Coastal NC

VOL12ISS1 2016

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12 THe oRIGINAl ReloCATIoN GuIDe — CoAsTAl NC | Volume 12—Issue 1 coastal living Coastal living by lynne brandon Water is a calling card for the tourism friendly state that is home to the Outer Banks where wild horses roam on Corolla and Shackleford Banks, the Crystal Coast with maritime towns ripe with pirate lore and the Cape Fear region of the coast where island towns and beaches are defned by the mighty river that runs 200 miles from the Piedmont to the coast. The Cape Fear is the only river in North Carolina that runs directly into the Atlantic Ocean, entering near Cape Fear (from which it is named), south of Wilmington. The state's largest river basin is also the main water source for New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties. Water defnes the region with beaches, islands and rivers that not only sustain us, but soothe and inspire those who return each year for the smell of salt in the air and sand in their toes. Here wildlife and nature are still protected on preserves and in maritime forests. Lighthouses stand tall on the coast, seven in total, waiting to be scratched off someone's bucket list. Bald Head Island and Oak Island are two that are nearest to the Cape Fear region. The Oak Island lighthouse is the newest in the state, built in 1958. The 153-foot tall white, black and grey striped monument beckons visitors each year. Coastal living and adventure go hand-in-hand. Getting outdoors is the frst step and for some it means lounging on Wilmington area beaches: Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville. For others, it means getting in a kayak to foat down a river or waterway or taking a ferry to a remote location like Masonboro Island. Remote is the word for the 8.4-mile-long barrier island that is a short paddle or boat ride from Wrightsville Beach. The no-frills island means you bring everything you need — supplies, gear, food and water are up to the visitor. Stay for a day to explore and enjoy the fora and fauna or spend the night and count stars in the sky after sunset. Or take a birding tour to Masonboro with Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours & Cruises to see Brown Pelican, Terns, Gulls, Herons, and other species. A shelling tour to the island might net you a Scotch Bonnet, the state shell of North Carolina, Horse conch, and other varieties. With the ocean to the east, the Intracoastal Waterway to the west and marshes in-between, Wrightsville Beach is a major surf and standup paddle destination. The hint is clear that you are in a surf town thanks to the new North Carolina historical highway marker that honors "Pioneer East Coast Surfng" at Waynick Boulevard and Bridgers Street. Tony Silvagni Surf School founder/pro surfer Tony Silvagni, placed ffth in the World during the 2015 WSL World Longboard Championships. Besides year-round surf lessons, the school rents surf/SUP boards, kayaks and beach cruisers. Wrightsville Beach has been named one of the top 20 surfng towns in the world by National Geographic. Paddleboarding is making a name for itself in the surf town. Men's Health included Wrightsville Beach in its roundup of "Summer Hot Spots" for ideal paddleboarding in 2015. Also in 2015, Outside included Wrightsville as a top "Stateside SUP Hub." The East Coast Wahine Surfng Championship comes to town each August and stand- up paddling competitions such as the Southeast SUP Championship bring in crowds in September. Fishing or people watching are always popular at the iconic Johnnie Mercer Fishing Pier. In the summer crowds gather for photo ops, or just to hang out and always to fsh. It can be a squeeze to ft in when visiting anglers cast a line to catch mackerel, founder, pompano, and other species. Just minutes from Wilmington, the island beaches of Carolina Beach and Kure Beach (together called Pleasure Island) are favorite family beaches. Each beach has its own rich history and unique coastal vibe. The mood is purposefully slow, laid-back and relaxing. The beach, sports, attractions and leisure all bend toward fun for the entire family. When not sunning on the beach, parks, greenways and walking trails show off a different side of the coastal >> relax, explore, and play

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