Shackleford Island NC trip advice needed

-- Last Updated: Mar-14-07 10:08 AM EST --

My friends and I are looking to paddle to Shackleford Island this May, and I have found a couple of routes, but I am not sure which one would yield the best results.

1) Put in at Beufort and paddle around Carrot Island, then over to Shackleford.
2) Put in at Harker's Island at the Visitors Center and paddle over.

Both ways seem to be about the same distance, but I am looking for a pretty smooth ride if I can get it, and don't want any nasty surprises.

Has anyone been to the island that can give some good advice?

shackleford banks
i’ve paddled from the visitor center over to shackleford before. easy route, protected all the way until you turn the corner and come down the ocean side. watch the shallows just behind the island (can strand even a sea kayak). may is a great time to visit the island. hope you have good weather, that the skeeters aren’t too bad, and that the wild horses don’t step on your toes! -harry

I really appreciate the advice :slight_smile:

Shackleford Banks
Try this site. It may be of some help to you.

Beaufort area
I live in Beaufort and paddle the area waters often. Either route you are suggesting should be an easy paddle and is mostly protected waters. There will be some boat traffic to contend with as it gets warmer but that is a minor nuisance for the most part. If you plan on camping on the island there are little to no amenities available. You will need to pack in your water and food and pack out your trash. Be certain to check the tide tables so you will be paddling out and back with the tide.

Above is one reliable link that will be helpful.

I can also send a Google earth KMZ file if that helps marking the put ins.

Good luck and happy paddling.


Great advice…
…and thanks a lot. We just got back from a pretty hairy trip in Georgia at Crooked river and I am not wanting a repeat of history.

Cape Lookout
Ditto to what Dave said. Chiggers and ticks can drive you crazy. Be prepared! is a good link for info and downloadable brochures on Shackleford. Also, you might want to try And, if you don’t have the Paddling Maps of the area, go to and click on the link on how to order them.

Any day on the water is a great day.


The bug alert is well worth heeding. Sand fleas in abundance. Also the flats behind the dunes can flood in high tides even in seemingly fine weather. This can result in a flooded tent if you should happen to set up camp in one of these protected looking areas and then go off exploring.