USA Today named Cape Lookout National Seashore the “Best National Park Beach” Accessible by ferry, it consists of 56 miles of undeveloped beach stretched over 3 to 4 barrier islands from Ocracoke Inlet on the northeast to Beaufort Inlet on the southeast. A visit to the islands can be very enjoyable, but even a day trip requires some advance planning.
There are four ways to explore the park:
1) Ride as a passenger on any of the authorized ferry services and explore the park on foot.
2) Bring your four-wheel drive vehicle, ATV, or UTV on one of the vehicle ferries and drive on the beach or back road on South Core Banks (ferries leave from Davis, NC) or North Core Banks (ferry leaves from Atlantic, NC). Be sure to check the list of current wildlife closures and watch for closure signs.
3) Paddle your canoe or kayak from the mainland to one or more of the barrier islands. Don’t forget to file a float plan with the Harkers Island Visitor Center!
4) Take a tour with one of the privately operated tour services. These may be boat tours, walking tours, or vehicle tours.