Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge is located in Carteret County on the end of a peninsula that marks the very southern end of the Pamlico Sound. The refuge is comprised of 11,000-acres of brackish marshlands and over 3,000-acres of pocosin and woodland habitat. The refuge provides habitat and protection for migratory birds and waterfowl, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Although the refuge is one of the more isolated national refuges on the North Carolina coast with no on-site facilities, there are rugged walking trails for vacationers to explore and two boat ramps that make it easy to get on and off the water. It’s the perfect spot for nature and outdoor lovers to explore the beauty of the coast and enjoy an abundance of outdoor activities such as fishing, birding, boating, kayaking and more.
Kayaking is one of the best ways to get out and explore the area with miles of estuaries, canals and sound waters lying in virtually every direction.
The undisturbed coastal marsh and surrounding waters provide wintering habitat for thousands of ducks and nesting habitat for colonial waterbirds. Visitors to the refuge can spot diving ducks such as lesser scaups, redheads and buffleheads, in addition to sea ducks, American black ducks and more. Shorebird and osprey can be found nesting on beaches, islands and points.
The refuge is home to a variety of wildlife such as otter, fox and snapping turtle. Gray squirrels and marsh rabbits are also abundant.