By Amber Veverka
Correspondent, Jan. 01, 2012
A sweeping vista of lake and gorge. The only place on the planet meat-eating Venus flytraps grow. A forest of trees so breathtakingly large they seem primeval.
These are just a few of the Carolinas' natural wonders to put on your list for 2012 - standout places in two states blessed with an abundance of magical, wild spaces...
Carolina Beach State Park
There's just one place on the globe where meat-eating Venus flytraps grow, and it's here, in part of a 60-mile radius around Wilmington. Sundews, pitcher plants and Venus flytraps cluster, snagging unlucky insects and wowing visitors. If a park staffer is available, ask for a guided tour, which will improve your chances of finding the plants.
This pocosin ecosystem, named for an Algonquian word for "swamp on a hill," also features longleaf pines growing on sand dunes that are relics from an ancient coastline. Before Europeans came, Cape Fear Indians called the region home, and their arrowheads, pottery shards and oyster-shell mounds are found throughout the area...
To read about the other nine, click here for the full Charlotte Observer article.