Protection zones for nesting birds and sea turtles are seasonal or temporary area closures to motor vehicles with the exception of the following permanent closure areas:
In general, the shoreline is open to pedestrians. Exceptions will be posted.
Boaters can expect interior bird nesting area protection zones, signed closed to all entry, at the inlets and points from April 1 to August 31. Boaters are encouraged to land within 0.25 miles of the inlets. This allows pedestrians to walk the inlet shoreline for access to the ocean shoreline.
Maps of North and South Core Banks which show exit ramps connecting the ocean beach and the back "road" are available on the Maps webpage.
More information on the need for the protection zones can be found on this short Fact Sheet webpage.
The annual nesting reports can be found on the Wildlife Management webpage.
NEW! A Cape Lookout Beach Access Status Map is available for seeing which ramps and beach areas are open for vehicle usage. Please note: Signage in the field has the "final say". The closures on the beach represent the most current beach access status, and should be considered more accurate than this map.
To use the map:
South Core Banks
North Core BanksNOTE: Hurricane Dorian overwashed the entire island from the soundside to the ocean. Over 50 cuts/breaches/inlets were opened through the island. We have been unable to drive the island to check on any sea turtle nests that might have survived. The island is closed to driving for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Areas Recently ReopenedSouth Core Banks
North Core Banks
Information is correct as of September 20, 2019
Last updated: September 20, 2019