What to See and Explore...
One of the jewels of the Crystal Coast lies just a short 15 minute ride from mainland Beaufort.
Stretching nine miles in length running west to east, this island has it all. It is home to approximately 120 wild Banker Ponies and the best shelling location on the east coast.
There is a marked graveyard complete with headstones still on the island. You can actually visit this graveyard, which is one of the oldest graveyards in the area and Captain Monty can give you the history of the island's inhabitants.
Another interesting fact, pirates are nearby. Divers discovered what they believe to be the remains of Blackbeard's flag ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, just off the shore of Shackleford Banks. You can find some of the retrieved artifacts in the Maritime Museum on Front Street.
What YOU want to do and the prime destination on your trip will dictate what you might need to pack.
Cape Lookout Lighthouse & South Core Banks:
Built in 1859, Cape Lookout Lighthouse has protected the surrounding waters for over 150 years. It stands 163 feet tall and is also a day marker as well as a night beacon. South Core Banks, also so referred to as the Cape Lookout National Seashore, spans 56 miles over 4 undeveloped islands.
On the island you can visit the assistant lighthouse keeper's quarters where the museum of the area is located. There is also a visitor's center for other information. But there are secrets here too...
The remains of the Cape Lookout Village are just a short walk from the Landing into the island's interior. The 1888 life saving station, the original head keeper's quarters and the retired Coast Guard station are just a few of the highlights Captain Monty can tell you about in detail...
Comfortable shoes for walking, sunscreen and hat are recommended.
While aboard the boat, there is still plenty of wildlife to 'lookout' for, including four species of sea turtles. While shy, they do make appearances so keep your eyes open!
Dolphins also frequent the waterways to and from the lighthouse in pods (family groups) fishing or sometimes just playing about.
You never know what you might see...
For additional information, See: http://www.nps.gov/calo/index.htm
Rachel Carson Reserve:
While on a stroll in the town of Beaufort, you might take notice of the islands just across the way. Home to approximately 50 wild Banker Ponies and more than 200 species of birds, as well as other smaller marine life, the Rachel Carson Reserve is the third largest estuary on the eastern coast. It is comprised of four main islands: Carrot Island, Town Marsh, Bird Shoal and Horse Island and spans 2,025 acres of protected land where wildlife flourishes.
For nature and bird enthusiasts, this is a prime location for watching or photographing to your hearts delight! In the summer it becomes a feeding ground for Wilson's Plovers and in the winter, for Piping Plovers. The marsh areas support populations of egrets and a heron rookery. The island is also home to the river otter, gray fox, raccoon and marsh rabbit.
Upon request we can provide a seine net, perfect for combing the shallow waters to get a closer look at the marine life. The shallow waters provide safety for 52 species of fish and 47 species of invertebrates including mollusks and worms.
If this is an interest for you or your party, we recommend some protective foot gear with soles that can get wet. If venturing to the interior, close-toed shoes are appropriate; also, bring bug spray and dress for the weather. Keep in mind these are marsh flats and can be muddy in areas where the water is in the interior, so footwear that is protective and dry are good choices.
For Additional Information, See the NC Coastal Reserve Website: http://www.nccoastalreserve.net/
Historic Beaufort, North Carolina:
Pronounced Bo-Fort, not to be confused with the South Carolina city of Bew-fort, Beaufort is the third oldest town in North Carolina, founded in 1709. During the American Revolution, it was also the third largest port in the state.
Originally named "Fish Town," then "Paradise", then some name no one tends to remember because times were bad, and finally Beaufort Town around 1722, this sleepy coastal hide-away has seen its share of adventure.
There are historic homes dating back to colonial and civil war eras within the town's "historic district", which makes for a nice stroll along our quiet streets. But somethings you may not be able to see by just walking...
Don't miss out on the Old Burying Grounds, deeded to the town in 1713. In its confines you can find soldiers from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Civil War.
See town as the locals do and opt for a Taylor's Creek Cruise to see the historic seaport, homes and the remnants of one of the largest fishing communities of eastern North Carolina's maritime history. You will also cruise by two of the main islands that make up the Rachel Carson Reserve which is a perfect opportunity to look for wild Banker Ponies and other wildlife.
Once your time with us has ended, don't skip town! There are many restaurants, shops and local hangouts to visit. During the summer months most of the establishments will also have live music. So grab a chair and relax while the sun goes down...