Cape Lookout National Seashore North Carolina

nc towns
and beaches

alphabetical listing


ATLANTIC BEACH

 

AVON BEACH

 

BALDHEAD ISLAND

 

BEAUFORT

 

BUXTON

 

CALABASH

 

CAROLINA BEACH

 

CAROVA

 

CASWELL BEACH

 

CEDAR ISLAND

 

COROLLA BEACH

 

DUCK

 

EMERALD ISLE

 

FORT FISHER

 

FRISCO

 

HAMMOCKS BEACH

 

HATTERAS

 

HOLDEN BEACH

 

INDIAN BEACH

 

KILL DEVIL HILLS

 

KITTY HAWK

 

KURE BEACH

 

NAGS HEAD

 

NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH

 

OAK ISLAND

 

OCEAN ISLE BEACH

 

OCRACOKE

 

PEA ISLAND

 

PINE KNOLL SHORES

 

ROANOKE ISLAND

 

RODANTHE

 

SALVO

 

SANDERLING

 

SHALLOTTE

 

SOUTHERN SHORES

 

SOUTHPORT

 

SUNSET BEACH

 

SURF CITY

 

TOPSAIL BEACH

 

TOPSAIL ISLAND

 

WAVES

 

WILMINGTON

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH

 

Privacy Policy

welcome to the cape lookout national seashore

Cape Lookout National Seashore preserves is a 56 mile long section of the Southern Outer Banks, called the Crystal Coast, of North Carolina. Running from Ocracoke Inlet on the northeast to Beaufort Inlet on the southeast.

 

Three undeveloped barrier islands make up the seashore - North Core Banks, South Core Banks and Shackleford Banks. The seashore includes two historic villages on Core Banks, Shackleford's wild horses, and the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, which has a black-and-white diamond pattern.

 

A visitors center for the seashore is located on Harkers Island. Core Banks, named after the

Coree Indians, stretches from Ocracoke Inlet to Cape Lookout, while Shackleford Banks, named after John Shackleford, extends from Cape Lookout to Beaufort Inlet. Today, the two banks are separated by Barden Inlet.

 

Core Banks, which currently consists of three islands running Northeast-Southwest for about 45 miles. Settlers came into the territory around Core Sound and North River. Most of these came from the New Bern colony, but others came from tidewater Virginia from Albemarle, and even from New England.

The northern tip of North Core banks, just across Ocracoke inlet from Ocracoke Island, is called Portsmouth Island and is the site of Portsmouth Village.

 

In the first half of the 18th century, Ocracoke Inlet was the primary route for bringing in goods from England and shipping the agricultural products of North Carolina. Larger ships stopped at Ocracoke and transferred their loads to shallow draft boats for transport to Bath, New Bern, and Washington. To aid shipping, the North Carolina General Assembly created the village of Portsmouth in 1753 as the state's official "port of entry" and, by 1842, two-third's of the state's exports passed through Portsmouth.

 

The residents of Portsmouth Village did the work of moving goods to several smaller flatboats and then reloading the larger ships a ways down the water. Over time, a large community sprang up around this business, with a post office, two churches, a school and many homes. In 1860, Portsmouth's population was almost 700. However, in 1846 Hatteras Inlet opened in a hurricane and was deeper and safer than Ocracoke Inlet. The shipping route shifted to the north, and the Portsmouth villagers had to find other ways to make a living.

 

Later, during the Civil War, many islanders fled to the mainland to avoid advancing Union troops and never came back after the war. Portsmouth Village’s population continued to decline until there were only 16 residents in 1956 and only three left in 1970. In 1971, one of them died and the other two left the island.

 

In 1976, Portsmouth Village was saved when Cape Lookout National Seashore was established and now the village is on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the buildings have been restored, and visitors can enter the restored Methodist Church, Coast Guard station, school house and post office. There is a visitor center in the restored Dixon-Salter house, where there are restrooms and exhibits on the island’s history.

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 Carolina Coastal Living 2014