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We need trails. To move, to play, to discover.

In North Carolina, there is a trail for each of us. An open invitation for bikers, hikers, paddlers, and riders. These paths are a place of refuge and recreation, connecting us to the very essence of this state. To its storied, winding history. And—with our active use and care—to its future. Along these trails, we lead and we follow. With kids on our shoulders, dogs trotting ahead, critters burrowing below and flying above. We march on our own and we build community. We find new purpose, generation after generation. We laugh and sweat and reflect. We take on epic adventures. Or we might take just a moment.


Onslow County has a variety of scenic trails fit for all ready to explore them. From Hammocks Beach State Park where you can experience their 3-mile walking trail through the woods with an overhead view of live oak trees to their shoreline at Bear Island, where you can search for unique seashells and listen to the tranquil sounds of the ocean. Or you can take part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and traverse the 90-mile trek from Stella to the Holly Shelter Game Land where you will experience every element from beach, to forest, to paved roads. Which ever trail you choose, it will sure to be a memorable one. Find the right trail for you.


Cycle through Onslow County and take in more scenery by the minute! Every skill level can appreciate any one of the biking trails available throughout the county. Take the 5-mile Rails To Trails Greenway that runs alongside abandoned railways in Jacksonville. Or follow the Richlands Loop to appreciate the rural small town feel in Southeastern North Carolina. Take advantage of our coastline and bike the City To Sea Trail where you will enjoy 21 miles of country roads. Or be adventurous and explore the newly added mountain biking trail at Big Branch Bike Park. It’s time to have fun and get moving!


Venture out into the sea! Paddle Hammocks Beach State Park or The Cow Horn and witness wildlife in action! You could see alligators, beaver dams, tree canopies or marine birds in your water expedition. If you don’t have your own equipment, no problem! There are multiple rental facilities ready to equip you for your best adventure yet. Tip: Be sure to check the weather and currents before embarking.

Seafood Trails

Explore the origins of your seafood with engaging boat tours and coastal partners from oyster farms to shrimping and clamming.

Horseback Riding

Let your spirit run free and explore Onslow on Horseback. Gallop through the secluded woods or trot on our coastal sandy shores for a truly one of a kind experience. If you’re new to horseback riding, Cotton Top Horse Rentals will acquaint you with the horses they provide and will get you up and riding in no time. Be prepared for amazing memories and beautiful scenes.


Be adventurous and join one of our various outdoor events from trail runs and hikes to half day paddling trips and bike rides.

Explore our Other Trails

Expand your trip and venture to our other unique trails in Onslow County.

Before you go:

  • Choose an appropriate trail based on your fitness level and time availability.
  • Check the weather.
  • Eat well and hydrate before you leave for the trail (and bring lots of water and snacks with you).
  • Find a hiking buddy! Hopefully you can find an experienced trail user willing to share tips and gear. If you must hit the trail solo, choose a popular route and make sure someone knows your plans and when you’ll return.
  • If your trail buddy has four legs, be sure to keep them on a 6’ leash, clean up after them, and bring them water and treats.
  • Let someone know where you’re going, who you’re going with, and when you’ll return.
  • Gear up! Choose the appropriate clothing, footwear, food & water, and other necessary gear to keep you safe and happy on the trail.
  • Be sure to take a picture of the trail map with your cell phone if you don’t have a printed trail map.
  • Pay close attention to the weather. It can change quickly, and you need to be prepared.
Hammocks Beach State Park

Learn More about this coastal state park

Tips for Exploring Our Trails

Trail Day Planning Checklist

Leave No Trace

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