The tidewaters of Pamlico County are a paddler's paradise. From Fairfield Harbor to the Pamlico River, almost 300 miles of waterway invite the kayaker or canoeist who relishes tidal creeks or bold, and sometimes downright rough,river shores. Located on the Atlantic Flyway, these waters offer frequent refuge to eagles, herons,ducks, geese, loons, terns, gulls, pelicans, and other shore and water fowl.  The forest shores and marshes hide many species of land birds as well as bear, deer, otters, seals, bobcats, fox, and beaver --- all seen on occasion by the quiet paddler. The waters are the home to drum, mullet, trout and dolphin. The latter often provide "escort service" for the paddler.

The county is steeped in coastal history beginning thousands of years past with extensive Native American settlements and extending to the early emigrants of the 18th century as well as fishing, lumber, and farming communities served by rail and steamship into the 20th century.

Pamlico County is home to people who love the water -from fishermen to sailors to paddlers. The major towns of Bayboro and Oriental offer a broad range of accommodations and eateries. Many other communities such as Vandemere, Lowland,Whortonsville, and Hobucken have water access and friendly, helpful residents as well as local eateries.

You are invited to explore these waters with an eye to your own safety. North Carolina Boating Regulations require the wearing of Personal Floatation Devices and carrying an audible signaling device whenever in a kayak or canoe. All prudent paddlers should keep a weather-eye out for deteriorating conditions and never exceed the limit of their abilities. All property along the shore is privately owned and the owner's rights should be protected.

Help us maintain the extraordinary natural beauty of this area by taking out all that you bring in and respecting our wonderful flora and fauna.  Have a wonderful paddle in our wonderful environment.


This site is dedicated to John Hinners who, through his dedication and perseverance, made possible the original printed Pamlico County Paddle trail maps as well as the start of Pamlico County's annual Pamlico Paddle.  The Pamlico Paddle showcases the wonderful beauty of our many paddle ways as it rotates county venues each year thus giving paddlers a "new look" each time they participate in the Pamlico Paddle. 

Mosquito Ditches & Impoundments

In 1959, the Pamlico County Health Department initiated a program of mosquito breeding abatement which involved digging a vast network of ditches with the intention of draining the irregularly flooded tidal marshes. A few years later they built large, freshwater impoundments on marsh lands. The aim of both of these actions was to eliminate breeding areas for the salt-marsh mosquito. In all, 430 miles of ditching of varying width was dug and 2,873 acres of impoundment were built for a total cost of $800,000.The effectiveness in controlling mosquito breeding, along with the possible negative effects on the estuaries and plant and animal habitat, are still subject to intense debate. Subsequent studies have been inconclusive partly because no baselines were established before the work was done.For the paddler, the ditches offer added avenues for exploration and wildlife viewing, shortcuts, and in some cases emergency shelter from wind. Some privately-owned ditches are closed by gates and should not be used.

Paddle Trail Guides

Bay River - Goose Creek - Bay River to Oriental - Oriental to Upper Broad Creek  -Oriental Paddle Trails
    These Guides show only a few of the paddle trails in a particular section of Pamlico County.
    Each printed Guide shows additional paddle trails.
    The Oriental Paddle Trails Guide is not available as an individual map. In a couple of instances these Guides show trails "discovered" since the origination of the printed maps.
    These include Swan Island, Smith Creek to Gale Creek, Gale Creek-Jones Bay Loop, and Spring Creek Loop.
    On-line maps may also be found at (Select "4-Lower Neuse Region")
    The NC Paddle Trails Association provides additional North Carolina paddling resources.
    Printed maps are available at the Pamlico County Visitors Center in Grantsboro or you may order as directed below.

Large, individually printed Paddle Trail Map showing the paddle trails in each area are available by US Postal Service.
Send a pre-addressed No. 10 envelope, with First Class Return Postage affixed, for each desired map to:
Pamlico County Cooperative Extension Service Agent
13451 NC 55 Highway Alliance, NC 28509
Annotate name of desired map in the lower left corner of the returning envelope.


Pamlico County Chamber of Commerce and all cooperating agencies assume no liability for injury or property damage due to your use of these maps and guides or any part of this waterway system.  Included in this disclaimer are any inaccuracies in these maps and guides.