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Where Are Some Good Places In Carteret County NC For Photography? Beach, Water, Wildlife, Nature

Community driven and reader suggested resources for photography in Carteret County NC focusing on water and beach scenes, along with nature and wildlife in the communities of Morehead City, Newport, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Beaufort, and other locations.

Since this is a reader driven resource, please use the discussion form below to send us your best places for photography in the county, or to ask questions about the local area.

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Beach And Water Scenes

With over 30 miles of beach and sprawling sand dunes on Bogue Banks which encompasses the communities of Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path, Indian Beach, and Emerald Isle, there are ample places to get great pictures of our quiet and remote beaches, endless sand dunes, sunsets, surfing, and immediate coastal wildlife and nature.

Some areas that I recommend are the sand dunes at Fort Macon State Park at the West end of Atlantic Beach, the point in Emerald Isle, the Hoop Pole Creek Nature Walk, the viewing area at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, and saltwater marshes near the sound in Indian Beach and Salter Path.

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In Morehead City, locate 20th St and there is a great boardwalk that offers incredible views of coastal shorebirds, sunsets, and miles of green saltwater marsh scenery along with other wildlife and nature. This is also a great place to get photography scenes of people fishing and casting nets. Additionally, places along the Newport River in Crab Point are good places to get good coastal scenes.

In Newport NC, I highly recommend renting a kayak at the rental place on Old Highway 70 (also known as Chatham St) and travel West in your kayak following the Newport River in to the Croatan National Forest where you will have stunning displays of black water against the greenery of the forest, moss draped trees, ducks and geese, and other coastal scenes.

In Beaufort NC, I recommend the historical homes along Ann St, Orange St, and Front St in the Spring when the azaleas are blooming, along with yachts, sailboats, and power boats on Taylor Creek. If you are feeling especially adventurous, rent a kayak over to Carrot Island and the Rachel Carson Wildlife Reserve to get incredible photography scenes of the wild horses, ducks and geese, and other shorebirds. This is also a great place to get pictures of our wondrous living shorelines.

If you are in to sunset photography, then Springtime anywhere in Carteret County NC is a great place to see the orange, yellow, and red sunsets over the water. But, I suggest climbing the sand dunes at Fort Macon to elevate yourself over all structures on the island. Also, the sand dunes at the very West end of Fort Macon is a great place for shooting boats traveling the Beaufort Inlet.

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In Harkers Island and any other communities down east, there is a great opportunity to capture the local culture of commercial fishing and fisherman harvesting shellfish. If you have access to a boat, down east near Marshallberg, Otway, Bettie, and Cedar Island offers great scenery for photography of shrimp boats, wildlife and nature in any of the numerous estuaries and bays. This is another great opportunity for catching many of the ducks and waterfowl that inhabit NC coastal waters.

Cape Lookout And Shackleford Banks

In my opinion, if you want to capture world-class coastal scenery, there is no better opportunity in Carteret County NC than the barrier islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore and Shackleford Banks. However, these areas are only accessible by boat or passenger ferry. But if you get the opportunity, I HIGHLY recommend it.

This is the perfect area to capture the wild horses on Shackleford, along with miles and miles of sand dunes and living shorelines. On Cape Lookout, the lighthouse and coastal marshes and forest offers great opportunities for photography of wildlife and nature, dolphins, whales surfacing, beach fishing, other barrier island, and very remote and empty beaches.

Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout are very remote, so there is little light pollution which is great for shooting the night sky.

Our local sea turtles seem to be another popular thing to see when visiting the local area especially when baby sea turtles are leaving their nests. If you get the opportunity to visit during this time of the year, taking pictures of these reptiles leaving their nests and making their way to the ocean is an incredible sight to see and document.

Carteret NC Photography Conversations


I could literally write for days on this subject, but it’s time to get reader suggestions on your favorite and best places to shoot photography in Carteret County NC communities when thinking about sunsets, boats and yachts, aquatic mammals, ducks and geese, sand dunes and beaches, fishing, wild horses, waterways and estuaries, and other shorelines in the local area?

We touched briefly on the Croatan National Forest early in this article, but what are some good opportunities for shooting scenery in this national forest?

In your travels around the state, where does Carteret County rate in your favorite places for NC photography scenery?

What are some of your local waterways and estuaries to get good pictures?

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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 “Where Are Some Good Places In Carteret County NC For Photography? Beach, Water, Wildlife, Nature

  • January 2, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    We visited in 2019 and you have just a beautiful area and seemingly endless places to take pictures from your beach, islands, marshes, the nearby forest, and water. We loved it there.


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