Shackleford Banks, Harkers Island

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Shackleford Banks is a barrier island system on the coast of Carteret County, North Carolina. It contains a herd of feral horses, scallop, crabs and various sea animals, including summer nesting by loggerhead turtles. It is a tourist and beach camping site.Shackleford Banks is located near Harkers Island, North Carolina, Beaufort, North Carolina, and Fort Macon State Park, and is a part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore.HistoryIn 1713, the Virginia planter John Shackleford acquired several large tracts of land in Bath County, which included Shackleford Banks. Among these was a grant of land containing seven thousand acres (28 km²). This tract on the early maps was known as Sea Banks. It was then, and is now, part of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Carteret County.When John Shackleford first acquired his tract at Shackleford Banks, the island was known as "Cart Island," most likely after Carteret County. The last of the Virginia Shacklefords apparently sold their generations-old holding in 1805, when James Shackleford (the spelling of the name varies) of Carteret County sold his holdings on the Banks to Roger and John Shackleford of Georgetown, South Carolina, where a branch of the Virginia Shackleford family had eventually migrated. That deed specified "a certain parcel of land on Old Topsail Inlet, beginning at Whaler's Creek on said Banks and across to the sea; thence back to Old Topsail Inlet." (The Shackleford family traced their Virginia origins to the village of Shacklefords in King and Queen County.)
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Shackleford Banks Reviews
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  • We had a blast! Perfect weather, fantastic service, great shelling and relaxing on blow up beach beds!!  more »
  • The Outer Banks at their best! No hotels, flip flop shops, surf shops, bars or crowds. Shackleford Banks is part of the National Park Service and can be reached by Island Express Ferry Service from do...  more »
  • You take a ferry ride from Harkers Island to Shackelford Banks. There are no facilities but you can pack a cooler to take and have a picnic lunch...chairs for the beach...or just walk around and enjoy...  more »
Google
  • I loved my trip to Shackleford Banks! The horses were beautiful in their natural environment. Tide pool creatures were plentiful on the shores. The walk across the island was not difficult, but requires a watchful eye for cactus and horse manure, and stamina for walking up sandy hills.
  • You take a ferry to the island and get dropped off. You can stay ever how many hours you want and they come once an hour to pick up. There’s no walkway or steps, which keeps the natural integrity. Remember to bring water and snacks. There are great views of Cape Lookout National Seashore and the water is very clear and beautiful. We saw a few horses and collected lots of great shells.
  • Some of the best seafood I've ever eaten came from there shrimp n crab top notch, n oysters two
  • Great beach for the weekend getaway. Ferry access so you don't need a boat. Wild horses walk the beach and will even come up to your campsite. Beware of the Jellybirds as they are vicious little creatures.
  • The island is quite nice, if you walk around the inlet where the horses graze, you can sit in fairly calm water and enjoy the view. There are small rays swimming and mutiple ghost crabs on the beach. It is quite entertaining to watch the crabs. We saw a tern pick one up and drop it as the other birds went after it. If you want to see the horses, you want to be on the first or second boat out, the horses moved inland at 9:30 and we did not see them the rest of the day.
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