- 204 Ratings
Harkers Island Ferry Gateway to Shackleford Banks
Cruise to Shackleford Banks Island on a scenic ferry trip that gets you there in no time. Watch for wildlife as you head to your destination and decide which fun activities to take part in.
What You Will Do
- Leave dry land behind with a ferry ride to the east end of Shackleford Banks
- Enjoy captivating sights of wild horses as they race along the shore
- Hunt for seashells, spot birds overhead, and camp in view of the lighthouse
- Ferry trip
24-hour cancellation policy for a full refund.
- 204 Ratings
We have taken this trip over from Harkers Island and Beaufort. This trip the ferry over and back was perfect but when we got to Shacklford Banks we were sort of trapped on which way to start walking because the water was so high...not enough sand to walk without crossing shin-deep water. Our trip was cancelled out of Beaufort and we left out of Harkers Island which was fine except we thought we'd be left at a different location. All ok, and understand we can not control mother nature but we just had different expectations because of past trips.
We made a reservation on line a couple of weeks prior to our visit to Atlantic Beach to go to Shackleford Banks from the Beaufort Marina. We specifically wanted to go to the opposite end of the island, and learned only the day before that no ferries were going there. We were most disappointed to have to drive the much further distance to Harkers Island to take the ferry. Our day on the ferry was lovely---the crew we came into contact with were very nice, helpful and answered any questions.
We were camping at cape lookout and scheduled a trip from cape lookout to shackleford island. We were taken to harkers island instead. Although we enjoyed the boat ride, it cut into our time on shackleford island. The driver of the boat was awesome and very polite and apologetic though.
I was only able to reserve tickets online using my mobile device. The webpage would not let me reserve the ride on a pc. On memorial day only one window was open for picking up tickets. We arrived half an hour early and got through the line and got right on the ferry since they began boarding, even though we had a reservation. The process was disorganized and we waited for at least 7 more minutes as the captain tried to get a couple more people on the boat. The ride itself was pleasant and uneventful.
The details of the trip said it would take 15-20 minutes to get to the island and we might be able to see dolphins and turtles. We made it to the island in 5 minutes. There was no way we would have been able to see anything if it was there. Wish the boat pilot would have gone a little slower. Was very glad I skipped breakfast because I don't think it would have stayed down. Also bought tickets for one island and told it was another when we picked up the tickets. Be careful if you buy your tickets online when choosing a port to leave from. Thought I bought them to leave from Beaufort but the email said Harker's Island.
It wasn't the fault of Ferry Gateway; it was windy, and we had to leave from Harkers rather than Beaufort, where we were booked, so we had to drive to Harkers, adding to the car time. But again, not the fault of Ferry Gateway, which promptly got us booked on the ferry leaving from Harkers after the trip from Beaufort was cancelled.
It was hard to get on & off the island from the boat. Maybe you should mention that people with handicaps might not be able to take the ferry. My heart sank when I saw how I had to get off at Shackleford Banks. I also could not get off at the island with the wild horses.
When I go camping again at Shackleford island I will take this ferry service again. It is so convenient that one of their ferries departs right from the Harkers visitors center , for thats a fun place to check out whats around. The ferry was on time and the captain was very nice to help us with our stuff on and off the boat. We camped out on the island, and the captain called us in the morning so we could pick out a time to depart back to the mainland. On the return ferry, we got to get closer to the lighthouse and the captain took a beautiful photo of us infront of it. I cant wait to go again!
This whole experience was like a dream! Very nice captains on the ferry made sure our group picture had the lighthouse in the background. Shackleford Banks was breathtaking to share the land with the wild horses I can't wait to camp there again!!
We really enjoyed the ride and hospitality of the Harkers Island Ferry crew. They were informative, friendly and so pleasant. We traveled with a 2-yr old & were a little delayed getting onboard. They were patient, understanding and kind. This is a fabulous experience...recommend it for everyone!
The guy driving the ferry was very polite, got my dog and I there safely and returned on time.