Outdoor Adventures Every North Carolinian Should Try: Eastern NC


Katie Quine


Andy Busam & Erin Reitz

Channel your inner Wright brother
Take flight just down the road from where flight was born. Kitty Hawk Kites offers hang-gliding lessons at Jockey’s Ridge, the East Coast’s largest natural sand dune. Soft, sloping sand dunes are less intimidating than mountain cliffs and are perfect for those just getting the hang of, well, hang gliding.

Kitty Hawk Kites
(877) 359-8447 or kittyhawk.com

Explore Ocracoke and Portsmouth islands
Long after Blackbeard’s death, the untamed spirit of Ocracoke still endures. Perhaps the best way to explore this pedestrian-friendly village on the Outer Banks is by bike, but make sure to carve out some time for an entertaining boat tour of nearby Portsmouth Island. Step off the boat and you won’t find any vacation homes or gaggles of tourists here — just unspoiled beauty.

Austin Boat Tours
(252) 928-4361 or portsmouthnc.com

Do yoga on the water
For a unique workout, join Wilmington’s Longwave Yoga for one of its excursions that combines stand-up paddle boarding with traditional yoga technique. Finding your balance is a true talent, but even if you do fall off your board, the water is right there to provide an easy landing.

Longwave Yoga
(910) 769-3494 or longwaveyoga.com

Zip-line over a swamp
Scope out wildlife — from wild turkeys to boars — at a comfortable distance while breezing through tree canopies in the town of Ocean Isle Beach. In its first year of business, Shallotte River Swamp Park offers zip-line tours in addition to boat tours of a historic swamp that George Washington is said to have once traversed himself.

Shallotte River Swamp Park
5550 Watts Road SW, Ocean Isle Beach
(910) 687-6100 or shallotteriverswamppark.com

Camp on the beach
When planning a camping trip, most look to the mountains, but pitching a tent on the beach can offer completely different thrills. While there are no designated campgrounds along the Cape Lookout National Seashore, camping is allowed in many areas. To truly rough it, head to Shackleford Banks where you can fish for dinner and watch wild horses roam just steps away.

Cape Lookout National Seashore