Considered a “Coastal Forest,” the Croatan National Forest covers more than 159,000 acres on the eastern coast of North Carolina. The Croatan National Forest is about 10 miles south of New Bern and just a few miles north of Morehead City and Swansboro.
Bordered on three sides by bodies of water – including the Neuse River, Bogue Sound and White Oak River – the Croatan National Forest is home to a variety of habitats and ecosystems. From pine forests and saltwater estuaries to bogs and pocosin, the diverse landscape offers visitors incredible views and plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing.
The Croatan National Forest is home to deer, black bears, turkeys, alligators and birds. It’s also home to the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers and the Venus flytrap, which can only be found in the eastern coastal plain.
Outdoor Activities at Croatan National Forest
From paddling and boating to fishing and swimming, Croatan National Forest offers an abundance of outdoor activities to choose from. There are a number of hiking trails that cut through various sections of the forest and one area that even has horseback riding trails. The Neusiok Trail is one of the best-known hiking paths in the Croatan Forest, in addition to Patsy Pond Nature Trail and Cedar Point Trail, all of which offer great coastal scenery. And the birdwatching is incredible, with several sites that are designated points along the NC Birding Trail.
There are numerous recreation sites located throughout the Croatan National Forest for visitors who want to get out and explore all that this amazing coastal paradise has to offer. And many of the sites feature docks and boat ramps, picnic areas, restrooms and more. Flanners Beach and Pine Cliff are two of the most popular day-trip destinations for cooling off and enjoying the beautiful beaches.
Enjoy nature at its finest with an abundance of gorgeous scenery and opportunities for outdoor recreation that can only be found at Croatan National Forest.