It's prime time for paddling. With warm, dry days, April and May are two of the best months to explore the waterways of Southeastern, North Carolina. Prior to Memorial Day, and the official kick off of tourist season, the waterways are also usually less congested. Timing, as the saying goes, is everything. In order to maximize your paddle experience it's wise to plan your destination wisely. For the next couple of blog entries, I'll focus on paddle locales that are good to explore, before the masses arrive. Masonboro Island is a good place to start. An 8 mile, estuarine preserve, Masonboro is prime habitat for sea turtles, shore birds and other wild life. It's also a popular destination for paddlers and motorized boats. One of the more utilized access points is Trails End Park. With a boat ramp, pier and parking area, this county park is on small side and sees a large volume of users. Timing your put in/take out is crucial as there is no separate launch site for non-motorized boats. Once on the water, you paddle out along the pier line and a private marina until you reach the Intra Coastal Waterway. Naturally, there's going to be boat traffic zipping along the ICW. During the summer months paddling across this section is akin to trying to ride a bicycle across both lanes of I-40. If you can pick a week day morning to access via Trails End, you can avoid both parking issues and boating traffic. Once you cross the ICW you will be able to paddle through the marshes and take out on a small beach at Masonboro. From there you can cross the dunes and on some days it may feel as if you are the only one on the island.
Spring is in full bloom here in Southeastern, NC, with the last vestiges of cool weather almost behind us. April and May are great months for paddling and exploring waterways you can access when the s...
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