There are no roads in North Carolina’s Cape Lookout National Seashore, but vehicles can drive the beach nearly the entire 56-mile length of these Outer Banks barrier islands. A passenger ferry leaves from Beaufort, North Carolina to access the Shackleford Banks where feral horses reside. Cape Lookout is on the South Core Banks, a great spot for camping, surf fishing, kite flying, and beachcombing. This island is accessible aboard a passenger ferry from Harkers Island and a vehicle ferry from Davis.
Historic lighthouse, undeveloped beaches, seashells, beach camping
If you enjoy beach camping, then you must spend at least one night on the islands. Go beachcombing in the morning after watching the sunrise light up Cape Lookout Lighthouse.
There are boardwalks around the ferry landing and lighthouse, otherwise just walk the beaches.
The majestic 163-foot tall Cape Lookout Lighthouse (wearing argyle) is the icon of this national seashore and looks best at sunset and sunrise.
Summer (if there is not a hurricane forecast)
Free to visit and camp, $16 roundtrip per adult for passenger ferry, sometimes a charge to climb to the top of the lighthouse
Paved to the ferry docks in Beaufort and Harkers Island, sandy on outer islands (4×4 required)
Camping is free on the beaches, but unless you have your own boat you will need to pay for a ferry ride out there. The oceanfront section of beach near Cape Lookout Lighthouse is closed to vehicles, making it perfect for backpackers.
Explore More – When was the Cape Lookout Lighthouse built?