For all afternoon tours, there is a van option for $10 per person which includes a bear tour by van after the conclusion of the kayak tour.
Our permit to tour the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge has been expanded to include a less traveled part of the refuge. Unlike the swamp trails of our original Alligator River tour, this tour explores the brackish (fresh and saltwater mix) marsh creeks named after Peter Mashoes. This tour navigates some of the most interesting and complex marsh trails on the Outer Banks. Your guide will lead the way through the winding creeks to a deserted beach which we will explore on foot. Depending on the prevailing winds of the day we will either continue our paddle in the protection of the marsh or venture out into the open waters of the Albemarle Sound. This tour is a little hard to get to and has limited parking, so we recommend you drive in our van. This tour runs from March through November at a cost of $60 per adult and $35 per child. Duration of tour is 2.5 hours. This tour meets in the western parking lot of the Walgreens Pharmacy at mile post 9 on the west side of Rte. 158.
(van ride to this tour is an additional $10 per person)
Located on the northern section of Hatteras Island, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge consists of 5,834 acres of land and 25,700 acres of water. Kayaking is the best way to explore this “birders paradise”. The official list of birds sighted on this refuge is 365 species long. The tour starts at a location named New Inlet which closed in the 1930’s. With every passing storm and hurricane the inlet threatens to reopen. We kayak under the old wooden bridge which was built to allow car traffic to cross the inlet. Ironically, the inlet closed before its completion. Today, the remains of this structure provide a reminder of the volatility of this island and a resting spot for brown pelican, osprey, cormorants and royal tern. As we navigate in and around the many marsh islands which make up this refuge we will talk about the migrating nature of the Outer Banks and how it was formed some 12,000 years ago. This tour has the clearest waters of any of our tours, which allows us to view a wide variety of aquatic life beneath our kayaks including stingray, oysters and hermit crabs. Along our tour route it is also possible to land our kayaks on a sandy beach where we can explore the shallow waters on foot or take a swim. You can enjoy this tour from March through November. Tours depart from the New Inlet parking area 6 miles south of Oregon Inlet at mile post 34 in the mornings and a few hours before sunset. This tour costs $60 per adult and $40 per child and lasts about 2.5 hours.