Explore. Learn. Discover.

Welcome to Cape Fear River Adventures: Your ticket to an awe-inspiring journey through Wilmington’s most magical hidden gems. Experience the serenity of the Black River. Hug some of the oldest living trees on plant earth. Kayak among enchanted ancient forests. Immerse yourself in the rare, natural wonders that only an expert guide can show you. 

Your adventure is waiting. 

start exploring

Explore. Learn. Discover.

Welcome to Cape Fear River Adventures: Your ticket to an awe-inspiring journey through Wilmington’s most magical hidden gems. Experience the serenity of the Black River. Hug some of the oldest living trees on planet earth. Kayak among enchanted ancient forests. Immerse yourself in the rare, natural wonders that only an expert guide can show you. 

Your adventure is waiting.

Discover a magical world

Take a step back in time. Travel into a world of pristine natural beauty that is home to diverse wildlife, breathtaking ancient forests, and some of the oldest living trees on planet earth.

Captain Charles Robbins’ Cape Fear River Adventures takes explorers to the backwaters of the local Cape Fear rivers and streams where local wildlife thrives. From basic on-the-water skills like kayaking, canoeing, chart reading and wildlife recognition, to extensive eco-tours that venture into areas that few visitors or locals ever get to see, adventurers are in for an epic ride.

The tours through the Three Sisters Swamp of the Black River target both the local wildlife as well as the rich regional history and ecology. While en route along natural rivers and creeks, visitors can expect to see an abundance of wild natives, including egrets, osprey, blue herons, crabs, fish, and even alligators. The Black River, one of the most remarkable natural areas left in the world, is home to the oldest living trees in eastern North America, and the 5th oldest living things on earth. They rival the beauty and grandeur of the virgin redwood forests of California, to which they are botanically related.

Tour goers can rest assured that a wealth of stunning landscape, local wildlife, and amazing stories of regional history and ecology are in store during your exploration. This is a can’t-miss experience when visiting the Wilmington N.C. area, and should be at the top of every visitor’s bucket list.

visit the ancient ones

Excursions through the Three Sisters Swamp reward adventurers with unparalleled views of the Ancient Bald Cypress trees, the oldest living trees in eastern North America.

years old

Right in the middle of Three Sisters Swamp is a tree called Methuselah, or BLK69 by its official name, which is at least 2,624 years old, making it the oldest tree in eastern North America. 

B.C.

Methusela, the oldest living bald cypress, has been thriving since ancient times, and dates back to at least 605 B.C. Scientists believe it isn’t even the oldest tree in the Three Sisters, it’s just one of the few that has a solid core that allows for accurate age analysis.

oldest living things on earth

Taxodium distichum is the oldest wetland tree species, the oldest living trees in eastern North America, and the fifth oldest living thing on earth. Miraculously, these pristine bald cypress trees survived logging because they were not ideal for lumber. Many Black River bald cypress trees are over 1,000 years old, some are over 1,500, and a few exceed 2,000 years in age.

year of discovery

The ancient trees were discovered in 1984 by accident when a University of Arkansas professor bored a hole in one of the trees and extracted a cross-section as part of an effort to learn if climate played a part in tree growth rings. The professor, Dr. David Stahle, went on to become a leading researcher of and advocate for the Ancient Bald Cypress and its surrounding habitat.

visit the ancient ones

Excursions through the Three Sisters Swamp reward adventurers with unparalleled views of the Ancient Bald Cypress trees, the oldest living trees in eastern North America.

years old

Right in the middle of Three Sisters Swamp is a tree called Methuselah, or BLK69 by its official name, which is at least 2,624 years old, making it the oldest tree in eastern North America. 

B.C.

Methusela, the oldest living bald cypress, has been thriving since ancient times, and dates back to at least 605 B.C. Scientists believe it isn’t even the oldest tree in the Three Sisters, it’s just one of the few that has a solid core that allows for accurate age analysis.

oldest living things on earth

Taxodium distichum is the oldest wetland tree species, the oldest living trees in eastern North America, and the fifth oldest living thing on earth. Miraculously, these pristine bald cypress trees survived logging because they were not ideal for lumber. Many Black River bald cypress trees are over 1,000 years old, some are over 1,500, and a few exceed 2,000 years in age.

year of discovery

The ancient trees were discovered in 1984 by accident when a University of Arkansas professor bored a hole in one of the trees and extracted a cross-section as part of an effort to learn if climate played a part in tree growth rings. The professor, Dr. David Stahle, went on to become a leading researcher of and advocate for the Ancient Bald Cypress and its surrounding habitat.

visit the ancient ones

Excursions through the Three Sisters Swamp reward adventurers with unparalleled views of the Ancient Bald Cypress trees, the oldest living trees in eastern North America.

years old

Right in the middle of Three Sisters Swamp is a tree called Methuselah, or BLK69 by its official name, which is at least 2,624 years old, making it the oldest tree in eastern North America. 

B.C.

Methusela, the oldest living bald cypress, has been thriving since ancient times, and dates back to at least 605 B.C. Scientists believe it isn’t even the oldest tree in the Three Sisters, it’s just one of the few that has a solid core that allows for accurate age analysis.

oldest living things on earth

Taxodium distichum is the oldest wetland tree species, the oldest living trees in eastern North America, and the fifth oldest living thing on earth. Miraculously, these pristine bald cypress trees survived logging because they were not ideal for lumber. Many Black River bald cypress trees are over 1,000 years old, some are over 1,500, and a few exceed 2,000 years in age.

year of discovery

The ancient trees were discovered in 1984 by accident when a University of Arkansas professor bored a hole in one of the trees and extracted a cross-section as part of an effort to learn if climate played a part in tree growth rings. The professor, Dr. David Stahle, went on to become a leading researcher of and advocate for the Ancient Bald Cypress and its surrounding habitat.

meet captain charles robbins

Conservationist. Educator. Wilderness Guide.

Equipped with an authentic sense of place, a passion for the outdoors, and an intimate knowledge of the Cape Fear River’s ecological landscape and history, Captain Robbins leads kayak, canoe, and boating explorations along the Cape Fear River and in the Three Sisters Swamp. His work as a wilderness guide has spanned from the North Rockies to the rivers of the Southeast. Contributing to the research of the world renowned Dr. David W. Stahle, and serving as Chariman of the Board to the Ancient Bald Cypress Consortium, Captain Robbins is committed to studying the Ancient Bald Cypress trees, and to educating others on these marvels of nature that endure for us to observe. He gives talks throughout Southeastern North Carolina, as an expert on the ecological research and discoveries underway in the Black River. As a leader of the Cape Fear River Watch, Captain Robbins is deeply involved in the local conservation efforts to study and preserve our vibrant wildlife habitats. He is passionate about sharing the magic of these waterways with groups of friends, families, kids, school groups, couples, and travelers. Contact Captain Robbins to plan your trip today. 

Captain Robbins is an active member of the following research, conservation, and education organizations:

|   Cape Fear River Watch   |   Ancient Bald Cypress Consortium   |   Conservation Network   |   Coastal Land Trust   |   Nature Conservancy   |   Eagles Island Coalition   |   North Carolina Partnership   |   North Carolina Arch Conservation Group   |

Captain Robbins is an active member of the following research, conservation, and education organizations:

Cape Fear River Watch

Ancient Bald Cypress Consortium

  Conservation Network

Coastal Land Trust

Nature Conservancy

Eagles Island Coalition

North Carolina Partnership

North Carolina Arch Conservation Group

what people say

"Don't miss this! Best guide and trip!"

“CR truly is an outstanding leader for exploring the best of North Carolina. He guided our group of women on a full-day canoe and kayak trip on the Black River, and we could not have been happier with our day. He takes great care in planning the trip so everyone is comfortable and feels safe. He is passionate about the natural wonders we explored, sharing his excitement at the beauty surrounding us. As others have said, you can tell from the moment you meet him that he is a man of integrity who cares first and foremost for people and the environment. We saw the oldest trees in eastern North America — thousands of years old — and it was truly awe-inspiring. Don’t miss this trip with the best guide possible.”

-Rachel, TripAdvisor

"Like Traveling To Another Planet"

“Capt. Charles orchestrated this trip (my second) with seasoned attention to every detail, safety being at the top. From the planning stages to the drive home (stopping at Eagle Island for home-made ice cream), our family of 8 (with a 5 and 7 year old) experienced a day of thrills beyond expectations. Visiting the magical lands/waters of the ancient bald cypress is like traveling to another planet.

Many thanks to Charles, a kind, patient, wise and strong explorer!

-Jamjaban, TripAdvisor

"Magical Experience!"

“We slipped the boats into still black waters, the only sound that of songbirds. As Captain Charles talked about the area and its wildlife, it became obvious that this was a man who has a real passion for our wild places. Incredibly knowledgeable and accommodating, he allowed me to sit in the front of the canoe with my cameras and not paddle. Yes, I said cameras – a photographer’s dream – I must have shot 1,000 frames. Three sisters swamp on the Black River is a true national treasure, a mystical otherworldly place, home of the oldest Cypress trees in the world. We are humbled by its beauty and majesty. Thank you Charles! This trip was a true gift!”

-Paige Brown, TripAdvisor

"Life Changing"

“Captain Robbins is the most amazing trip leader full of great stories and was totally willing to be flexible with our group’s needs. His calm and pleasant demeanor made for a smooth trip down the river. CR has incredible passion and knowledge of the river, swamp and cypress trees as well as the wildlife that call the swamp home. This trip isn’t just a trip but a life changing experience that will leave you in awe of the treasures in North Carolina. We would go on any trip with CR!”

-TBCBetsy, TripAdvisor

"We were in awe the entire trip"

“Captain Charles Robbins was a knowledgable passionate guide. If you want to kayak the Black River this is the only way to go. He makes the trip relaxing and fun. He’s up to date and involved in the latest research and shares it with you. We had a group of five, and we were all in awe the entire trip.”

-Jlanierp, TripAdvisor

"Magical Day"

“We had an absolutely beautiful day on the Black River! CR led an incredible trip, had everything organized, and did an amazing job telling us the history of the area, teaching us about the Cypress, and showing us so many things we would not have seen if we did this trip on our own. We had our two kids with us (10 & 13) and they loved the entire day and want to come back when the water is lower to see the river sand bars & Three Sisters again!”

-HoosierSurf, TripAdvisor

"Felt like a Miracle"

“We traveled into the Three Sisters Swamp with a man named Captain Charles Robbins who reminded me of a character out of the Swiss Family Robinson book my dad read to my sister and I growing up. Captain CR paddled the canoe so my dad could sit at the front and just take in the ancient Bald Cypress trees, the oldest in the nation standing strong for 2,500 years. That trip, like so much else in our lives over the past year, felt like a miracle. A miracle that the oldest Cypress in America lives just two and a half hours from our home, that my dad’s health allowed him to go, that we got to hug a tree older than anything we have ever touched.”

-Betsy B

as featured in

Come join us on the river

Take a step back in time and explore the ancient wonders of these enchanted waterways

teaching & skill building

Captain Robbins loves sharing his knowledge with classes and school groups, and enjoys creating unique learning experiences for kids of all ages. He is involved with the Boy Scouts of America, and also offers Science Badge opportunities. Although being on the waterway is ideal, he can also come to a place of your choice, or create an outdoor classroom setting for small groups. After school groups or weekend vacationers can also set times for a custom outdoor adventure stock-full of exciting learning and fun activities. A must-do for any families visiting the Wilmington, NC area! 

Unique learning experiences and skill building adventures can include:

  • Boating
  • Kayaking & Canoeing
  • Wildlife Recognition
  • Conservation
  • Why volunteer
  • Photography
  • Eco systems and how they work
  • Boy Scout Badge opportunities
  • Stewardship
  • Birding
  • Local river history

get a closer look

View photos of past adventures

the tree house

Looking for a unique place to stay while you’re in town? Sleep among the trees at the “Robbin’s Nest.”

Crafted almost entirely out of reclaimed wood, the Robbin’s Nest is a fully engineered tree house available to rent on Airbnb. The tree house rests between a southern live oak and two American sweetgums toward the back corner of Robbins’ 4-acre Middle Sound Loop property. 
This hand crafted treehouse, designed and built by Captain Robbins, was featured in Port City Daily’s “Where We Live” series.

ready to start your adventure?

Get in touch and start planning your own epic journey today.

910-620-0296

charlesvrobbins@mac.com

Copyright Cape Fear River Adventures 2019. Website design by Within Sight Design Solutions

910-620-0296

charlesvrobbins@mac.com

Copyright Cape Fear River Adventures 2019. Website design by Within Sight Design Solutions