Carrot Island / Shackleford Banks
A better bet, though, is to paddle about Carrot Island’s adjoining neighbors — Bird Shoal, Town Marsh and Horse islands — exploring both by boat and by foot. There’s a lot to see throughout this 2,315-acre collection of islands, salt marshes and tidal flats that together make up the Rachel Carson Reserve. (For Carson’s own account of the area, track down her 1955 book, “The Edge of the Sea,” which recounts her time in the area.)
If you’re up for more of an open water adventure, head on over to Shackleford Banks, where you may well have the barrier island to yourself, save for the wild mustangs that still roam free. Be advised that getting to Shackelford requires crossing Beaufort Inlet, a big water experience that will expose you to stronger currents and tides, and make you more susceptible to the weather.
More info and maps: Read an account of a paddle trip to the area here.
Getting there: From US 70 in Beaufort go east on Lennoxville Road; the WRC boat access is 1.5 miles, on the right. Map here.
Access and shuttle: No shuttle. See access above.
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult depending upon weather and whether (you’re continuing on to Shackleford Banks)
Length: 100 yards to three miles or more
Time to complete: 1 to 8 hours
Location: Rachel Carson Reserve/Shackleford Banks
Put-in latitude: 34 42.35
Put-in longitude: -76 37.56