• Cape Lookout Lighthouse from Barden Inlet

    Cape Lookout

    National Seashore North Carolina

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  • ORV Plan Comment Period Extended

    On May 23, 2014, the NPS released a Environmental Impact Statement for its Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan for a 60-day comment period, which was extended to September 4. The comment period will be extend an additional 15 days until September 19, 2014.

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?

Racoon hiding on the beach

Many animals will use the beach and vegetation to hide in plain sight. Their fur, feathers, or scales help them blend in with their environment to provide protection against predators. Cape Lookout Natioanl Seashore