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Review Highlights
Highlight of the Summer

We took the ferry from Harker's Island out to the island, where we played on the beach for... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
barton24
,
Raleigh, North Carolina
Awesome shore to walk

We traveled to the island via ferry ride. Island Express Ferry. This is a great location to surf... read more

Reviewed September 18, 2018
Mary D
,
Etna, Ohio
via mobile
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All reviews cape lookout ferry ride harker's island shackleford banks day trip long point wild horses sound side visitor's center ferry service pristine beach well worth the effort gift shop bunk beds the east coast the national park service per person
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Reviewed 1 week ago

We took the ferry from Harker's Island out to the island, where we played on the beach for half-a-day and visited the lighthouse. The entire adventure was amazing. Despite it being a busy summer Saturday, we felt like we were alone on the beach. The lighthouse is picture-perfect.

We took the ferry over around 10 AM and took the 3 PM ferry back to Harker's Island. I thought 4+ hours would be more than enough, but everyone wished we could stay longer. The day on the Island was the highlight of a fun-filled summer; I couldn't recommend it enough.

Thank barton24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

After we planned our trip around a visit out to the lighthouse the ferry closed on Sunday. We went to visitors center and got a peek at what we missed. Sad.

Thank rogersober
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2018 via mobile

We traveled to the island via ferry ride. Island Express Ferry. This is a great location to surf as this is one of the top locations for wave energy on the East Coast. On the way over we observed dolphins in the water and horses on the beach. Watching the surfers was incredible. There are protected turtle nests on the beach and shells to gather. Excellent spot for a photo op with the lighthouse. There are restrooms and a small gift shop. The gift shop was closed preparing for the impending hurricane. You can purchase a ticket to walk the steps of the lighthouse. My sister walked the lighthouse and loved the views.

Thank Mary D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2018

This is the best shelling on the east coast. Take the ferry out of Harker's Island and then hop on the beach shuttle once you arrive at the Cape. Plan on going during low tide and staying until high tide begins rolling in with a new array of shells! Conch shells, scotch bonnets, sand dollars, you name it and it will literally wash up at your feet! Bring bug spray because there are some biting flies, but not as bad as Shackleford's flies. Also recommend beach chairs and a cooler and making a day out of it. The water is warm and calm and swimming is great! Don't forget lots of bags for the shells you will find! Best shells were found on the calmer side. There is a small island accessible during low tide off the tip called Shark's tooth Island. No sharks but apparently a lot of sharks teeth!

1  Thank davidandkat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2018

Only accessible by ferry. The ferry operators are very nice. Lighthouse is closed on Monday & Tuesday. The beach is beautiful. The Park Rangers are all helpful and friendly.

Thank Walter O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2018

Gorgeous place to spend a family beach vacation. We took the ferry from Atlantic, NC. We stayed in cabin 3, which has air conditioning. The cabins have running water, showers, 3 bunk beds, a stove, toilet and cabins 3-8 have air condition. We brought a gas grill but also used the charcoal one provided for each cabin. The island only has gas and ice for purchase. You must bring all of your supplies such as food and cooking equipment. We had a beautiful vacation swimming in the warm ocean. The best part was waking up to see the sunrise every morning.

1  Thank spartanfanChicago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2018

Had a family outing to Shackleford Banks and then Core Banks. We used the NPS-vendor ferry from Harkers Island and arrived at Shackleford Banks right before low tide. Watching the horses and searching for shells was fun and I could've have stayed all day. Took the ferry to the Cape. Walked to the beach and spent about 30 minutes in the surf. Later we went back and had a great time swimming in the sound side. Several of us took a tour of the lighthouse. Due to time constraints, we missed out touring the rest of the buildings.
- Shackleford Banks is worth its own visit. If you enjoy shelling, swimming in the shallows, and walking, then plan for an extended visit. Remember to bring twice as much water as you think adequate and your own shade.
- Cape Lighthouse has more sights and activities than can be seen and done in one day. I camped there 25 years ago and had a blast walking around during a winter weekend. Now the NPS have expanded the facilities and made visiting much easier. There are a number of suggestions that should be followed. Bring shade. Bring lots of water. There is water available for purchase at the NPS building but they close at around 4:30. Water is also available at the water fountain outside the restrooms.
There is much to do at Cape Lookout and if you have only one day, you have to make choices and leave some experiences for another day. Plan your visit and be realistic. Have fun. We did and are planning to return next summer.

Thank Charles A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2018

Have always wanted to go over to Cape Lookout and we finally made the trip, well worth the time but you need to go prepared. We carried water, a snack and sunscreen. Keep in mind that you are going to do some walking. The lighthouse is open for climb to the top but not everyday, check before you go. Next trip, I hope to be in shape to make the climb to the top!

Thank Pam S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2018 via mobile

This is a fun day trip. The ferry is cheap and the captain was nice. Our ferry boat broke down on the way back but they called in another one that came and picked us up pretty quickly. The island has a good swimming spot near the ferry dock where there aren't big waves. This was popular with small children. The other side of the island has a nice ocean side beach with hardly any people. The lighthouse and houses are interesting.

Thank Sunchaser507
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2018 via mobile

Best part of our whole trip. Amazing beach with tons of seashells and only a few other people. Staff and volunteers were super helpful. Cabin was great and only 20 second walk to the beach.

Thank William R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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