Plymouth is a paddler's Paradise! As the mighty
Roanoke rushes towards the Albemarle Sound, it forms a delta. A series
of rivers and creeks converge across this broad basin with seemingly
endless paddling opportunities. Plymouth is the gateway to this plethora
of paddling with over 50 miles of shoreline within 5 miles of Plymouth!
The historic waterfront community of Plymouth is nestled on the banks of
the riverbank, just 5 miles from where it empties into the Albemarle
Sound. Once an important port, Plymouth now is a laid back community
with a waterfront that includes shops, restaurants and three museums.
Here you will find the Roanoke River Maritime Museum and Lighthouse on
the west end of the waterfront, God's Creation Wildlife Museum in the
middle and the Port O'Plymouth Museum on the east end of the half-mile
Behind the Port O'Plymouth Museum is a canoe/kayak launch situated along
the boardwalk and finger piers. A good landmark to look for is the 62'
Civil War ironclad replica floating near the shore! This is a 3/8 scale
working replica of the CSS Albemarle, which was the most successful
ironclad of the war--twice defeating the Union Navy. Amazingly, it was
constructed by a 19 year old contractor in a cornfield 90 miles up the
Roanoke River near Scotland Neck.
The CSS Albemarle played a decisive role in the Battle of Plymouth,
April 17-20, 1864, which was the last major Confederate victory of the
war. But the victory was short-lived. Six months later the CSS Albemarle
was destroyed in a daring nighttime commando raid that was retold in the
History Channel's documentary, "The Most Daring Mission of the Civil
War". You can see artifacts as this and other stories unfold inside the
Port O'Plymouth Museum.
There are ample picnicking opportunities along the Plymouth waterfront,
including three covered piers, as well as a covered picnic area next to
the lighthouse. There are also picnic tables behind the Port O'Plymouth
Museum where you can stretch your legs on the Rail Switch Nature Trail
that parallels the river.
Be sure to include paddling amongst the ancient cypress trees that line
the shore of the Albemarle Sound as part of your itinerary. Eagles and
osprey nests abound in these cypress trees standing like sentinels
dripping with Spanish moss. A good launch and take-out point can be
found at Mackeys Marina in the community of Mackeys...Your adventure
awaits in Plymouth--the inner soul of the Inner Banks, where history
lives. It's where traffic ends and adventure begins!