I'm a published wedding and portrait photographer located in a small town outside of Charlottesville. In addition to capturing beautiful images, I love spending time with my family, am freakishly good at word games (Hey Wheelmobile!), love an ice cold can of Coke or Dr. Pepper, know every line to Hocus Pocus and can never pass up a Chick-fil-A waffle fry or a trip to HomeGoods.
Each summer, my husband, Ron, and I spend a week in the Outer Banks, Nags Head area with his family. We also tend to visit by ourselves in the spring or fall, traveling from Corolla to Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke, but one of our favorite areas is farther south. We first went to Emerald Isle a few years ago and loved it. One of our favorite things to do while in the area is spend a day at Cape Lookout.
To get to Cape Lookout, we pick up a ferry in Harkers Island. When we first made the trip, the ferry was operated by locals, but now its operated through the National Park Service from the Harkers Island Visitor Center. There are also ferries from Beaufort, and although we visit the town, we usually don’t take the ferry from there. Roundtrip, the whole thing is about $30 for the two of us, which is well worth it. You can actually get off on some smaller islands, which are great for shelling or spotting the Shackleford Banks ponies, but we get off at the Cape Lookout spot.
We try to take an early ferry so we can spend the entire day at Cape Lookout, coming back on the latest one available, usually around 5 p.m. We waste the hours away, soaking up the sun, reading books and checking out the local wildlife. Plus, I take tons of pictures and love that I can lay on the beach, watch the waves splash and have the lighthouse in the background. We try to pack food and drinks as well, since there’s nothing available on the island, except for a few drinks and bags of chips in the visitor center.
Because it’s accessible by ferry and we visit during the offseason, the place is usually fairly deserted. There are no homes on the island, so it isn’t crowded like the mainland beaches. It makes for a great, relaxing day. I can’t wait to go back!