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What You’ll See at Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge

If you’re looking for an outdoorsy activity that the whole family can enjoy during your Emerald Isle vacation, we’ve got the perfect suggestion! Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge is an ideal day trip for families looking for fishing, hunting, or hiking opportunities. It’s about an hour’s drive from Emerald Isle and features 11,000 pristine acres of marsh and 3,480 acres of woodland habitat. Keep reading to get the inside scoop on this gorgeous park and find out where you can book the best rental homes on the Crystal Coast!
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Why You Should Visit Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge

Cedar Island is an easy, scenic drive east from Emerald Isle. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, so we suggest that you get on the road early to enjoy the cool weather. The refuge itself is massive in size, so it’s important that you plan ahead to make sure that you have enough time to enjoy everything! We suggest that you pack sunscreen, bug spray, hats, sunglasses, plenty of water and snack, and a good camera.

Hike the Trails

While there aren’t any formal hiking trails here, most visitors enjoy driving out to the easternmost section of the refuge and hiking an almost 10-mile loop on the park’s beaches. Often, you’ll see wild horses and cows roaming the beaches. Like Shackleford Banks, this is one of North Carolina’s most famous habitats for wild horses. The trail is dog-friendly, though all pets must be on a leash. If you’re staying in one of our pet-friendly homes, then Cedar Island is the perfect activity for your whole travel party! Be sure to bring your camera along. You never know what gorgeous shots you’ll be able to capture during your adventure.

Go Fish

Anglers should not miss the opportunity to fish and crab at the wildlife refuge. There are several great opportunities to cast your line in the almost 15,000 acres. There are even some boat launch sites at the park, in case you’d like to explore the waters. Common species found here include spotted seatrout, Atlantic flounder, and Atlantic croaker. As with any fishing, you need to make sure that you have all your papers in order. Check out the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s guide to fishing on refuges for tips on how to make sure everything is in order before you head out. If you’re interested in fishing around Emerald Isle, check out our blog on surf fishing and fishing charters!

Hunt Wild Game

The Cedar Island Refuge is also a popular spot for waterfowl hunting. It’s only allowed on the 400 acres designated as a Public Hunting Area. As with fishing, it’s important to contact the refuge manager to get any necessary information.

Stay in a Home From Spinnaker’s Reach

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After a day of exploring Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, there’s no better feeling than returning to a rental home from Spinnaker’s Reach! We have the best selection of properties along the Crystal Coast. No matter the reason for your visit or the size of your group, we have a house that is perfect for you.
Browse our full selection and book your stay with us today! We look forward to having you.