Core Sound Waterfowl Museum

The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center is located on the Outer Banks Scenic Byway. Photo by Vanda Lewis.

For more than a year, volunteers along the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway have been planning, researching and developing a series of themed trails. These pathways are designed to connect the cultural traditions and natural resources of Hatteras, Ocracoke and Down East in Carteret County.

These experiences will allow visitors and residents to understand the rich history, heritage and landscape of this region. North Carolina Sea Grant is among the partners.

A brochure, entitled Outer Banks Heritage Trails, outlines the must-have experiences and significant locations along the byway trails. The website,, includes a calendar of regional events that focus on cultural and coastal heritage.

Themes for these trails are:

The Outer Banks National Scenic Byway covers more than 138 miles on the North Carolina coast. It starts at Whalebone Junction in Nags Head and ends Down East.

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station is featured on the Maritime History Trail. Photo courtesy Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station.

Travelers can see tidal marshes, wind-swept dunes, beaches and beautiful expanses of land that are dotted with communities of people who have lived and worked there for centuries.

The 21 traditional seaside communities along the byway have a deep-rooted heritage in fishing, boat building, decoy carving and maritime activities. Visitors can learn about the people and their stories at interpretive sites, museums, and in conversation with locals who live and work along the byway.

The byway features two national seashores, two national wildlife preserves and a maritime forest within a coastal reserve. The area also boasts more than 365 species of songbirds, shorebirds and waterfowl that migrate through each year. Visitors can enjoy ferry excursions through the sounds and catch a glimpse of dolphins or coastal birds along the way.

Visit to learn more about the byway.

This article was published in the Summer 2014 issue of Coastwatch.

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