Take a walk with carnivorous plants

You’ve likely heard of Venus flytraps and maybe even pitcher plants, but have you ever seen them up close in the wild? These carnivorous plants – among other lesser-known varieties like bladderworts, butterworts, and sundews – are dotted along the nature trail at Carolina Beach State Park. Learn from the experts on a guided carnivorous plant hike (offered every Saturday morning from April through October) or take on the trail by yourself. This hike is a great idea when you're considering what to do with your family in the Wilmington, NC area.

a nature path along the ocean

If you closely inspect a Venus flytrap plant (which is typically quite tiny), you’ll notice that the bud is shaped like a clamshell lined with dainty, thin hairs called trigger hairs. When touched ever so gently, the trigger hairs then prompt the leaves to snap shut. You can perhaps see how easy it is for an unsuspecting fly or another insect to find itself ensnared in the jaws of the Venus flytrap!

From there, the flytrap essentially sucks the life force out of the trapped bug within a period of three to five days. No remorse, whatsoever. Each trap dies after its third close, and brand new ones spring up from the ground in its place. At any point on the half-mile loop, it’s likely that this process is taking place. Just be glad you’re a bit larger than what the flytrap and other carnivorous plants can accommodate in their snares.

Venus flytraps are the most popular carnivorous plants

Carnivorous Plants: Know Before You Go

The trail is wheelchair accessible and the hike is considered to be “easy.”

Thrill-o-Meter:  4/10
Ages: This is a great all-ages activity!
Where: Carolina Beach State Park Visitor Center, 1010 State Park Road, Carolina Beach, NC, 28428
When: Park hours are seasonal – the park opens at 7 AM and closes as early as 6 PM (in the winter) or as late as 10 PM (in the summer)
Cost: FREE!

Guide: Carolina Beach State Park

Testimonial: CBSP is just an ecological wonderland for me and presents multiple coastal ecosystems in pristine beauty. The park is entwined with marked walking trails that provide an opportunity to easily experience the natural wonders that are there. A major feature of the park is the brackish bogs that provide a habitat for Venus Fly Traps, Pitcher Plants, and other carnivorous plant species that are just a joy to stumble upon. CBSP is just an incredible place to get a ‘Forest Bath'. Near continual breezes just make it wonderful. (Copi Myler, Carolina Beach, NC)

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