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Carteret County Relationship To Shackleford Banks (Island) In NC. How To Get There?

Both Carteret County NC and Shackleford Banks (Island) are popular travel and tourism destinations for visitors who come to Eastern NC and the Crystal Coast looking for unspoiled beaches and a laid back, quaint, family atmosphere. In this article, we are going to explore where this island is compared to the mainland areas of the county and ways that visitors can get there. If you have any questions, please use the comment section at the end of this article to ask them or give us more information. Also, please consider sharing on social media like Facebook and Twitter so that others can learn more about this destination.

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Using the image above, Shackleford Banks (Island) is located at the left tip of the red line, and the mainland area to the left of the island is Carteret County.

The body of land just above the middle part of the red line is Cape Lookout National Seashore. Both the banks and Cape Lookout are under the control of the NC National Park Service and both are geographically located in the county. The banks gets national attention for being the place where the wild ponies live although many barrier island on the Outer Banks have wild horses living on them.

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From The Carteret NC Mainland To Shackleford Banks

How Do You Get There?

The island itself is about 900 yards from Cape Lookout, and about 1.38 miles from Fort Macon to the nearest land point and 9.4 miles to the farthest land point.

From Morehead City: 3.93 miles to nearest land point and 11.93 miles to the farthest land point.
From Beaufort: 3.34 miles to the nearest land point and 11.36 miles to the farthest land point.
From Harkers Island: 2.54 miles to the nearest land point and 7.16 miles to the farthest land point.
The island itself is 8.05 miles in length and 1,364 yards at it’s widest near Cape Lookout and 320 yards at it’s narrowest near the middle of the island.

There are 3 ways to get to the banks from Carteret County NC: 1) Private boat 2) Ferry service (pedestrian only) and 3) aerial tour.

The banks itself is uninhabited by humans but there is a herd of wild ponies that have lived on the island since the early days of the United States. There are no stores, roads, places to eat. There is only sand, water, wildlife, and incredible unspoiled beaches for miles.

The island itself is a popular destination for locals and tourist who want to get away from the busy beaches on the mainland. However, the banks is also a popular destination for photographers, divers, surfers, and people who love beach fishing.

As for ferry service to the banks from the county mainland, there is a ferry service that takes passengers over and back every 30 minutes from the downtown docks in Morehead City, from the docks in Beaufort, and from the South end of Harkers Island.

As for an aerial tour, there is a service at the Beaufort airport.

Again, we welcome readers to use the comment section below to ask more detailed questions not covered in this article, to share video and pictures (with credit) with us and to get to know more about us and Shackleford Island. We HIGHLY recommend this as a destination if you are visiting the area.

By ferry

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Michael Sharp

Native of Carteret County NC, Father to Makayla and Savannah. You can add me on Facebook. Interest include web development, encryption, and other technologies.

One thought on “Carteret County Relationship To Shackleford Banks (Island) In NC. How To Get There?

  • August 15, 2019 at 5:14 am

    Historical information: Prior to 1899, there was a settlement on the east end of the banks called Diamond City and it is known that there were as many as 500 people living on the island. The people survived by eating fish from the ocean, and what they could grow.

    During a particularly bad hurricane season in 1899, all inhabitants left the settlement and relocated mostly to Harkers Island and Morehead City.


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