The Nature of North Carolina's Southern Coast

Barrier Islands, Coastal Waters, and Wetlands

Second Edition

By Dirk Frankenberg

With a new foreword by Tom Earnhardt

272 pp., 6 x 9, 121 halftones, 7 maps, 3 graphs

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7235-2
    Published: March 2012
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-7236-9
    Published: March 2012
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4342-5
    Published: March 2012

Southern Gateways Guides

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For some years, The Nature of North Carolina’s Southern Coast has stood as an essential resource for all who treasure our coastal environment. In this book, Dirk Frankenberg describes the southern coast's beaches, inlets, and estuaries and instructs readers in the responsible exploration and enjoyment of some of North Carolina's most precious natural areas. From Ocracoke Inlet to the South Carolina border, this field guide provides a close-up look at a complex ecosystem, highlighting the processes that have shaped, and continue to shape, North Carolina's southern coast.

Frankenberg identifies over 50 different areas of interest along 180 miles of coastline and presents images to help identify natural processes, plants, and plant communities. In addition, he addresses threats to these fragile coastal areas and possible solutions for these threats. Tom Earnhart's new foreword brings the book up to date, helping us appreciate why a deeper understanding of this environment is crucial to its continued enjoyment.

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.

Tom Earnhardt is the producer, writer, and host of the popular UNC-TV program Exploring North Carolina.
For more information about Tom Earnhardt, visit the Author Page.


"Dirk Frankenberg has succeeded in writing the best kind of a book: one that is informative on the complex levels of the geologist and ecologist yet can be employed by the casual student or tourist."--North Carolina Historical Review

"Finally, our southern coast gets the attention and respect it merits. Reading this book is almost as good as being there. It's must reading if you want to understand our complex coastal ecosystem and help keep our coast healthy and productive for future generations."--Todd Miller, Executive Director, North Carolina Coastal Federation

"An excellent ecological overview of the plant communities that one encounters when exploring North Carolina's dynamic fragile coastal areas. . . . Anyone planning to spend some time in this coastal fringe will find this book an invaluable companion."--Choice

"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