Great coastal adventures

04/12/2014 12:00 AM

04/06/2014 3:47 PM

Joe Miller is the author of “Adventure Carolinas: Your Go-To Guide for Multi-Sport Outdoor Recreation,” to be published in May (UNC Press; $45 hardcover, $20 paperback). We asked him to pick his favorite coastal destinations.

Most compelling

The Outer Banks, for hang gliding. “Kitty Hawk Kites ( runs this program where they take you over to dunes, give you some instructions, then you get three flights. It’s pretty much safe and you’re almost guaranteed to fly: not far – maybe 30 feet up – but it's pretty cool and easy to do.”

Scuba diving near Morehead City. “The Atlantic has some of best wreck diving in the world; I think this is one of the best places to go in North America. Some of the best wrecks are within a day trip. The most popular is U352, a German submarine. There was a six-month period in World War II when German subs were sinking everything in sight; the U352 was one of the main culprits. Its wreck is extremely popular because it has a colony of sand tiger sharks on it. The visibility is great, too – another plus.” (Area info:

Best for families

Merchants Millpond State Park, for canoeing in the swamps. You can rent a canoe for $2 an hour, and this N.C. park ( has marked trails, so it’s harder to get lost. But you do get into swampland pretty quickly, and get a sense of what it’s like... but in a safe environment.”

Hiking the Hermit Trail out of Fort Fisher Historical Site ( It’s not long – a mile out, a mile back – and you can explore the different barrier island habitats. It goes by this old bunker from World War II where a hermit lived for about 20 years. He became something of a legend, and allegedly died under mysterious circumstances in the early ’70s. It’s cool to think he lived there in a bunker; there’s a society dedicated to this guy ( Imaginations can run wild there for kids”

Paddling out to Bear Island. “This is at Hammocks Beach State Park ( From the mainland, the water trail goes through a marshy area for two miles to Bear Island, a barrier island. It’s not hard paddling, but you get a sense of adventure. Get to the northern tip of Bear Island, where there aren’t as many people; you’ll have the beach there pretty much to yourself.” John Bordsen

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

Charlotte Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service