Adventure Awaits at Alligator River Wildlife Refuge

The Outer Banks are ideal for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. But did you know they’re also famous for kayaking, camping, and wildlife watching? One of the best examples of what we mean is Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. This remarkable place covers tens of thousands of acres of pristine wilderness. It’s a must-see during your upcoming Outer Banks getaway.

alligator island nc


Back in the day, the area now known as Alligator River Wildlife Refuge was an undiscovered treasure waiting to be noticed. Human inhabitants were few and far between and wild creatures roamed undisturbed. All that changed in the 1970s when conservationists began to explore the area. Visitors marveled at the breathtaking variety of marshes, wetlands, and forests. They also discovered hundreds of wildlife species rarely found anywhere else in the Eastern US. A movement began to preserve the area’s unspoiled character. That led to Uncle Sam setting aside 152,000 acres in 1984 to create what is now the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge.

Rangers and volunteers have worked hard to protect the area’s unspoiled environment. Their efforts make the refuge a welcome change for those who dislike large crowds and over development. Here you’ll find peace, calm, and, for those who want it, solitude. Very little spoils the stillness of the area; that is, unless you count the bellow of bull alligators and the lonely cries of red wolves late at night. What better place to see the North Carolina coast in all of its original magnificence?


During a trip to the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge you can paddle down lazily winding streams and visit wetlands where no human foot has ever trod. You can go for a hike on one of the established trails or simply take off cross-country. Or, if you prefer, you can stay in your vehicle and tour the refuge via its many well-maintained roads. Visitors often see bears frolicking in open fields, wild deer bounding through the forests, and alligators sunning themselves or swimming in moss-draped waterways. As for birdwatching, the opportunities are limitless.

Yes, There Are Wolves!

Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to go out west to find wolves in the US. Alligator River Wildlife Refuge is home to approximately 100 red wolves. Naturalists introduced the creatures to the area back in 1987. Since then, the wolves have expanded their territory and formed thriving packs that subsist off local wildlife. You might see some of these magnificent creatures for yourself when you visit the refuge. If you’re very lucky, then you may hear their distinctive cry echoing through the woodlands.

Some Tips to Keep in Mind During Your Visit

Remember this is a wildlife refuge, not a municipal park. We recommend bringing the following supplies with you during your visit: a good first aid kit, bug repellent, cell phones or walkie-talkies, extra food and water, and clothing appropriate for the weather and terrain.

We hope you enjoy your visit to the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge. While you’re planning your trip, don’t forget to choose the right lodging. Our professionally managed vacation properties offer a level of convenience, comfort, and privacy that hotels just can’t match. Browse our site and reserve your spot today for best selection. We’ll see you soon along the Outer Banks.


Cola Vaughan Realty
PO Box 1375 • Nags Head, NC 27959
Phone: 252.573.2811
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