The Cape Fear region is home to some of the most beautiful waterways on the southeastern North Carolina coast. Whether you’re a lifelong fisherman or a newbie kayaker, you’ll want to explore the great outdoors while you’re living in the Wilmington area. Here, we provide some of the best places to canoe and kayak, along with a few watercraft storage solutions to keep your boats safe all year long.
Greenfield Park and Lake
For an easygoing canoe trip with your children or grandchildren, consider Greenfield Lake. Hidden away just a stone’s throw from downtown Wilmington, Greenfield Lake is home to beautiful ancient oaks, cypress trees, hundreds of turtles, and a handful of alligators (rest assured: most are female and will leave you alone if you leave them alone!). There’s a dock open to the public with access to rentals, and a playground nearby for your little ones.
Watercraft Storage Solutions: Opt for a wall-mounted storage rack for your canoe. This way, your boat is on display when you’re off the water, yet easily accessible when you’re ready to get back on. Your boat is secure thanks to rectangular tubing, and high-quality suspension straps prevent hull distortions from forming over time.
Carolina Beach State Park
Whether you’re new to kayaking or a veteran, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Carolina Beach State Park, and while you’re at it, consider joining a kayak or paddleboarding tour of the Cape Fear River. Escape the crowded beaches to hop from island to island, exploring the area’s unique salt marsh ecosystem. Keep an eye out for osprey and water birds like egrets, great blue herons, and white ibises. Newbies beware, though: the tides can get rough or lower unexpectedly — so consider a guided tour if you’re new to the river.
Watercraft Storage Solutions: Easily remove your kayaks directly from the top of your car or truck with our overhead storage. A ceiling hoist does the heavy lifting for you, lowering down when you’re ready to strap your kayaks on and head out again. Keep your paddles and life vests off the floor with easy-grip wall storage and hooks.
The Intracoastal Waterway
If you’re interested in kayaking beside dolphins or beachcombing for sharks’ teeth on intercoastal islands, head for Trails End Park and check your GPS for Masonboro Island. The shoreline is just a short paddle away, and the island is a local favorite for rustic camping. But be sure to leave it as you found it — the space also serves as a nature reserve. Make sure to pack plenty of bug spray, too, as biting flies can be relentless and often travel in swarms.
Watercraft Storage Solutions: You’re going to want to go back ASAP, once you’ve discovered this gem. For easy on-and-off loading, opt for a stand-alone kayak and paddleboard rack with nearby hooks for your life vests and paddles.