If you are visiting coastal Eastern NC near the Outer Banks, then the Pamlico Sound is a must see NC tourist destination. The intent of this article is to be a visitors guide for things to do, attractions, and destinations when touring the area. However, we also hope that our readers will use the discussion form at the bottom to direct us to resources and opportunities we missed in this article, as well as discussions specific areas near this body of water.
Additionally, we hope that you will share this article on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook so that other can learn more about this network of interconnected waterways that make up the Pamlico Sound in NC.
- 80 miles long, 20 miles wide.
- Part of a large network of interconnected estuaries including the Roanoke Sound, Bogue Sound, Croatan Sound, Core Sound, Currituck Sound, and the Albemarle Sound.
- 3,000 square miles of open water.
- Average depth: 8 feet.
- Supports a $100 million dollar a year commercial fishing industry where 90% of NC’s seafood is caught.
- Designated as the largest sound on the East Coast and is a international tourist destination for those that love any watersports.
NC Ferry System
For pedestrians, motorcyclist, recreational vehicles, and bicyclist, the NC Ferry System operates several routes to and from areas such as Ocracoke Island, Cape Hatteras, Swan Quarter, and other barrier islands.
Things To Do
- Visit Ocracoke Island and enjoy a walk on the remote and secluded beaches of that area.
- Go beach fishing anywhere along Cape Lookout, Portsmouth Island, Ocracoke, Cape Hatteras, and Buxton.
- Learn to catch crab, shrimp, clams, and harvest oysters near the numerous saltwater marshes along the banks anywhere near this body of water or it’s estuaries. Also, learn about living shorelines.
- Find a good guide service and go duck hunting or fishing out in open waters. Fishing for red drum, speckled trout, flounder, striped bass, croaker, spot, kingfish, bluefish, and pompano are all quite common in local waters.
- Go kayaking and canoeing near any bank or estuaries.
- Learn to sail on open waters, and learn the navigational buoys of the Outer Banks.
- Learn windsurfing, paddleboarding, or kiteboarding near calmer waters near the banks.
- Learn about the historical significance of the lighthouses on Cape Lookout, Cape Hatteras, and Ocracoke Island.
- Go for a nature hike to see the numerous aquatic mammals, shorebirds, and other wildlife that live along the banks and estuaries.
- Tour the area by ferry.
- Visit Pea Island Wildlife Refuge, Swan Quarter National Refuge, or any museum in the area and learn about the numerous waterfowl species that call this area home.
- Learn about the many vulnerable sea turtles, their mating and nesting habits, along with the many organizations in coastal NC who help them flourish.
- Take a tour out in to open waters to go whale and dolphin watching.
- Learn about the local ecosystem and how shoaling and beach nourishment efforts help to maintain the Pamlico Sound.
- Learn about the history of Kitty Hawk NC and it’s importance to aviation.
- Take a helicopter or airplane tour of the region.
- There are endless photography opportunities along the banks and open waters of this area.
- Go birding and learn about shorebirds such as great blue herons, white ibises, snowy egrets, the rare white pelicans, and even American Bald Eagles that call this body of water home.
- Take one of the offshore charter fishing boats out in to the Gulf Stream in search of big game fish.
- Search for rare and exotic seashells and shark’s teeth on any of the Outer Banks beaches or estuaries.
- Learn about the history of the many herds of wild horses that live on islands in the region.
- Stay in a locally owned bed and breakfast and learn about local heritage and culture centered around commercial fishing, boat building, and decoy carving.
- View one of our world-class sunsets.
If you have visited this area, what barrier islands or points of interest were your favorite for learning about the history of the area?
What wildlife refuge or national park is a good attraction or destination for families that have small children?
What did you learn about the many lighthouses along the Outer Banks?
If you went fishing, what areas of the sound did you go and watch did you catch?
What businesses offer boat, kayak, canoe, windsurfing equipment, paddle board, and sailing rentals?
What did you learn about the history of this waterway, it’s numerous rivers, estuaries, and saltwater marshes?
If you went dolphin or whale watching, what area did you see them in?
What did you learn about the area wild horses that live on several of the barrier islands in the area?
What local towns and villages did you take a passenger or vehicle ferry to?
What local beaches did you find the best assortment of seashells and shark’s teeth?
What are some good bed and breakfast, motels, and hotels in the area for those looking to vacation in the area and want to know about lodging?
What is your favorite or best location for beach fishing?
What types of local shorebirds and waterfowl did you encounter in the area when taking a nature or wildlife hike?
Where are some good locations to go camping or good RV parks?
What did you learn about the conservation efforts for vulnerable and endangered local sea turtle populations?