• 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 »

Docks & Anchorages

boats anchored near the lighthouse beach
A busy anchorage on a summer's day


Docks at the following locations may be used for loading and unloading passengers and gear.

  • just north of the lighthouse in Bardens Inlet
  • westside of Shackleford Banks, near Beaufort Inlet
  • Haulover dock on the westside of Portsmouth
  • Wallace Channel dock on the northeast side of Portsmouth

Boats may not moor (tie up) to these docks for longer than it takes to load/unload. For long stays, boats must anchor away from the dock and out of the way of other boats.


There are a number of areas that provide easy access to the soundside beaches or a place to stay overnight on your boat. Where you drop your anchor will depend on the draft (depth) of your boat.

  • Sailboats and deep draft vessels - in Cape Lookout Bight behind the spit - deep water runs close to the spit in this area.
  • Houseboats and shallow draft vessels - in Cape Lookout Bight behind the spit and along Shackleford Banks from Whale Creek to Wades Shore.

Vessels may anchor for a total of 14 days in water within the boundaries of Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Did You Know?

Cape Lookout lighthouse

A lighthouse can be identified by its daymark (painted pattern) or by its light flash pattern. Cape Lookout Lighthouse has a diagonal checker pattern and a single short flash of light every fifteen seconds. Cape Lookout National Seashore More...