Cape Lookout National Seashore

Overview

Take a boat trip three miles off-shore to the islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore. The seashore is a 56 mile long section of the Outer Banks of North Carolina running from Ocracoke Inlet on the northeast to Beaufort Inlet on the southeast. Here you can enjoy remote beaches, watch wild horses and other wildlife, climb the lighthouse, or visit one of the historic districts. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch for the day. Visit for the day, or stay overnight-there primitive style camping is permitted and cabins are available to rent. Going camping takes a little more planning. Unlike neighboring beaches, no bridges cross from the mainland to the islands. A boat ride is a must for reaching the area - either your own boat or a ferry. There are also no paved roads, concession stands, bathhouses, camp stores or trash cans in the seashore. Except for the ferry landing areas, the islands are undeveloped and wild.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

Cape Lookout National Seashore is open 24 hours and 365 days a year. Operating hours for visitor centers and other services will vary throughout the year. Ferry service to the park is generally offered from mid-March to the first weekend in December. Cabin rentals are generally available from April 1st to the first weekend in December.

Directions

Driving: 

Only one section of Cape Lookout National Seashore is reachable by car -- the Visitor Center located on the eastern end of Harkers Island, approximately 20 mi (30 km) east of Beaufort, NC and 30 mi (50 km) south of the Cedar Island terminus of the North Carolina State Ferry route from Ocracoke Island to Cedar Island.
From Beaufort: Take U.S. 70 east to Harkers Island Road (SR 1332/SR 1335).
From Cedar Island: Take SR 12 south past the Atlantic turnoff to US 70 west. Continue on US 70 to Harkers Island Road (SR1332/SR 1335) .
Follow Harkers Island Road until it terminates. On the left is the two-story visitor center.

Public Transport: 

Passenger ferries leave from the communities of Harkers Island, Beaufort, Morehead City and Ocracoke, NC. The ferries from Davis and Atlantic, NC can transport passengers and 4-wheel drive vehicles.