Nov 10, 2014

Cape Lookout, North Carolina


Ain't she a bute? There are a million things about the North Carolina coast that are worth seeing and gushing about...this gorgeous lighthouse and national park is definitely one of them. As I mentioned in my previous post retelling the story of our amazing family beach vacation, we did practically nothing that whole vacation. The only exception to nothing that we "older kids" did do was visit the Cape Lookout Lighthouse & National Seashore. It was a semi-cloudy morning and there were rain showers in the forecast, so we figured taking one day off from baking in the sun on the beach wouldn't be a bad idea. From our Emerald Isle beach house near the Pointe, it was a leisurely 1.5 hour drive to Hawker's Island where we caught to ferry to the Outer Banks (Cape Lookout, to be exact). We armed ourselves with our cameras, bathing suits, and a family-sized bag of Cool Ranch Doritos (we clearly thought our day through) and made our way to do some beach sight-seeing.

On the ferry from Harker's Island, you could choose from two destinations. One straight to Cape Lookout or one that also made a stop at Shackleford Banks, a gorgeous island inhabited by dozens of wild horses (the oldest documented horse population in America, mind you). As much as I wanted to stop and run with the pretty horses, we opted to stay on the ferry and skip that particular stop (time was limited that day). We did, however, watch them eat and run freely across the island from our ferry seats. Such a crazy place to see so many beautiful horses! But...on to the Cape!


Before making our way to the lighthouse itself, we decided to explore the park and the beach. We'd heard there are some amazing shells that land on the shores each morning, so we pulled out our shell bags and started combing the beach for a few souvenirs. Sadly, all the large conch shells were either broken or had been scooped up by early risers, but we still got some gorgeous shells to commemorate our day there. I, of course, spent quite a lot of time snapping photos. It was super clear to see why Nicholas Sparks chooses to set his books all along the NC coastline...it's truly fairytale worthy. The sea oats swaying in the wind, the crashing waves, the daymark patterned light beacon commanding the coastal skyline...it's enough to send any beach-lover straight to Cloud 9. 


By the time mid-day rolled around, so came the ominous clouds and piercing winds. We'd dodged rain and storms all week long, but this one wasn't going to pass us over. After the shell gathering adventure and a quick rest on the beach (with a friendly seagull and our bag of Doritos), we decided we better make our way to the top of lighthouse before they closed it for the storms. The 163 ft. high Cape Lookout Lighthouse gave us 207 steps to its highest vantage point. Once we were standing at the top, you could feel the chill and moisture in the air, not to mention the whipping winds gusting by us as 20+ miles per hour. We were told to hang on to the handrails and not wander to the rear of the lighthouse because the wind gusts were enough to blow a grown man off. Yikes. Even with the wind howling and the dark clouds rolling overhead, we took in some insanely gorgeous views. Stormy weather looks good on the Outer Banks. Not every beach could say that.


Naturally, as we made our way down the lighthouse steps and towards the ferry dock, the bottom fell out. I'm talking non-stop heavy rain for at least an hour. We were cold and soaked riding the rocking ferry back to Harker's Island, but laughed the entire way. A day and adventure we'll remember for vacations to come. Now D and I have a goal to see as many of the NC lighthouses as we can. 1 down, 20 to go! Guess we need another NC vacation, stat!

17 comments:

  1. It is all like something you would see on a post card - beautiful!! & great pictures too!!

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  2. That lighthouse is gorgeous! We just visited some lighthouses in Maine, and I fell in love with lighthouses there. I definitely want to make it to NC someday! Gorgeous beach and lighthouses? Yes please!

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  3. Beautiful pictures! Sounds like a great trip! I love the outer banks!

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  4. Looks amazing! I love NC but haven't been there yet! Definitely someplace I would like to visit :)

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  5. I always love going to lighthouses. Something about them just draws me in. www.eatallovertheworld.weebly.com

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    1. Ditto. They're just too darn adorable. And being by the sea is always nice!

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  6. Beautiful! Looks like I'll have to add NC to my bucket list. :)

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  7. Lovely photos. Postcard perfect!
    Leonie ♥ IkonikBeauty

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  8. Oh I would love to visit a lighthouse, I liked these photos

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  9. These are gorgeous photos! My family used to vacation in the Outer Banks, too. Your post made me call my mom and beg for another summer up there! :)

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  10. Lighthouses have always something really charming! This one too :) omg... how many shells? :D
    Great pics by the way!

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    1. Agreed! Very charming! And there were so many shells…many broken, though. Kind of sad we missed the good ones, but I guess we'll just have to go back and go EARLY!

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  11. I've had a few family reunions in the Outer Banks. So beautiful. And you're right - I always loved the storms there!

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  12. Gorgeous! I have been to the mountains in NC but never the coast. The Outer Banks is on my travel list for sure. If you ever want to see more lighthouses you should make a trip to the Great Lakes. Hundreds line the shores!

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  13. Beautiful photos! This makes me want to plan a stateside-beach vacation! Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Your pictures are gorgeous! NC was already on my bucket list (thanks Mr Sparks, does it really sound that bad?) but seeing your amazing photos I'm happy we planned a week in North Carolina so we have time to explore! xx

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