Paddling the Core Banks?

We’re planning to do a trip from the Core Banks up through the Outer Banks in early July. While I’ve been going to OBX since I was little, I’ve never been south of Hatteras. Does anyone know of good launch sites, camping, etc. Really any and all information would be appreciated.


core banks
i’ve paddled over to the core banks in july and i’ve got to say that the banks in july aren’t a great place to camp—very little to no shade, quite hot and humid, and the mosquitoes, biting flies, and no-see-ums are horrible! the only time we were comfortable was up to our necks in the ocean. october, november, april, and may are much better months to explore these beautiful islands. if you are determined to go, the resupply for water will be at the cape lookout lighthouse on the south island and at the ferry landing on portsmouth island. camp on the beach side for the breeze and be prepared to spend from sundown to sunrise in the tent to avoid being eaten alive. even in october, the mosquitoes were very active on the warmer evenings. them salt marsh skeeters are no joke! -h


eek. i was concerned about the bugs . . . but i didn’t think they’d be as bad as you say. the thing is, we’ll be in the area for a wedding, and so i was hoping to just hang around for at least a few days to explore the area by water.

if it’s possible, maybe day trips would better?

day trips
day trips would be better, imho. paddling over to shackleford banks and/or the cape lookout lighthouse are easy paddles with lots of opportunities to beach comb and play. crossing over to portsmouth island from davis is about a 3 mile paddle, though watch the currents around the inlet. from ocracoke village to the north end of portsmouth island and portsmouth village is doable, though the bugs may make exploring the abandoned village miserable. for any trip, carry bug spray/bug clothing, sunscreen, and plenty of water. the core banks and portsmouth island are beautiful, wild places worth seeing. be careful and have a good trip. oh, one other option would be to rent a cabin on portsmouth island reservations are through the park service ( -h

thanks for the info. it’s very much appreciated . . . i guess we’ll look to do more day paddles, including the ones that you mentioned. and i’ll definitely check out the cabins.

while geared towards the fisherman, this website has a lot of info about the calo (cape lookout national seashore). the folks at morris marina are quite friendly and helpful. also, if you’re going to be in the area, there are paddling opportunities all around, such as lake mattamuskeet national wildlife refuge, aligator river national wildlife refuge, bear island/hammocks beach state park, merchant’s millpond state park, the roanoke and chowan rivers, in addition to calo. it is a great area, one of my favorites, but well covered in skeeters and biting flies in the summer. hope this will be helpful. -h

One more…
Lake Phelps in Pettigrew State Park is an easy paddle, and looking for the prehistoric dugout canoes buried in the bottom is a pretty cool way to spend a few hours. Check in with the Rangers and they’ll tell you the area to search, but no exact locations because they want them preserved.

Also, if you’re a history buff the park has an extensive rebuilt plantation with tours.