You have made it to the beach and gotten plenty of sand between your toes. but could life at the beach be more than roasting in the sun? Is there a hidden corner of the beach that you could explore? There is a remarkable, ever changing place here on Bogue Banks. It is a perfect place to explore and you never even have to leave the town of Emerald Isle. There is more sand and adventure in this unique spot than most can imagine. Will you be one of the handful of visitors who make it to one of the most treasured spots for those of us who live here?
Our not so secret spot is not a place that you can enjoy without some effort. Even some folks who rent a nearby home often do not make it to the furtherest reaches of this special spot. Of course this place is the Point at Emerald Isle. It is both an area and a specific place.
However the Point does not yield her secrets or fish easily. If you want to get to know her, you have to be willing to walk, walk, and walk some more. If you park at the small Station Street parking lot just off Coast Guard Road, you will have a walk of a little over one third of a mile before your toes touch salt water.
Then you have to head west almost another mile before you reach what most of us call the Point, which is the western most spot on Bogue Banks. Just to get off from the beach after making it there, requires a walk across over one third of a mile of sand to the pavement by the vehicle access ramp and you still have to walk back to you car from there. That short hike of the Point will end up being two miles and you will have missed the best part of the area.
So where is this wonderful spot and what is so unique about it. You can find it on this map or you can take a right at the first stoplight as you drive onto Emerald Isle from the Cedar Point-Cape Carteret area. After a short drive of 2.5 miles on Coast Guard Road you come to a stop sign. The Point is a right turn and about one third mile down Inlet drive.
If you get to the stop sign you have already driven past the parking lot. From May 1 until September 30 no vehicles are allowed on the beach so the only way to get to see the Point is to hoof it. As you might guess very few people do even the short hike of two miles that I described. Even fewer people take the time to walk to the northernmost part of the Point which is know locally as Bird Island. If you add Bird Island to your trip and take the shortcut back, your hike will total about three and one third miles when you arrive back at your car at the Station Street Parking Lot. Your hike will look a lot like the one on this map. My track on the map is actually along the current edge of the sand except where I cut across from Coast Guard Channel to the vehicle ramp. Google’s map never seems to be able to catch up with the changes at the Point.
If you decide to go back to your car along the beach, you will end up with something close to four and three quarters miles of hiking. So why would someone who has come to the beach to relax want to take a hike of over three miles? The Point which also is name for the whole end of the island is one of the most dynamic places along our coast. You can see barrier island features being created and some disappearing as fast as they emerge from the ocean.
On this map you can see a number of hikes that I have taken. What is harder to see are the features which have changed in the massive sand area that is called the Point. I took this picture of a new water feature on April 8, 2013. It was part of a post called The End of Sand. The small body of water did not even survive through the fall. When I took a picture this spring at the same spot, Bogue Inlet had swallowed the smaller body of water.
The small inlet featured at the top of the post was not there when I hiked the same area a month ago in June. Amazing changes can happen at the Point in a month or even in a few hours. This picture was taken at the vehicle ramp on November 4, 2007. There was no Point. Today around six years and eight months later, there is now over one third of a mile of sand extending west from the vehicle ramp. There is a lot of truth to the title of my article, Sand Keeps Moving.
Besides almost seeing the sand change as you walk by, it is possible to be almost alone on the furthest reaches of the Point. Once you get beyond the yellow house, the number of people on the beach drops dramatically. If you keep going, it is often a rare chance to explore the unknown.
You never know what mood you will find when you arrive at the Point. You might find some amazing waves, it might be a great beach evening, or it could stormy. Sometimes the water is as calm as a bathtub and then there are times the skin on your ankles will be exfoliated by sand blowing just above the surface of the beach.
You also can see rare birds like red knots or more common black skimmers and black bellied plovers. You can almost count on seeing willets, sanderlings, pelicans and rudy turnstones.
Of course you can also fish your way around the Point, visit by kayak or skiff. It is a great place to get in touch with the natural world. Some of us who are lucky live here in the sandy, watery world of the Southern Outer Banks, but if you spend some serious time at the Point, you might understand the feeling of what it is like to be in a land of only sand and sea.
This is a link to pictures taken on my most recent Point hike on July 17, 2014.
Besides this blog, we also publish a monthly email newsletter. Our next edition will go out late in the third week in July. You still have time to sign up before I get it emailed.
If you decide to visit, you will also find plenty of new content in our Emerald Isle 2014 Travel Guide. There are over 150 links to extra content outside the book. Forty of the over eighty pictures are new this year. With a total of 14 Maps and 10 recipes, you get the latest information on the beaches of the area. For $3.99 which won’t even buy you a couple of Sunday newspapers, you can get 180 pages full of information about the area. It is the only real travel guide for the area and it works on just about every electronic device.
Come visit and walk the Point, you will not regret it.
Our most recent newsletter went out just over two weeks ago and can be read at this link, Summer Is Here. You can also read what has been happening in the last few months on our Southern Outer Banks site.
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