Summer is on Sale! Save up to 30% off!

Preserves, Refuges & Conservancies

Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks is a nationally protected seashore featuring unparalleled wildlife viewing and activities near the water. Exploring the beach and maritime forests you'll see diverse and even threatened species such as sea turtles, the piping plover, and seabeach amaranth. More than 360 species of birds call the barrier island home!

Visit the Pea Island National Wildlife Reserve for public programs during the warm months. Experience nature firsthand by kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddleboard at the wetlands near the Hatteras Island Ocean Center, part of the national scenic byway. All ages will enjoy the interactive museum and marsh walk to get close encounters with animals on land, water, and air. Preserving wildlife and the natural environment on the Outer Banks is just one of the reasons Hatteras Island is a unique trip people return to year after year.

Reach out to our team to discover which vacation home from Outer Beach Realty will get you even closer to the preserves and conservation areas during your North Carolina vacation!

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, a 6,000-acre wildlife haven located between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe, is located 5 miles south of Oregon Inlet. More than 360 species of birds call the refuge home, and visitors can enjoy seeing a large variety of wading, shore and upland birds from spring to autumn. For your convenience, the observation platforms are located near the parking areas. Public interpretive programs are scheduled weekly during the summer and fall. Hours: Refuge open daily during daylight hours. Admission: Free. Guided canoe tours are available for a fee. Services: Public interpretive programs are scheduled weekly during the summer and fall.
Location: Between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe. Refuge Visitors Center is located five miles south of the inlet.
Phone: (252) 987-2394 or (252) 987-1118
Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve

Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve

The largest remaining maritime forest in the Southeast consists of pine- and oak-covered dune ridges and maritime swamp forest. It's a rare ecosystem for a barrier island, and most visitors don't even realize it exists. The N.C. Division of Coastal Management maintains a 968-acre portion of the woods for research, education and recreation and offers some great hiking trails for the public to use to experience this amazing ecosystem. You might see one of 360 species of birds, including bald eagles and peregrine falcons, plus gray fox, white-tailed deer, mink, river otter, box turtles, salamanders or other creatures.
Location: NC Highway 12, Buxton
Phone: (252) 261-8891
Buxton Woods Nature Trail

Buxton Woods Nature Trail

Part of the National Park and Cape Hatteras National Seashore at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Enjoy a hike in the beautiful woods of Buxton with views of the Lighthouse. Near the lighthouse is a three-quarter-mile trail through the maritime forest of Buxton Woods. When heading toward the lighthouse, turn right on the road that heads toward the Cape Point Campground. A pine-needle-covered path leads back into the forest. Along the way there are informational signs about the maritime forest ecosystem and the health of Buxton Woods. You'll pass a naturally occurring freshwater pond called Jennette's Sedge. This is a mostly flat, easy walk, though it's not recommended for the disabled due to uneven terrain.
Location: 46375 Lighthouse Road,, United States, Buxton, NC 27920
Phone: (252) 995-4474