Docks & Anchorages

Boats anchored offshore at Cape Lookout National Seashore.


Docks at the following locations may be used for loading and unloading passengers and gear.

  • just north of the lighthouse in Bardens Inlet
  • westside of Shackleford Banks, near Beaufort Inlet
  • Haulover dock on the westside of Portsmouth
  • Wallace Channel dock on the northeast side of Portsmouth

Boats may not moor (tie up) to these docks for longer than it takes to load/unload. For long stays, boats must anchor away from the dock and out of the way of other boats.


There are a number of areas that provide easy access to the soundside beaches or a place to stay overnight on your boat. Where you drop your anchor will depend on the draft (depth) of your boat.

  • Sailboats and deep draft vessels - in Cape Lookout Bight behind the spit - deep water runs close to the spit in this area.
  • Houseboats and shallow draft vessels - in Cape Lookout Bight behind the spit and along Shackleford Banks from Whale Creek to Wades Shore.

Vessels may anchor for a total of 14 days in water within the boundaries of Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Last updated: January 31, 2017

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