Cape Lookout is right next to Shackleford Banks on the Crystal Coast. A national seashore with 56 miles of protected shoreline, Cape Lookout is a beautiful, nearly untouched beach perfect for swimming, shell collecting and getting the best view of the coast from the top of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse.
Called the “Diamond Lady” for the black and white diamond pattern painted on the side, the Cape Lookout Lighthouse has 207 steps and an unbeatable view. It is a climb, so it’s not suitable for very young children or people not up for climbing the equivalent of 12 stories. But, the steps are not as forbidding as they seem and if you’re up for a little adventure, it’s well worth the effort. Be sure to buy tickets in advance, where you’ll be given a specific time to ascend the steps (and a complimentary history lesson).
Tip: The easiest way to get to both Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout is through the Island Express Ferry Service. The ferry takes you to both destinations and has easy pickup times and locations.