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JAN-FEB 2017

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Page 36 of 51 37 J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 THE OUTER BANKS is a skinny 200-mile stretch of peninsulas and barriers islands that jut into the Atlantic Ocean, putting the string of land near the Gulf Stream from the south and the Labrador Current from the north. "It's a natural environment that's really hard to come by," said Lee Nettles, executive director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. e unique geography of the OBX islands contributes to its lure and lore, making it a popular place for bird-watching, sport fi shing and shipwreck hunting. On the sound side, i.e., facing the mainland, Jockey's Ridge State Park in Nags Head is the site of the tallest "living" or active sand dune system on the East Coast. Visitors can walk the mile-and-a-half Tracks in the Sand trail over the dunes to the sound, take the mile- long Soundside Nature Trail loop that leads to an overlook or stick to the 360-foot-long boardwalk with interpretive displays and a deck that delivers dune views. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge has a visitors center where guests can use scopes trained on North Pond to view some of the 350 migratory bird species that nest and rest in the refuge. Two trails also allow visitors to explore the habitat and spot wildlife. Cape Hatteras National Seashore is home to two lighthouses: Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island. Both are open seasonally for self- guided climbs to the top, where visitors can take in sweeping views of the coastline. W W W . O U T E R B A N K S . O R G WHERE THE PACIFIC OCEAN clashes against central Oregon, visitors will fi nd a combination of craggy, churning coastline punc- tuated by vast swaths of sandy beaches. People often don't realize central Oregon's sand is special; "because of the rain, it's very clean, and it's really round," said Angie Riley, digital marketing manager for Eugene, Cascades and Coast. " at's why a lot of people from around the world come here just to play in the sand." e Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area stretches 40 miles from Florence south to Coos Bay with massive dunes looming over the coastline. Sandland Adventures and Sand Dunes Fron- tier off er two types of dune buggy experiences: Sandrails seat two to four people and can only be compared to a roller coaster on sand. Larger dune buggies that can seat about 25 people aren't as speedy, but it's still thrilling to crest the top of a dune not know- ing what awaits on the other side: an ocean view, sand-buried trees or a shockingly steep slope. C&M Stables takes groups of about a dozen on horseback beach rides. e trail ride winds through coastal woodlands and wetlands before cresting a dune to expose the wide beach and gentle waves below. Once on the beach, riders can spread out and even trot through the foaming surf. North of Florence, the 1894 Heceta Head Lighthouse sits on a rocky outcropping overlooking churning water below. e lighthouse off ers tours and a bed-and-breakfast in the lightkeeper's house. W W W . E U G E N E C A S C A D E S C O A S T . O R G CENTRAL OREGON COAST OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA Courtesy Eugene, Cascades and the Coast Courtesy Outer Banks Visitors Bureau C O A S T L I N E I N F L O R E N C E , O R E G O N H O R S E B A C K R I D I N G I N O U T E R B A N K S B Y R A C H E L C A R T E R

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