• 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 »

Things To Know Before You Come

Cape Lookout National Seashore consists of 56 miles of undeveloped beach stretched over 3 to 4 barrier islands from Ocracoke Inlet on the northeast to Beaufort Inlet on the southeast. A visit to the islands can be very enjoyable, but even a day trip requires some advance planning.

There are 4 ways to explore the park:

1) Ride as a passenger on any of the authorized ferry services and explore the park on foot.

2) Bring your four-wheel drive vehicle, ATV, or UTV on one of the vehicle ferries and drive on the beach or back road on South Core Banks (ferries leave from Davis, NC) or North Core Banks (ferry leaves from Atlantic, NC). Be sure to check the list of current wildlife closures and watch for closure signs.

3) Paddle your canoe or kayak from the mainland to one or more of the barrier islands. Don't forget to file a float plan with the Harkers Island Visitor Center!

4) Take a tour with one of the privately operated tour services. These may be boat tours, walking tours, or vehicle tours.

Did You Know?

Scotch Bonnet sea shell

The Scotch Bonnet is North Carolina's state shell. It is one of many that can be found along the beaches of Cape Lookout National Seashore.