2015 Winter Seashore Activities and Operating Hours

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: December 3, 2015
Contact: B.G. Horvat, 252-728-2250, ext. 3014

HARKERS ISLAND, NC A beach is a marvelous place to get away from it all and explore on those beautiful, crisp days during the winter. Dress for the weather and come out to see what you've been missing! All activities are free of charge unless noted otherwise below. For more information on these and other activities, call the National Park Service at 252-728-2250, extension 3001.

On the Barrier Islands

The winter beach is full of surprises! The stronger waves of winter bring in many sea treasures making beachcombing a winter delight. The clear blues of the winter sky and sea are picture perfect. You might even get to see a whale as it passes along the coast. Passenger ferry service to the islands is available daily (weather permitting) from the ferry gateway locations in Beaufort and Harkers Island. Call the ferry at 252-728-7433 or visit www.islandexpressferryservices.com for their scheduled times and fees.

Beaufort, NC

The National Park Service's Beaufort Visitor Information Center (BVIC) is located at 701 Front Street in Beaufort, North Carolina. Winter hours (mid-November –February 29), the BVIC is open on Tuesday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. –5:00 p.m.; closed on Sundays and Mondays, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Ferry service to Shackleford Banks is still available daily, located just across the street.

Harkers Island, NC

The National Park Service's Harkers Island Visitor Center (HIVC) and the Island Express Ferry Service gateway to Cape Lookout Lighthouse and Shackleford Banks is located at 1800 Island Road, Harkers Island, North Carolina. Winter hours (mid-November –February 29), the HIVC is open Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. –5:00 p.m.; closed on Sundays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Ferry service, the Willow Pond Nature Trail and picnic areas are open 7 days a week, and holidays during daylight hours.

  • Ribbon of Sand(film) (26 minutes)

Travel through the Cape Lookout ecosystem from the sound side marshes and estuaries to the protective line of islands of the Outer Banks and the ocean depths beyond. The film is shown upon request. For your convenience, this film is open-captioned, audio described, and assistive listening devices are available.

  • Willow Pond Nature Trail –1/3 mile self-guided nature trail

The loop trail winds around a restored freshwater pond with gorgeous views of wetland habitats and maritime hardwoods. The trail guide is available at the Core Sound Museum; the trail starts behind the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center.

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center is located at 1785 Island Road, Harkers Island, North Carolina, 28531. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Holiday hours: closed Thanksgiving Day, closed December 24-26 and January 1 each year. Call 252-728-1500 or visit www.coresound.com for more information.

Other Offerings

  • Cell phone tours –Learn more about the park before, during or after your visit with Ranger-narrated tours for your cell phone or smart phone.The tours are free;however, normal cell phone minutes and data rates will apply.Call 252-838-7052 and select a stop number on a specific tour to hear a brief story.Available tours:
    • Orientation to Cape Lookout National Seashore: stops 100 –107
    • Harkers Island Nature Trails: stops 201 - 210
    • Cape Lookout Light Station: stops 501-511
    • Portsmouth Village: stops 940-950
  • Junior Rangers and Junior Ranger Adventures –A fun way to explore the park is to become a Junior Ranger. The Junior Ranger program is designed for ages 5 to 13, but everyone is welcome to participate. There are six different booklets and awards in the Junior Ranger and Junior Ranger Adventures programs. Booklets are available at the Harkers Island Visitor Center and the Beaufort Visitor Information Center.  

Last updated: December 3, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

131 Charles St
Harkers Island, NC 28531


(252) 728-2250

Contact Us