Discover the amazing carnivorous plants of the Carolinas!

  • Cost: US $2,600 per person for 10 days / 9 nights (all inclusive from start point to end point).
  • Start Point: Hampton Inn Raleigh Midtown, 1001 Wake Towne Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609 USA.
  • End Point: Hampton Inn Raleigh Midtown, 1001 Wake Towne Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609 USA.
  • Dates: To be agreed jointly with group members (email us for details). We recommend June, July or August 2018.
  • Group Size:  6–10
  • Bespoke Tour: If you do not wish to join a group tour, we can customise a private trip to fit your dates and interests. Please email us for details and a quote.

The Carolinas are home to many of the most beautiful wild landscapes of North America, including the smoky mountains, the rolling hills of the piedmont, sun-filled pine savannahs, and pristine sandy beaches. This expedition takes you to all of these natural wonders and more, on a journey to observe spectacular carnivorous plants (Sarracenia pitcher plants, Drosera sundews, Utricularia bladderworts, Pinguicula butterworts, and Dionaea muscipula, the world famous venus’s fly trap), as well as an astounding diversity of orchids and wildflowers. There is the possibility of seeing black bear, white-tailed deer, red & gray foxes, coyotes, red-cockaded woodpeckers, red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, snakes, lizards and alligators.

Please note: All of the sites on the expedition itinerary are well-managed, frequently-patrolled nature reserves. This expedition is strictly observation only. No plants, seeds, cuttings or sample materials of any kind may be removed from any of the sites that we will be visiting.

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Adventure Itinerary

Day 1: Meet at Hampton Inn Raleigh Midtown, Raleigh, North Carolina. Expedition briefing, then transfer to Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Gardens. Lunch in downtown Raleigh. Presentation on carnivorous plant conservation and overview of the carnivorous plant taxa that we will encounter during the trip. Dinner in Raleigh savouring traditional North Carolina barbecue cuisine.

Day 2: Early departure for Asheville, NC, with breakfast stop along the way. We visit the Biltmore Estates to see their public display mountain bog with Sarracenia oreophila and S. rubra ssp. jonesii, and tour the estate’s winery and gardens (with the house tour as an optional extra). Lunch in downtown Asheville. Afternoon exploring the art district and downtown Asheville, dinner then drive to hotel in Hendersonville.

Day 3: Early rise with breakfast in hotel. Travel to first location to see Sarracenia rubra ssp. jonesii. Depart for second location in South Carolina. Meet with expert conservationist guide to visit a location of S. purpurea ssp. venosa var. montana. Then visit to see S. rubra ssp. jonesii in a cataract bog. Lunch on a scenic granite outcrop overlooking the forest. Depart for hotel in Charlotte, NC, arriving late afternoon.

Day 4: Early morning visit to University of North Carolina at Charlotte Botanic Gardens. Leave before lunch for Francis Marion National Forest in South Carolina to see S. minor, S. flava (varieties: cuprea, flava, maxima, ornata), S. purpurea ssp. venosa, Pinguicula lutea, D. capillaris, D. brevifolia, and D. intermedia. We then drive to dinner and our hotel in Summerville, SC.

Day 5: Mid morning departure to visit more locations in Francis Marion National Forest to see the many carnivorous plants, wildflowers, and towering long-leaf pine trees it has to offer. Lunch in the field. Depart by late afternoon for Wilmington, NC for our hotel, dinner, and a visit to Flytrap Brewing (a craft beer brewery named for the Venus Flytrap).

Day 6: After an early breakfast, we will visit the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden to see an extensive artificial planting of many carnivorous plants that are not native to NC. Depart by 11 am for Atlantic Beach, NC, visiting locations for S. flava (varieties cuprea, flava, maxima, and ornata), Dionaea muscipula, Drosera intermedia, D. capillaris, and Pinguicula caerulea along the way. We then check in to our hotel and spend the evening relaxing on the beach and doing laundry if required. The next 4 nights are spent at this hotel.

Day 7: A relaxed morning, the group can decide the itinerary. Options include exploring the beautiful coastline of NC, a highly-recommended aquarium, shops, restaurants and beautiful beaches. In the afternoon, we can visit locations in the Croatan National Forest to see Sarracenia flava (every variety except var. rugelii), S. purpurea ssp. venosa, S. rubra ssp. rubra, Drosera intermedia, D. capillaris, D. rotundifolia, Pinguicula caerulea (typical form and white flowered form), P. pumila, many Utricularia and Dionaea.

Day 8: We depart to explore locations in the southern Croatan National Forest to see the largest population of Sarracenia rubra ssp. rubra remaining in NC. Lunch on the road, then a visit to a very special location for Dionaea muscipula with possibly the greatest genetic variation in the wild (known locally as the VFT Mutation Site). This location has flytraps exhibiting fused teeth, bright colorations, shortened petioles, extended cilia, and further odd mutations that cannot be seen anywhere else. We then end our day at the Millis Longleaf Pine Savannah, a rare example of a pristine, perfectly conserved pine savannah with stunning sunset views. Dinner, then return to hotel.

Day 9: An early beginning to our day, we will explore the eastern portion of Croatan National Forest to see Sarracenia flava, S. purpurea, and many hybrids. After lunch, we begin a hike to a little-known, but spectacular location for S. flava (many infraspecies). Late morning we depart for the northern part of Croatan where we will begin our hike to a very spectacular, seldom-visited location with vast stands of S. flava, often called the “Million Flava Field”. Lunch en-route during the hike. Today is the most physically intensive part of this expedition, but well worth it - a perfect final location for our expedition.

Day 10: Check out of hotel by mid-morning. Depart for Raleigh, NC, with lunch en-route. We will conclude our trip at the same hotel we started at, the Hampton Inn Raleigh Midtown, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

 

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Getting there

Raleigh, North Carolina is extensively connected by numerous airlines to cities across the USA and abroad.

Adventure Rating: Relaxing

No strenuous trekking is required for this adventure or, if present, such treks are minimal and can be substituted for alternate activities.

Participants must be capable of walking on uneven ground and carrying a day pack with water, camera and appropriate weather protection.

Possible extensions


Many choose to combine this trip with our six day Darlingtonia and Redwoods Adventure to see the most spectacular carnivorous plants of Oregon and California. Alternatively, we can organise bespoke trips across the Gulf Coast to visit several key carnivorous plant locations there.

Simplified Map of the Carolinas Carnivorous Plant Adventure itinerary

What's Included

All transport during the itinerary
Professional guide
Accommodation (on a twin/double basis)
All main meals during the itinerary

Note: single room upgrade is available at extra cost

What's Not

International flights
Souvenirs
Alcohol