• Cape Lookout Lighthouse from Barden Inlet

    Cape Lookout

    National Seashore North Carolina

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?

Humpback whale in front of Cape Lookout lighthouse

Diamond City was a shore-based whaling community located where Barden Inlet now separates the islands of Shackleford Banks and South Core Banks. Crews would row whaling dories out from shore to chase the whales as they migrated past the island. Cape Lookout National Seashore