• Cape Lookout Lighthouse from Barden Inlet

    Cape Lookout

    National Seashore North Carolina

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?

Chick hiding in tire track

Shorebird chicks often freeze in place or hide in tire tracks when threatened, making them vulnerable to cars on the beach. Please drive carefully and obey wildlife closures. Cape Lookout National Seashore More...