Cape Lookout, NC

Wife and I heading down to NC to kayak out to barrier islands, launch from Harkers Island paddle over to the island , explore camp on beach, any advise from anyone or general info, we have 15 yrs experience, we ,kayaked Ak,ME, Apostle Islands, Everglades and parts unknown, kayaks are 2 Novus Composites (NC) 17’2" extensive gear, safety and otherwise,good to hear from others who have paddled the area, thank you!

I Have Some Experience There
The inlet there (Barden Inlet) has always been pretty kind to me. The ‘hook’ shape of it seems keep the water in check. Beaufort Inlet down at the other end of Shackleford Banks can be really mean when the tide is gushing out.

Camping on the ocean side of Shackleford is very nice. The breeze keeps the bugs away. I’ve seen tents set up on the sound side but I’d avoid it unless the wind was howling. Finding a spot to land on the sound side of Core Banks is very difficult unless you’re up near the lighthouse.

Thanks Kudzu
Thats a big help, we have thought about camping on Shackleford, still going over float plan, thank you!

Lookout Info.
This is a map I use when leading our local meet up group. We paddle this route a couple times a year.

Water conditions vary with tide and wind. Can be tame as a kitten to small craft advisory. Other than the boat channels, a lot of the area is waist deep at best.

Leaving Harker’s, paddling straight across will lead you to a pier on Shackleford Island. This is where the wild horse pen is. You can walk the area. Numerous horses hang out in this area. Also the beach on the other side is a nice view of the bight and lighthouse area.

After leaving the pier, paddling down the island, horse encounters are hit and miss. As you leave the protection of Shackleford, the crossing to Lookout can be playfully fun to a handful depending on the tides, wind and boat traffic.

In the middle of the bight to the left of the lighthouse is an old historic village. Very nice hike.

Paddling back from Lookout to Harkers, be sure to check out the two islands. One is a haven for Seagulls , the other has Pelicans by the hundreds at times.

Very nice trip. We have camp sound side, without much problem. Skeeters are not to bad on the beach. Keep food covered at night. Raccoons are rampant at night. They will be after your food before the tent is zipped close. Also use extra-long tent stakes.

With your paddling history, this should be a piece of cake.

Google Map

Couple of You Tube Videos from past trips.

Great Info
Medawgone, this will be a great help and appreciate you stopping by and sharing your knowledge of the area. We are looking forward to a good paddle, a good experience!

Thank You!

going there this weekend
A few of us are paddling out there this Saturday and camping for the night. When are you going? Maybe we’ll get a chance to say hello.

Saturday or Sunday Capefear, maybe we will run into you, kayaks are Novus Composites red,green white hulls, maybe see you there!, Thanks

Sounds like 5 of us
It looks like 5 of us, with a plan to be on the water from Harker’s Island at 1 pm Saturday. The plan is to paddle through Barden Inlet and Cape Lookout Bight, paddle the open coast around Cape Lookout, and camp somewhere on the east facing beach. We’ve been talking about paddling around Cape Lookout for a while, and finally decided this was the weekend. The weather looks favorable.

I think I’ll be paddling my forest green over white Current Designs Extreme. I’ll keep an eye out for you. If by some crazy chance it works out to leave Harkers Island at the same time, feel free to meet us there at the launch. We’re all familiar with the area. You can paddle along out towards the lighthouse.

I don’t know your experience level, but if you’re comfortable with the coastal forcast and wave height and related surf through the Cape Lookout Shoals, and landing and launching on the beach, I think this should be a pretty cool experience for us. There are 3 of us that paddle and play in moderate surf together pretty regularly. And I think the other 4 besides myself all paddle together fairly regularly. So we have a pretty solid group put together for this one. If you’re skilled in open water and breaking waves, this could be a nice opportunity for you. Figured I’d throw it out there just in case. You might be more comfortable sticking with your own thing. But I figure you never know?

Have fun out there whatever the case.

Thanks Capefear
we are loading up now, there is a chance we could hook up at the launch or somewhere in the area, we appreciate your offer and would be great to meet you and your friends, we are pretty comfortable on the water and have paddled in many various conditions, 45 degs here, heading south!!..Thanks again

nice and calm this morning
We did the trip as planned. James said he thinks he saw you launching there shortly after 12 noon on Saturday. I hope you had a good trip. It was a beautiful camping night. Clear skies and a NE breeze still blowing keeping the bugs away on the east facing beach where we camped. Very comfortable temperature-wise too. The no-see-ums were in force in the calm this morning though.

I wish I would have had my camera on Saturday, as it was quite knarly paddling through the shoals with the strong NE wind blowing through the morning. Looked like an entirely different place. Would have been really cool to have captured that.

But I did mount it this morning to catch a little of our paddle at the cape and shoals. Figured I could give everyone a peek at Cape Lookout on a calm morning. It was a very well spent weekend.

That was us launching
I am sure, we did see a guy at the launch site and I went up to him him and asked “Capefear”?. We are on our way back home, we had a fantastic time, camping 4 nights, and paddled in early to load up this morning, 2 nights on Cape Lookout and 2 nights on Shackleford, seas were calm, playful at times, we were struck how shallow it was in areas, saw a sea turtle , stingray, tons of bait fish, no-see-ums, could sure do without them! According to the GPS we averaged 10mi each day exploring and enjoying the perfect weather during the day and star gazing on wonderful starry nights, The people we met said we picked a great week to enjoy the area, you all are lucky to have this area to paddle. Thanks to you, Kudzu and Medawgone for the information and the invite to join your paddle, we WILL return! It was Great!

Glad You Enjoyed it
Central NC is a great place to live. Not very far from the coast or the mountains.