Location: Manteo, North Carolina
Webpage: National Wildlife Refuge
General Description: Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 to provide a refuge and breeding grounds for migratory birds and other wildlife. The Refuge overs 13 miles of the Outer Banks of North Carolina with the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to both the north and south along Hatteras Island. The Visitor Center provides a small museum with collections of skeletons, seashells, and turtle shells and a short walkway between two man made ponds extending into Albermarle Sound.
1) As far as the drive is concerned, the National Wildlife Refuge is an extension of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore that completely encloses the refuge. Beach access is very limited in the Refuge and since the road is behind the sand dunes, it is the only opportunity to view the ocean. However, there are great views of the salt water marshes extending into Albermarle Sound.
2) The Visitor Center is very small but does contain a small collection of skeletons and turtle shells. They also provide a number of powerful monoculars that visitors can use to get a very close view of any wildlife in their man-made ponds.
3) The walk along the border of the two ponds is a nice walk, especially as the sun is going down. Evening is a great time to see birds, especially ducks, coming in to feed in the ponds. There are a number of wooden overlooks of the ponds and a raised wooden platform at the end of the walk.