25 Jul 2021
The beach and that wonderful Outer Banks sand and sun is the reason people have been coming to the Outer Banks in record numbers for the past few years. And our beaches really are something special.
But about the third or fourth day of sun, sand and surf, it may be time for something different, and if that is the case, here’s a suggestions. Check out the maritime forests of that line the soundside of the Outer Banks.
Probably the most easily accessed is Nags Head Woods, an 1100 acre nature preserve.
Although it’s called Nags Head Woods, the visitor’s center is in Kill Devil Hills on Ocean Acres Drive. Head west at the light at the intersection with Croatan Highway and keep going until the pavement ends and it becomes a dirt road. The Visitor’s Center and parking lot is on the left.
There are a number of trails to explore. Most are quite easy. The Sweet Gum Trail is generally rated as moderate, although it is not a difficult trail at all. There is an extension off the Sweet Gum Trail, the Blueberry Ridge Trail, that creates a 3.75 mile hike. Great for anyone looking to spend a couple of hours in the woods.
The Sweet Gum Trail, especially combined with the Blueberry Ridge Trail, have surprising elevation gains. The forest has taken root on a series of relict sand dunes. The trails follow the contours, ascending into dense hardwood forests along the upper ridges.
The trail then heads into a series of freshwater ponds that, with no outlet, have become marsh and swamp. In this environment, sweet gum, black gum and red bay trees dominate.
In the summer bullfrogs carry on a continual conversation; birds call out from the trees; dragonflies flit across the water and take a moment to rest on tree branches.
It is wondrous and beautiful and hard to imagine that the Atlantic Ocean is just a mile away.
So much to explore on the Outer Banks and so little time. Take some time for yourself in a Brindley Beach Vacations home and enjoy life on a sandbar.