Black Bear in a field

Why the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Is One of the Best

01/31/2020 | by Kevin | OBX Things to Do

The Outer Banks is more than just sprawling beaches, fresh seafood, and relaxing sea breezes. You can escape the crowds in the beautiful and serene nature throughout the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Keep reading to discover how you can make the most of your time here!

For more things to do and places to see in the Outer Banks, request access to our complimentary Vacation Guide!

Everything You Need to Know About Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

Attractions and Activities

The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is full of natural wonders. From wildlife to scenic coastal marshes, this is one of the most beautiful areas along the Outer Banks. It’s a great place to explore if you need a break from the beach crowds. There are more than a handful of attractions throughout the expansive preserve. 

You won’t have to venture far from your Pirate’s Cove Realty rental to reach the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center, which is on the northern end of Roanoke Island. Aside from holding the administrative offices for the park, you’ll find state-of-the-art exhibits highlighting the unique habitats and wildlife that call the preserve home.

The Murphy Peterson Wildlife Drive is a 15-mile road weaving through the heart of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. This provides some of the best opportunities for exploring the preserve and see some of the incredible wildlife. 

If you want to hit the water, rent a kayak and paddle down the Milltail Creek Paddling Trail. This scenic river trip takes you along the stunning banks of the gorgeous waterways winding through some of the most diverse coastal wetlands along the East Coast.

You can also enjoy hunting in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. This is, of course, a seasonal activity, and you must consult North Carolina state hunting regulations as well as any special regulations determined by the refuge.


One of the best things to do at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is wildlife viewing. There are plenty of trails ranging from a mile to several, and they offer fantastic opportunities to see the diverse species that roam the land. Red wolves and black bears are among the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuges’ most storied residents. 

The park offers guided tours, including canoe trips, tram rides, and red wolf howls that provide excellent opportunities to see these wild wonders. You can see black bears in the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge throughout the year, especially on warmer days in the early morning or evenings. There is also a photoblind for photographers looking to take home prized shots of the landscape.

Book Your Pirate’s Cove Realty RentalManteo, NC

Pirate’s Cove Realty offers the ultimate Outer Banks experience. Our rentals on provide visitors with a variety of locations on Roanoke Island, giving you access to the beach, nature preserves, historical attractions, and more! Whether you want to stay in a condo in downtown Manteo or a home in Pirate’s Cove Resort, you’ll find the perfect property for your needs.

Start planning your getaway today by booking one of our properties! We look forward to welcoming you to the Outer Banks.