Outer Banks Wildlife Refuges and Programs

The rolling sand dunes, expansive marshland and picturesque seashore of the Outer Banks are home to a diverse group of native plants and wildlife. Fortunately state and national parks, preserves and refuges protect much of the area. Between refuges in the marsh and nationally protected seashore, you can experience a form of the Outer Banks that is untouched by commercialism and houses. Visiting Outer Banks wildlife refuges and parks is a great activity to enjoy during your vacation. Climb to the top of Jockey’s Ridge State Park for a panoramic view of the sound and ocean. Enjoy one of the paddle trails in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge where you might see a black bear or an endangered red wolf. Visit Portsmouth Island to check out the abandoned village or relax on the spacious beach. Alternate meandering through downtown Manteo with exploring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center in Northern Roanoke Island where you can enjoy interactive exhibits and learn from the different programs offered. Whatever type of terrain you prefer to experience, Outer Banks wildlife refuges and the programs they offer are available to get the best fit for you. Browse through the listings below to see all of the different wildlife refuges on the Outer Banks.


Outer Banks Attractions by Area

Corolla | Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills & Nags Head
Roanoke Island & Manteo | Hatteras Island | Ocracoke Island

Outer Banks Attractions by Category

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

Outer Banks Wildlife Refuges & Programs
Milltail Road, off U.S. Highway 64, Manteo
(252) 473-1131

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a more than 164,000-acre refuge on the mainland portion of Dare and Hyde counties. It was established in 1984 to preserve and protect a unique wetland habitat type, the pocosin, and its associated wildlife species. Pocosin is a Native American word meaning ‘swamp-on-a-hill’ and is characterized by poorly drained soils high in organic material. The refuge's diversity of habitat...read more

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a more than 164,000-acre refuge on the mainland portion...read more

Corolla Wild Horse Museum

Outer Banks Wildlife Refuges & Programs
1130E Corolla Village Road, Corolla
(252) 453-8002

Corolla Wild Horse Fund's museum, gift shop and offices are located in Historic Corolla Village. Visit them to discover the fascinating history and legacy of the Banker strain of Colonial Spanish Mustangs. Mustangs were brought to the Outer Banks nearly 500 years ago and their descendants are still with us today, although this hardy, majestic breed is now highly endangered. The whole family can learn...read more

Corolla Wild Horse Fund's museum, gift shop and offices are located in Historic Corolla Village....read more

Jennette's Pier

Outer Banks Wildlife Refuges & Programs
7223 S. Virginia Dare Trail, The Beach Road, MP 16.5, Nags Head
(252) 255-1501

In 2021 Jennette’s Pier celebrates its 10-year anniversary since reopening in 2011 as part of the North Carolina Aquariums division. Known as “the place to be” in Nags Head during the summer season, anglers catch a wide variety of fish while sightseers can watch brown pelicans overhead and bottlenose dolphins swimming in the sea.

The pier is surrounded by wide, clean public beaches, free parking...read more

In 2021 Jennette’s Pier celebrates its 10-year anniversary since reopening in 2011 as part of...read more

North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

Outer Banks Wildlife Refuges & Programs
374 Airport Road, Manteo
(252) 475-2300
(800) 832-3474 x4

The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is one of the most popular attractions on the Outer Banks. With more than 200 species of animals, including otters, sand tiger sharks and jellyfish to see, the aquarium is a wondrous place to explore. Yes, it's perfect for a rainy day, but you will also appreciate the cool, quiet environment when you've had enough of the sun....read more

The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is one of the most popular attractions on...read more