While some vacationers flock to North Carolina to enjoy its scenic beaches, others travel to explore the fascinating beachside hiking trails. Most trails pass through majestic landscapes that offer breathtaking views of different plant and animal species. The beauty of nature is unexplainable. And this gives tourists a chance to clear their minds, create memories, and witness majestic wonders.

The hikes have different difficulty levels, ranging from easy to hard. Ready to lace up those hiking boots and have an enthralling adventure in North Carolina? Here are the top 8 coastal hiking trails.

8 North Pond Wildlife Trail

With over 400 species of birds, serene nature, and picturesque views, this out and back trail is hard to miss. The expedition starts at the visitor center and takes adventurers through endless opportunities for wildlife observation and subsequent photos. There’s a boardwalk over the freshwater pond that lets tourists view snapping turtles and sliders. This majestic trail ends with a double-decker tower, where each observation structure has permanently mounted binocular scopes. Here, hikers can climb and have uninterrupted views of the sand dunes, salt flats, and beach.

Besides being easy, this trail is also wheelchair-friendly, making it suitable for the ha

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 2.32 miles

Related: 10 Best Beaches In North Carolina, Ranked By Scenery

7 Carolina Beach State Park Campground Trail

This trail is perfect for adventurers who love hiking but aren’t looking for something too challenging. It winds through the sandhill forest, which packs longleaf pines and evergreen oaks. The views offered are awe-inspiring, and this gives travelers a perfect opportunity to take gorgeous photos. Tourists can also spot some wildlife along the way, including gray squirrels, white-tailed deer, and raccoons.

While there’s an option to climb rocks along the way, the hike isn’t strenuous for youngsters. There’s no need to worry that kids or beginners will admit defeat while halfway. There are plenty of natural resting spots along the path, so hikers can sit down and take in this amazing scenery.

  • Difficulty : Easy
  • Distance: 3.6 miles

Related: What To Expect Staying At Biltmore In North Carolina, One of America's Largest Century Homes

6 Cliffs Of The Neuse Lake Trail

Here’s a coastal hiking trail that brings a sense of calmness. The trail passes through a forested section of the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park. Different trees aren’t the only thing to see here, so tourists shouldn’t be shocked to see white-tailed deer pass at top speeds. During spring, the neon green leaves create a beautiful backdrop that allows hikers to appreciate nature even more. The golden hour wows avid photographers. It ensures sun rays penetrate through the hickory trees, so captured photos look stunning.

  • Difficulty : Easy
  • Distance: 1.4 miles

5 Sugarloaf Trail

Known for its awe-inspiring birding opportunities, the Sugarloaf Trail makes up for a remarkable coastal hiking trail. The path is well-maintained and easy to follow, making it ideal for novices who aren’t used to hiking long distances. Tourists are required to cross two peaks, Sugarloaf and Morrow Mountains. They both offer exhilarating views before taking backpackers to a scenic river near Carolina Beach. Tourists can bring their furbabies, provided they are on a leash.

  • Difficulty : Easy
  • Distance: 3 miles

4 Lakeshore Trail, Lake Waccamaw State Park

The Lakeshore Trail offers a unique view of the lake and its surrounding natural beauty. It’s the longest trail in the park, which starts at the visitor center and penetrates through a pine forest, among other jaw-dropping wonders. Some tourists may be lucky enough to spot a white-tailed deer or black bear. Once visitors reach Lake Waccamaw, they’ll be amazed by how gorgeous and unique this spot is. It’s home to some unusual endangered animals, like the American alligator and eastern diamondback rattlesnake.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 5 miles

3 Sweet Gum Swamp Trail

The scenic hike in Kill Devil Hills takes mountaineers through a dense forest packed with various plant species. The hickories, beech trees, and towering oaks rise high to create a dense canopy. Birdwatching is also an intriguing activity where hikers observe hundreds of birds fly around. Their chirping sound increases a sense of tranquility, allowing guests to get rid of stress and anxiety.

The freshwater ponds add to the beauty of this trail. They are home to frogs, gorgeous-looking water plants, and different fish species.

  • Difficulty : Moderate
  • Distance: 3.4 miles

2 Island Creek Trail

Here’s another thrilling hiking trail in the Croatan National Forest worth every adventurer’s time and effort. While the Island Creek Trail is a fascinating spot for nature study, it wows mountaineers with its riveting views. It packs a variety of trees like tupelos and cypress, where the majority are filled with Spanish moss. The interpretive signs help hikers understand the evolution of different plant species and rocks. Some also help guests identify other loops for single-track biking or hiking.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 2.8 miles

1 Currituck Banks Maritime Forest Trail

There’s no better way to get lost in nature and admire scenic attractions than taking this trail. It offers a captivating coastal hike experience as it holds plenty of mysteries. Along the route, hikers come across dense canopies and live oaks that twist into fascinating shapes. The beautiful birds that thrive between the tall trees produce melodic sounds that soothe tourists.

  • Difficulty : Easy
  • Distance : 1.9 miles