The Basin

You’ll find true exploring within the Zeke’s Island area, a lagoon surrounded by Zeke’s Island, North Island, No Name Island, a beach, a barrier spit and fringing marshes and tidal flats.

This unusual combination results in a small area — the Zeke’s Island National Estuarine Research Reserve consists of 1,635 acres — with a variety of habitats, from tidal flats, salt marshes, shrub thicket and maritime forest to sand dunes and beach. The protected estuary is nursery to fish, shrimp, crabs, clams, and oysters, and the Atlantic loggerhead and green sea turtles, federally protected threatened species, nest on the site’s open beaches.

According to the reserve, “The expanse of intertidal flats in the Zeke’s Island vicinity is the single most important shorebird habitat in southeastern North Carolina. Dunlin, black-bellied plovers, short-billed dowitchers, white ibis, and great blue herons as well as black ducks, mallards, and pintails have been recorded there.”

All this makes for spectacular paddling, a type of island-hopping unrecognizable to the jetset. Do be careful when hopping, though; No Name Island is especially vulnerable to overuse.

More info


Getting there from downtown Wilmington
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 30 minutes from downtown Wilmington
Time to complete: 1-4 hours
Address: 2422 S. Fort Fisher Blvd.
City: Kure Beach
State: N.C.
Zip: 28449
Latitude: 33.5773
Longitude: 77.5677