A Beginner’s Guide to Harkers Island

If you’re looking for a relaxing and secluded place to escape everyday life, a North Carolina vacation is just the thing for you. The Crystal Coast area is a great place to visit when you want somewhere quaint to enjoy the water and mingle with the locals. In particular, Harkers Island is a great destination for spending time with your loved ones or simply letting your worries float away with the tide. Here’s a glimpse into all you need to know about Harkers Island, one of the best places to stay in Crystal Coast, NC.

Welcome sign to Harkers Island || Spectrum Vacation Rental Properties

Where is it?

As we’ve mentioned, Harkers Island is a community located along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast.  It’s a tiny Island at only 3.8 square miles and is just 30 minutes away from Emerald Isle. You will find this piece of paradise just east of Morehead City and Beaufort.

What is it Known For?

By far the most popular attraction in Harkers Island is the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. You can easily take a ferry ride to reach the lighthouse, and once you get there, you can swim along the Cape Lookout National Seashore or take a tour of the premises. One of the other biggest attractions of Harkers Island is the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center, where you get a unique perspective on the history and wildlife that makes this area special.

Image of Cape Lookout Lighthouse on Harkers Island || Spectrum Properties

How to Get There

To get to Harkers Island, you will have to drive down US-70. You’ll come in northeast if you’re traveling from Morehead City or Beaufort, or you’ll be coming southwest if you’re traveling in from Cedar Island or the Outer Banks. Once you’re on US-70, turn on to Harkers Island Road, which is a straight shot onto the island.

What to Do

Once you’re on Harkers Island, there is plenty to see and do. Of course, you’ll have to visit the Cape Lookout Lighthouse to see what all the hype is about. Take an inexpensive boat ride to Lighthouse, take part in a tour to learn about the history, then spend the rest of the afternoon sunbathing or swimming in the water. You’ll also need to visit the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, which is a great destination if you’re on a budget, as admission is free. Come look at the waterfowl art and decoy carving, learn about local artifacts and hear oral histories, and check out the rotating exhibits and special programs.

Head to the ghost village of Portsmouth for an interesting twist on your vacation. The settlement was abandoned after a hurricane in 1899, and the empty streets are truly a sight to be seen. For something a little tamer, you can visit any of the marinas or the Harkers Island Fishing Center to cast your line for fish, or you can head to Shell Point to try to collect a unique seashell to remember your travels by.

Plate of fish, slaw, and sweet potato fries from the Fish Hook Grill on Harkers Island || Spectrum Properties

Where to Eat

Harkers Island is also home to some of the freshest seafood in North Carolina. Fish Hook Grill is just steps away from many of our Harkers Island rentals, and you’ll be able to find a casual atmosphere with delicious seafood. The Seaside Galley is another great option, and it’s a budget-friendly destination for your whole family to visit. 

You can also head into Beaufort to experience Blackbeard’s Grill and Steam Bar, where you can enjoy the live music while you feast on everything from seafood to burgers. Finally, visit Aqua Restaurant in Beaufort for a meal with a Spanish twist, allowing you to sample tapas, local seafood, and a unique selection of martinis.

Where to Stay

All of these great attractions and more can be found just minutes from our Harkers Island rentals. We are proud to offer quaint and cozy vacation homes that are perfect for any size group. Our experienced team can’t wait to help you plan for your dream getaway. To learn more about Harkers Island and all of our Crystal Coast and Atlantic Beach vacation rentals, contact us today!