Cape Lookout

Picture of atlantic_beach Apart from a whole lot of (mostly local) hiking, this trip to the Outer Banks was our first real trip after the Covid panademic arrived to shake up our lives. A Spring Break trip to the far end of our state, we stayed in Atlantic Beach and had lovely sunset views like this one.
Picture of croatan Croatan National Forest surrounds Morehead City and Bogue Banks and we took several hikes through the area in search of carnivorous plants. While we did not find any flytraps in the wild, we did see a number of pitcher plants.
Picture of fort_macon Next up was Fort Macon on the far eastern end of Bogue Banks. This Civil War battle site is now a state park with lovely views of the ocean.
Picture of cape_lookout_ferry On to the main attraction - Cape Lookout. It's a boat ferry out to the barrier islands from the visitor center. Pack some beach gear, snacks and lots of water. There are a couple of options here. The ferry stops briefly at Shackleford Banks which is remote, unconnected to the mainland and relatively full of wild horses. Even if you don't stop here you'll probably see some from the ferry. Cape Lookout lighthouse area is the second stop. This barrier island does have other ferry connections further north but it felt uninhabited and remote on our visit.
Picture of lighthouse The famous lighthouse is nearby to the ferry dock along with indoor bathrooms and a very small visitor center/ gift shop. There are some informational signs here as well. Boardwalks connect to the lighthouse and some nearby points of interest (mostly beaches).
Picture of boardwalks There is not much to do here other than be on a remote beach. There is the lighthouse, some bird nesting areas and a whole lot of sand. Sound-side beaches are generally narrow with calmer water. The Atlantic facing beaches are very very wide and can have considerable surf.
Picture of atlantic_coast We spent most of our time here on the Atlantic side beach. As you can see in the picture, there are tire tracks because there are some vehicles on the island. The wide beach acts as the makeshift road. This does detract a little bit from the 'wilderness experience' but not too much. I think we saw only three vehicles during our stay and two of them were park rangers. Just in case it is not obvious from our pictures... there is almost no shade on the island. Bring your own sun protection.

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