Summer is officially in full swing here in Eastern North Carolina. My buddy Andrew and I thought we'd kick things off by paddling (with mutts) to Sugarloaf Island, located along the Crystal Coast, just off of downtown Morehead City.
When you research where to launch a kayak in Morehead City you'll find lots of options. Spoiler alert: a lot of those launch sites listed are horrible places to launch a kayak. For example, downtown Jaycee Park/City Docks is commonly listed...but the docks there are way too high for kayaks. We highly recommend launching from nearby 11th street water access (South 11th & Shepard Street). There's lots of parking, a grassy area to get setup and a nice beach to launch from. Good news though, if the launch is full there are lots of plan B launch sites along the Morehead waterfront. Just know: some are better than others - try for the 11th and Shepard first.
Pow! A look at Sugarloaf Island from the sky! You can see how small yet undeveloped she is, and how close the island really is to downtown. The lack of buildings on the island is no accident - it is protected and managed by theNC Coastal Federation, like a lot of other islands in the area. Sugarloaf is around 47 acres with a trail through the middle and restrooms.
We paddled around the wild side (facing the ocean) and then turned the corner to the city side.
As you pass downtown you'll eventually arrive at the dock for the island. Spoiler alert: the dock is extremely high for kayaks - it's much better to land on the wild side beach (oceanside of the island).
As we neared the end of our circumnavigation of Sugarloaf Island we stumbled upon a few interesting vessels. Trash boats! What!?!?! Does someone liveaboard these neglected sailboats? Do passing party boats just throw their trash aboard? We have no idea but they seem mysterious.
Viva la summer! We had a blast on our quick paddle around Morehead City's Sugarloaf Island. Be sure to check out our instagram and follow where we're currently adventuring. As always, check back for new posts here once a week (soon moving to twice a week!).
~Paul & Andrew everyonestravelclub.com
We had a little time in-between adventures this weekend and decided we couldn't miss the Paddlepalooza going on in downtown Swansboro in and around Pogie's Fishing Center. Pogie's opened on the downtown edge of the super-quaint seaside town of Swansboro, North Carolina, and they have been upping the kayak/SUP rental game ever since.
First of all, just an F.Y.I. - Swansboro is awesome - it's one of our favorite towns in Eastern North Carolina. Restaurants, shopping, public boat docks, town kayak launches, and more. They have festivals all of the time and they're right on the water. It's a great place to hang out any day.
While we're not in the market for a new kayak at the moment, Pogie's is ready when we are. I was most interested in the Hobie Mirage Tandem Island (two seater kayak-with-a-sail), and the LIVE paddleboards (I don't get paid for these links, like, I really want these boats lol). The Palooza had lots of other vendors - fishing gear, exotic animals (yikes), food, clothing, and more.
The Paddlepalooza had boat rides, free guided paddles, a fishing tournament, a kayak and SUP race around Jones Island, vendors, food, fishing clinics, Yoga, and more. Pogie's had (and still has today) great discounts on new boats.
The Palooza was of course a great reason to spend some time in Swansboro. We hit up a few of our favorite shops - Salt Marsh Cottage, Poor Man's Hole, and the dockside bar at the Saltwater Grill (key words: dockside bar).
After a few fruit-in-my-beer craft selections at the dockside bar (did I mention docksidebar?), we tore ourselves away from the event. We can't wait to attend the event next year - we'll help spread the word when it happens.
If you're looking to rent a kayak in the area, check out Pogie's for friendly and knowledgeable staff, a great selection of rental kayaks and SUPs, bait and fishing gear, and a sweet location in downtown Swansboro. We'll be back to rent that Hobie and LIVE paddleboard this summer, maybe if I write a great enough article about it my wife will let me buy one?
~Paul & Amber everyonestravelclub.com
ETC Adventures nearby Swansboro:
Cedar Point Tideland Trail & Boat Launch
We adventured back into Fort Macon State Park to try a little hiking on the new-ish Elliot Coues Nature Trail. It's my second time hiking the trail and I have to say, I think this is one of the best trails in Eastern North Carolina.
To get there, head over the bridge to Atlantic Beach from Morehead City. You'll arrive at Bogue Banks, an Eastern North Carolina barrier island with Atlantic Beach on this end and Emerald Isle on the other (20 miles down the road). Fort Macon State Park also sits on this end, we've explored there before, but since then they have added this trail.
The trail winds through seaside dunes, a maritime forest, and over a boardwalk through the salt marsh. It's a 3.2 mile loop, accessed from the Fort Macon Visitor's Center parking lot or the Fort Macon Swimming Beach down the road (there's parking there too). We like to start at the visitor's center and hike the beach section first, that way we can get some shade in the forest on the second half of the hike.
The trail is well marked and maintained and there's usually a decent amount of people hiking on any given day (especially the weekends).
We highly recommend this trail - there's really not that many trails in Eastern North Carolina, especially [partly] on the beach. It took us about 1 hour and 25 minutes to finish the entire 3.2 mile loop. Try it!
~Paul, Amber, Eleanor everyonestravelclub.com
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