At twilight, the sky turns purple at Hammocks Beach State Park -- 1,145 acres of land that consists mainly of Bear Island along the Southern Outer Banks. Take a 15-minute ferry ride or kayak over to the state park, pitch a tent behind the dune line, and enjoy time to yourself, as well as ample opportunities for fishing (puppy drum, flounder, trout and blue fish are frequent catches).
Welcome to the Croatan National Forest, one of four National Forests in North Carolina and the only true coastal forest in the East. The Croatan National Forest's 160,000 acres have pine forests, saltwater estuaries, bogs and raised swamps called pocosins. Bordered on three sides by tidal rivers and the Bogue Sound, the forest is defined by water.