Best Hiking Trails on the Crystal Coast
Best Hiking Trails on the Crystal Coast
Traveling to the coast and spending time at the beach during the winter is the purest form of escape for many travelers here at the Crystal Coast. However, we’re more than just beautiful beaches. Why not consider taking a hike? 2023 is the Year of the Trail here in North Carolina, the Great Trails State. We’re sharing some of the best hiking trails on the Crystal Coast.
What is the 2023 NC Year of the Trail?
2023 NC Year of the Trail celebrates North Carolina’s vast network of trails, greenways, and blueways which showcase our diverse landscapes – coastal forests, grand mountain vistas, quiet rivers, vibrant urban greenways, and the rolling hills of the piedmont.
NC Year of the Trail is the largest statewide celebration of trails and outdoor recreation in North Carolina history.
Emerald Isle Woods Park
Emerald Isle Woods Park is the best hiking trail for families. It’s a sound side 41-Acre park located off Coast Guard Road. The park offers natural birding trails and boardwalk access to Bogue Sound with a floating dock and kayak launch. The park is working on adding additional trails; however, a half-mile trail is open for the public to explore. Kids and dogs would love this park as the inclines and declines of the trails are rated easy to moderate. There’s also a disc golf course for the entire family to enjoy!
Hiking Trails on the Crystal Coast: Spotlight on Fort Macon State Park
Fort Macon State Park is North Carolina’s most visited park, and it has the best hiking trails with ocean views. The park includes a 19th-century Civil War fort, a recreation area with lifeguard-protected swimming, a bathhouse, and a picnic area. For those who love to dive deep into the history of the places you visit, the park offers a guided tour in its bookstore. Fort Macon State Park also provides Civil War reenactments during the summer months.
Fort Macon State Park can be found on the eastern end of Atlantic Beach. The Elliot Coues Trail is considered a moderate trail that is 3.2 miles long. On the Elliot Coues Trail, experience a loop trail on dunes through the maritime forest and marsh. Enjoy the many elevation changes while being provided with great views of the dunes, the beach, and the ocean!
Trails are important because they are one of the most direct connections that we have to our environment. A well-crafted trail invites you on a journey that can teach you about the physical landscape and allows you to discover the inner topography of yourself.” – KRISTIAN JACKSON
Cedar Point Tideland Trail
Bring your dogs and kids to this 1.4-mile loop trail near Swansboro, North Carolina. Cedar Point Tideland Trail is famous for birding, hiking, and running. This is also one of the best hiking trails on the Crystal Coast to visit if you’re looking for some time away from the noise and want to embrace quiet solitude with nature. The trail has a wide variety of wildlife to watch and photograph. Take the time to listen to the calming sounds of the slow-moving water, watch the fiddler crabs skitter back and forth along the water’s edge, and if you’re lucky, you can catch the deer prancing around in the woods!
Cape Lookout National Seashore
Explore the wild side of the Crystal Coast and have all the adventures you want at Cape Lookout! Cape Lookout National Seashore provides the views, wildlife, and beach vibes you want during your vacation. For our hikers, there are two trails at Cape Lookout, located on Harkers Island near the visitor center.
The Southside Loop Trail is 0.8 miles long and provides a path through the maritime forest. The Willow Pond Trail is about 0.3 miles long and circles around the pond behind the Core Sound Waterfowl and the Heritage museum. Hike the short and sweet trails and experience the quiet, peaceful serenity.
Once you’re finished with your hike, join the shell hunters, fishermen, birdwatchers, and lighthouse fans and learn more about the beauty of our coast from locals and repeat visitors.
“I am convinced of the benefits trails and greenways bring to our North Carolina communities through increased tourism and the associated economic growth, plus enhanced recreational opportunities for improved citizen health. An added bonus is that these trail systems simply make everyone aware, through first hand observation, of our state’s wonderful natural resources.” – REPRESENTATIVE HUGH BLACKWELL
Tag Us in Your Crystal Coast Hiking Photos
Don’t forget to tag us @bluewaterncvacation and @greattrailsnc in your social media posts and use hashtags (#greattrailsstate #greattrailsnc #yearofthetrail #bluewaternc) to help your content be discovered and shared throughout North Carolina. By connecting with statewide social media networks, you can help our community’s trails shine and attract more visitors!
Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach Vacation Rentals on the Crystal Coast
Those who travel often know that traveling to the coast during the winter is the best time to do so because of lower prices and fewer people. And for those who aren’t the biggest fans of bugs… you don’t have to worry about them while you hike or enjoy time on the Emerald Isle or Atlantic Beach beach during the winter season. So, go against the grain, plan a trip to Emerald Isle, or Atlantic Beach, and stay at one of our luxury vacation rentals. But first, browse our specials and discounts to help you save on your trip! Don’t forget, when you subscribe to our newsletter you’ll be the first to know about our hot deals and new rental properties!
Have you tried hiking in Emerald Isle or Atlantic Beach? What surprised you most during a hike? Share your stories with us in the comments!
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