• Cape Lookout Lighthouse from Barden Inlet

    Cape Lookout

    National Seashore North Carolina

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  • Change in Harkers Island Visitor Center Hours

    The Harkers Island Visitor Center is open Sunday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

  • Morehead City Harbor Dredged Material Management Plan

    Cape Lookout National Seashore is a cooperating agency in the Morehead City Harbor Integrated Dredged Material Management Plan being developed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. The full plan draft can be downloaded from the following link. More »


Harkers Island Visitor Center

Only one section of Cape Lookout National Seashore is reachable by car -- the Visitor Center located on the eastern end of Harkers Island, approximately 20 mi (30 km) east of Beaufort, NC and 30 mi (50 km) south of the Cedar Island terminus of the North Carolina State Ferry route from Ocracoke Island to Cedar Island.

From Beaufort: Take U.S. 70 east to Harkers Island Road (SR 1332/SR 1335).

From Cedar Island: Take SR 12 south past the Atlantic turnoff to US 70 west. Continue on US 70 to Harkers Island Road (SR1332/SR 1335) .

Follow Harkers Island Road until it terminates. On the left is the two-story visitor center.

Please Note: The mailing address does not give the location of the Harkers Island Visitor Center parking lot. If you are using a GPS device, you can use the parking lot coordinates (34.68494,-76.52725). If you are using a mapping service, the following address approximates the location of the parking lot entrance: 1800 Island Road, Harkers Island, NC 28531.

Barrier Island Destinations

The islands within the seashore are reached only by boat, either your personal boat or one of the privately operated ferries.

Passenger ferries leave from the communities of Harkers Island, Beaufort, Morehead City and Ocracoke, NC. The ferries from Davis and Atlantic, NC can transport passengers and 4-wheel drive vehicles. More ferry contact information can be found on the Ferry Services page.

Please Note: Some mapping services incorrectly indicate that Shackleford Banks, the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, Portsmouth Village, and other areas on North and South Core Banks are on Harkers Island. Except for the Harkers Island Visitor Center and its picnic area and trails, all areas of Cape Lookout National Seashore are on barrier islands which can only be accessed by boat.

Additionally, some maps and mapping services show a ferry service from the Harkers Island Visitor Center to the lighthouse, but there is no such ferry. All Harkers Island ferry services are privately operated from other locations on Harkers Island.

Did You Know?

Right Whale fluke

If you keep your eyes on the water, you may catch a glimpse of whales’ tails (shown here), dolphins playing in the water, or sea turtles popping up for a breath of air. Cape Lookout National Seashore More...