The Nature of the Outer Banks

Environmental Processes, Field Sites, and Development Issues, Corolla to Ocracoke

Second Edition

By Dirk Frankenberg

With a new foreword by Betsy Bennett

176 pp., 6 x 7.5, 30 drawings, 20 halftones, 7 maps, 4 tables

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7234-5
    Published: March 2012
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-7237-6
    Published: March 2012
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4341-8
    Published: March 2012

Southern Gateways Guides

Buy this Book

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit
North Carolina's Outer Banks are in constant motion, responding to weather, waves, and the rising sea level. Beaches erode, sometimes taking homes or sections of highway with them into the surf; sand dunes migrate with the wind; and storms open new inlets and dump sand in channels and sounds. A classic guide, The Nature of the Outer Banks describes these dynamic forces and guides visitors to sites where they can see these phenomena in action.

In the first section of the book, Dirk Frankenberg highlights three major processes on the Outer Banks: the rising sea level, movement of sand by wind and water, and stabilization of sand by plant life. In the second section, he provides a mile-by-mile field guide to the northern Banks, and in the final section, he alerts readers to the dangers of overdevelopment on the Outer Banks. In a new foreword for this edition, Betsy Bennett documents the ever-more-critical situation of these shifting sands.

Southern Gateways Guide is a registered trademark of the University of North Carolina Press

About the Authors

Dirk Frankenberg (1937-2000) was professor of marine sciences and director of the Marine Sciences Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of several North Carolina nature guides.
For more information about Dirk Frankenberg, visit the Author Page.

Betsy Bennett is director of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
For more information about Betsy Bennett, visit the Author Page.


"For the traveler looking for places to hike, paddle or drive amid some of the coast's lesser-known scenic sights. In addition to directions, the books equip readers with a lesson in natural history and some trail-guide-type details designed to help them appreciate the nature of nature."--Raleigh News & Observer

"Takes you away from the man-made intrusions. . . . to those truly enchanted places . . . where the Outer Banks remain in their natural splendor."--Roy Parker Jr., Fayetteville Observer-Times