Cape Lookout National Seashore

National Park

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Harkers Island, NC
Official Website

GPS: 34.6188, -76.524

Last Price Paid: $0
Elevation: 6 ft
Max Stay: 14
Tent Camping: Yes

Accessibility is not guaranteed, always scout ahead before driving down dirt roads.
Learn more: Boondocking 101

All camping within the park is primitive beach camping: there are no designated campgrounds. Be aware of the tides and high tide line when choosing a beach campsite. Strong winds or storms can significantly elevate tides and create hazardous conditions.

1 person has reviewed this location.

Ratings Summary

Site Quality
Thumb vbdsc769
Tarboro, NC
19 Scamp D19
2012 Toyota Tacoma TRD Offroad Double Cab
1 review
Nightly rate: FREE!
Days stayed: 5
Site Number: N/A

huachuca would stay here again

“Less famous but much better looking”

Reviewed Jan 04, 2018

Overall Rating

Cape Lookout National Seashore is an unknown nobody when compared to its more heavily visited northern sister, Cape Hatteras. And that's a really good thing. Most of the info you'll need to have a safe and enjoyable visit is available on the Park's website.

The Seashore consists of three barrier islands off the central NC coast - Shackleford Banks, South Core Banks and North Core Banks (more commonly called 'Portsmouth Island' by those of us fortunate enough to live in the area). Only tent camping is permitted on Shackleford but private ferry services capable of carry a half dozen or so vehicles provide access to South Core and Portsmouth so truck campers and pop-up trailers are ideal when searching for that perfect site. Four wheel drive is a must.

Actually, there are no sites. Each island is roughly twenty miles in length and, other than a few restricted areas, you're free to find a spot anywhere between the dunes and the high tide line that suits your fancy.

Ice is available from the Park Service offices and potable water and restrooms with showers and flush toilets are located nearby. You must take EVERYTHING else with you. Bug spray and sun lotion should be at the top of the list.

Portsmouth Village on North Core is well worth a visit but you'll likely have to drive through a quarter mile of water to get there - kind of fun actually. And South Core has the Cape Lookout Lighthouse which can be climbed during the season. Cape Lookout offers more isolation than any other public lands with vehicle access on the east coast.

Site Quality

This review is the opinion of a Campendium member and not of

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  • dry camping
  • Dispersed Camping
  • dump station
  • restrooms: flush
  • water available


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