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Things To Do And Attractions In Harkers Island NC

If you’re planning to travel or considering a family vacation in Harkers Island NC, then we are going to discuss good attractions and things to see in this coastal community in Carteret County NC.

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Visiting Harkers Island NC

Cape Lookout National Seashore Visitors Center And Rangers Station

Address: Cape Lookout Rd, Harkers Island, NC 28531- Phone Number: 252-728-2250

Cape Lookout is located on the core banks barrier island that is a few miles from Harkers Island (which is only accessible by boat) and the visitors center provides a wealth of information about the lighthouse, campgrounds, and other information about local waters, tours, and marine life that are apart of this incredible area. We see this as a must visit area. Visiting this attraction also gives you a chance to talk with the federal rangers who work the lighthouse daily to ask more questions.

If you want to learn more about the duties and how to become a ranger at one of NC’s national parks then we encourage you to read this.

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum

Address: 1785 Island Rd, Harkers Island, NC 28531 – Phone Number: 252-728-1500

The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum is a very popular place to see in the local area and is a collection of artifacts related to the various waterfowl that inhabit the many barrier islands of the Outer Banks, a place to learn about the heritage of the island, and to learn more about decoy carving. This establishment offers ongoing community events and workshops for all ages.

Take A Boat Ferry To Shackleford Banks

In addition to Cape Lookout, Shackleford Banks is an island that sits adjacent to the lighthouse and is a stretch of land that is completely uninhabited by humans, but does have a thriving community of wild horses that live there. Shackleford Island is also under the control of the U.S. National Parks and is a very popular place for locals and tourist in the busy summer and fall months. However, this island is only accessible by boat so we encourage you to check out the local official boat ferries that take people over to this island. Ferries usually run every 30 minutes throughout the day except during inclement weather. Visiting this island is also another great opportunity to explore wildlife of our coastal region.

Learn More About The Unique Heritage Of The Area

The community of Harkers Island is just one town in an area of Carteret County NC known as “Down East” and is the most populated of these towns. People who grew up in this area are well known commercial fishermen and farmers who speak a very unique dialect known as the “high tider” accent. People from down east communities are very proud people with a unique history of fishing, farming, and living off the land. If you get the chance, strike up a conversation with one of the locals at a local diner or store and ask about things to do in Harkers Island that will give you a sense of what it’s like to live in the area.


If you traveled to this area of Carteret County in the past, other than the Cape Lookout National Seashore, Shackleford Island, and the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum And Heritage Center, what other local places to see do you recommend to someone visiting?

What interesting things did you learn about the local culture and heritage of this coastal barrier island?

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.

2 thoughts on “Things To Do And Attractions In Harkers Island NC

  • March 20, 2022 at 5:34 pm

    I have never been to Harkers Island or Cape Lookout looking for some good fishing 1st of May have any suggestions we are staying on Harker’s Island

    • March 20, 2022 at 8:27 pm

      Honestly, it depends what types of fish you’re looking for, and whether you prefer inland waters or open water. Obviously, if in search of big gamefish, then offshore near the gulf stream is a good choice, and any of the buoy markers coming back in. If you want inshore, then really inland waters is a good bet, and if you want to surf fish, the beaches of Cape Lookout are your best bet.


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