Come celebrate the freezing and/or hibernation of Eastern North Carolina's mass mosquito mob! This week on ETC we're highlighting a few local hiking trails on the water. With the bugs away we head to Emerald Isle - a stretch of sandy beach along the NC Atlantic coast east of New Bern and Jacksonville.
Emerald Isle is our local beach. While it's mostly residential with large beach house rentals, there are a few public areas like this one to hike and launch a kayak. Emerald Isle Woods park is close to the bridge onto Emerald Isle and has plenty of parking near the entrance (and some further in). Several short trails crisscross the woods, many leading to a small fishing pier and kayak launch.
The kayak launch sits in view of the mainland bridge and offers great paddling in the Bogue Sound. It's a little bit of a walk from the parking lot to the kayak launch and you may want to pull closer to drop off your gear before you park. We are thankful to have our Innova kayaks when we launch from this site - they're easy to carry in a pack to and from the car.
Emerald Isle Woods is a great place to launch paddling trips heading towards Bear Island and the end of Emerald Isle, along with trips to Swansboro. Currents and wind will have a huge impact on paddling from this spot, as the Bogue Inlet is right around the corner, bringing water from the ocean in and out of the Bogue Sound. Also, the amount of gear you have could be a challenge as the kayak launch isn't right next to the parking lot. That said, the floating kayak launch with rollers (pictured above) is the best and the park is very accessible when you arrive on the island and need a quick hike or paddle.
~Paul & Amber ETC