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The Neuse and Trent rivers that surround New Bern offer a host of boating opportunities. From river tours to sailing, from stand-up paddleboats to kayaks, there are many options to explore New Bern’s waterways.

Water, water, water

One of the reasons that New Bern is a boat lover’s paradise is the former capital of the North Carolina colonial government is surrounded by water on three sides. The Neuse River forms the northern border of the town, while the Trent River separates the town from the Croatan National Forest on the southern side. Then downtown New Bern is adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway, making it easy for those traveling by water to dock downtown and explore New Bern’s beautiful historic district.

The two rivers taper off into smaller channels and creeks that are a paradise for fisherman, as well as those who enjoy kayaking. Brice Creek is a particular favorite of fisherman. A tributary of the Trent River, it runs deep into the Croatan National Forest and is home to largemouth bass, catfish, sunfish, pickerel and gar.

Anglers in the area also recommend White Oak River for fishing. The area is not only home to bass, but also catfish, sunfish and pickerel. White Oak River also serves as an entry to both the Bogue Sound and the Atlantic, where you can cast a line for saltwater fish from trout to bluefish, flounder to Spanish mackerel, croaker to spot.

Ramps, launches and rentals

Due to all the water that surrounds New Bern, fishing and boating are a big part of the town. There are numerous public boat ramps and launches if you want to arrive into town via boat, before exploring the surrounding waterways.

The Glen Burnie Park Boat Ramp is one option that is off the Neuse River and also accesses a downtown bordering section. The Neuse River section is ideal for paddlers. Another option that offers easy entry to downtown is the Union Point Park Boat Ramp. It sits on the edge of one of the Neuse River’s widest portions and is steps from all that downtown New Bern offers. This is one of the more popular docking and launching spots, so be prepared to arrive early.

New Bern offers visitors several rental options as well. Downtown is home to companies that specialize in everything from tug boat cruises to sailboat cruises. Or you could opt for a guided paddleboat tour of the inland waterways.

If you want to venture further afield, New Bern can accommodate you there as well. From New Bern’s two rivers, the southern Outer Banks seashores are only 35 miles away. Charter boats are another way many visitors choose to explore the nearby waterways. Their season typically runs from March to November, and sometimes even extends into December. This is the prime season for anglers to enjoy large saltwater catches, including marlin, sailfish, Mahi and tunas, among others.

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