How to Spend an Exciting Day at the Croatan National Forest

The Croatan National Forest is the perfect day trip for the nature-loving family. It’s the only true coastal forest east of the Mississippi River and boasts both beautiful creekbeds and serene wooded settings. It’s perfect for camping, hiking, fishing, or simply watching the river flow by. You and your family will have no trouble leaving relaxed, refreshed, and pleasantly surprised at this rare ecological gem on the Atlantic coast of east-central North Carolina.

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Camping at Croatan National Forest

Before your stay in a luxurious Emerald Isle rental home, you may want to spend a couple of days communing with nature at the campgrounds located at the Croatan National Forest. There are 40 campsites scattered through the park, with 24 of them offering electrical hookups. If you plan on boating during your stay, Oyster Point Campground is ideal, as it has a shallow water ramp. For gorgeous views of the salt marsh, set your tent up at the Cedar Point Recreation Area.

If you’d rather bring your RV, many campgrounds provide hookups for your recreational vehicle. And if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, Croatan National Forest allows dispersed camping as well.

Croatan National Forest Hiking Trails

Hike the trails at Croatan National Forest to witness the area’s diverse beauty. The forest is 160,000 acres of cypress swamps, pine forests, saltwater estuaries, and bogs. It also houses pocosins, an interesting geological feature that is essentially a swamp on a hill.

Consider exploring the Neusiok Trail for an exciting nature walk. The trail stretches out over 20 miles long and serves as a path from the Neuse River to the Newport River. As you walk sections of the trail, be sure to look out for the different plants and wildlife in the area. The forest is home to Longleaf and Loblolly pines, as well as several species of carnivorous plants. Deer, turkey, and ospreys are also fun to spot, but be aware that black bears and alligators make their homes here as well.

Croatan National Forest Fishing and Water Activities

Water surrounds Croatan National Forest, making it the perfect place for fishing and a variety of water activities. A large variety of fish is available. Anglers will enjoy casting their lines in rivers and streams, lakes and ponds, and various saltwater fishing locations. Are you in the mood for some catfish? You can take their canoes out onto the 800-acre Catfish Waterfowl Impoundment. This is a great place to spot wading birds, otters, and deer, in addition to the area’s namesake. You’ll find swimming and boating (both motorized and non-motorized) locations dispersed throughout the park for even more water fun.

End Your Trip at a Gorgeous Spinnaker’s Reach Vacation Home

Add a touch of luxury to your trip by booking a vacation home with Spinnaker’s Reach. After fishing, hiking, or even a few nights of camping, one of our luxurious homes is the perfect place to relax before heading home. With a diverse selection of houses and proximity to Croatan National Forest, you can enjoy the best of both worlds during your trip to Emerald Isle. 

Browse our full list of rentals and book today! We look forward to having you.