Everything to Know about Shackleford Banks

Located on the Southern Outer Banks, you will find Shackleford Banks, a system of barrier islands just off the coast of Beaufort and Harkers Island— with Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle close by. This spot is perfect for beachgoers, campers, and nature lovers alike. It is truly one-of-a-kind and a Crystal Coast gem! Whether visiting with friends or family, you will find plenty of things to do and see near your Spectrum rental that’ll keep everyone entertained. And if you’re looking to make memories, be sure to include a trip to “Shack.” It’s only accessible by boat—and so worth the trip!

The History of Shackleford Banks

The undeveloped barrier island is the ideal destination for anyone wanting to enjoy the beach and breathe in the salt air. Part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, the land was first acquired by John Shackleford, a Virginia planter, in the early 1700s, and it was known as Cart Island. It was once inhabited by 500 folks who fled during the hurricane of 1899 and never returned. The National Park Service acquired the island in the 1960s and now keeps its current inhabitants — the wild horses— safe by monitoring their health and managing the herd.

What to Do on the Island

The best way to reach Shackleford Banks is on a tour with the Island Express Ferry Service. There are cruises that depart from both Beaufort and Harkers Island. Times vary depending on the season, and we recommend purchasing your seats early.

There are several things to do during your island escape. The shoreline is known as one of the best spots on the Crystal Coast to go shelling. See how many Scotch bonnets, sand dollars, and other ocean relics you can find. The same waters that wash these treasures onto shore are also great for fishing and kayaking.

Perhaps the main reason people visit Shackleford Banks is to see the wild horses that are believed to be descendants of shipwrecked Spanish Mustangs from the late 1500s. There are more than 100 wild horses that call the island home. A great way to see and learn about these beauties is on an unforgettable walking tour of the island with the Shackleford Wild Horse and Shelling Safari.

Reserve Your Crystal Coast Home Base

A North Carolina rental close to Shackleford Banks.

One of the best things about staying at a Spectrum Rental Properties home is that adventure surrounds you! Spend a day exploring Shackleford Banks before grabbing a bite at a Harkers Island restaurant for some fresh local seafood and southern hospitality!

While all of our North Carolina vacation rentals are close to top area activities and attractions, they are, more importantly, a relaxing place to call home. Whether you want to stay in Atlantic Beach or Beaufort, we have an accommodation that fits your needs and wants. Call 252-247-7610 for help reserving your dream home away from home.

Plan Your Next Stay

If you’re ready to book your getaway to the Crystal Coast, get in touch with Spectrum Rental Properties today. We can’t wait to welcome you to our properties!