Although Brunswick County is best known for its chic beach towns, not many people know that is it also home to the largest number of rare plant species in the state, and they are all on display in some of these nearby nature trails.
Green Swamp Preserve
This 15,000 acre ecological treasure trove is located in the heart of Bunswick County, and its brilliant open savannas show off some of the most beautiful examples of longleaf pines and wild orchids in the entire country. Green Swamp is also home to many species of insectivorous (insect-eating) plants, including extensive populations of Venus flytrap, sundew plant, and pitcher plant. Many of these carnivorous plants have been threatened by a long history of commercial harvestation, but Green Swamp’s unique soil composition makes it one of the few places in the state in which they thrive naturally. The park’s main trail allows visitors to enjoy these and other rare plant specimens, as well as its own mini-ecosystem of endangered wildlife species, like the red cockaded woodpecker, fox squirrel, and even the American alligator!
Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve
This dense 175-acre coastal forest preserve is rich in both its history and its natural beauty. The preserve’s seven miles of self-leading trails reveal the area’s diverse and abundant plantlife, from the oaks and hickories of the uplands to the bald cypresses, tulip trees, red maples, and other floodplain species that flourish in its lowlands. Also on display is one of the largest and best preserved tar kilns in the southeast, and the whole area is pocketed with fields and ponds that are home to many varieties of birds and local woodland animals.
Boiling Springs Lakes Preserve
Boiling Springs is a large wetland complex composed of thick, sprawling vegetation unique to the area, and it offers visitors a rare glimpse of a beautiful but vanishing landscape. Visitors can hike along the area’s 6,000 acre landscape to explore ancient dune systems, a large collection of Carolina bays, shrub bogs, and longlife pine savannas, all of which form a dazzling tapestry of habitats that is not to be missed. The preserve also contains a host of other recreational activities, like biking, bird watching, and the simple pleasure of taking in its vast assortment of rare wildflowers.