By Sea

Visitors arriving by sea most often come via the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), which provides access by water to the Crystal Coast and passes by Morehead City, Beaufort, Swansboro and along Bogue Banks. To reach New Bern by water, slip into Pamlico Sound and head up the Neuse River. Beaufort is a favorite stop for boaters on the north-south ICW run in the spring and fall. Transient dockage at either the Beaufort Town Docks or Town Creek Marina is hospitable, and anchorage and docking points are available in several areas for both overnight or long-term stays. See our section on Marinas for details.

A variety of state-owned ferries and private ferries serve the Crystal Coast, offering visitors and residents an enjoyable transportation alternative via inland sounds and rivers.


N.C. Hwy. 12
Cedar Island, NC
(252) 225-7411
(800) 293-2779

The Cedar Island-Ocracoke Ferry Service carries passengers and vehicles between the Crystal Coast and Ocracoke Island, which is a 2¼ hours crossing. The Cedar Island ferry terminal is about 45 miles east of Beaufort, but allow at least an hour and a half for the car trip. Ferry reservations must be claimed...more about Cedar Island-Ocracoke Toll Ferry

148 Willis Road
Davis, NC 28524
(252) 729-3474

This four-generation ferry business serves South Core Banks of Cape Lookout National Seashore and carries passengers, 4-wheel drive vehicles and all-terrain vehicles five times a day from April  through mid-December on a reservation basis. Fares are $16 round-trip for adults, $8 for children ages 5 to 10 years, and free for children younger...more about Davis Shore Ferry Service

Ocracoke, NC
(800) 293-3779

40-minute crossing
No Reservations Accepted - Free Ferry

Summer Schedule May to October 2018
Departs hourly 5 AM - 7 AM; and 7 PM - Midnight; Departs every 30 minutes from 8 AM until 8 PM

January 1 to May 2018 and October 8 to December 2018 
Departs Ocracoke and Hatteras every hour...more about Hatteras-Ocracoke Free Ferry

Visitors Center
Harkers Island, NC
(252) 728-7433

The National Park Service offers ferry service from Beaufort, NC, to Harkers Island, NC, through Island Express Ferry. The ferry operates seven days a week, departing in Beaufort from Town docks on Front Street and at the Visitor Center in Harkers Island. The Harkers Island Visitor Center, where there are exhibits...more about Island Express Ferry

610 Front St.
Beaufort, NC
(252) 728-7555

Island Ferry Adventures is located at 610 Front Street on the Beaufort waterfront across from the Inlet Inn. This passenger ferry service operates approximately from late March to mid-October, beginning at 9 AM daily, weather permitting, with departures to Shackleford Banks, Carrot Island, Sand Dollar Island and Bird Shoals. The 1-1/4...more about Island Ferry Adventures

516 Island Rd.
Harkers Island, NC
(252) 728-2759

Local Yokel Ferry and Tours is operated by the Yeomans family and is the only ferry service that offers passengers a full view of Shackleford on the way to the Cape — complete with the horses, dolphin and waterfowl. The ferry begins operating at 9 AM and runs every hour in the summer,...more about Local Yokel Ferry and Tours

1000 Morris Marina Rd.
Atlantic, NC
(252) 225-4261

From the Down East community of Atlantic, which is off N.C. 12, this ferry and cabin rental service transports passengers, vehicles and all-terrain vehicles to Portsmouth or to the south end of North Core Banks at Drum Inlet from April through early December. Trips are run by reservation only, and the time...more about Morris Marina Kabin Kamps and Ferry Service, Inc.

Ocracoke, NC
(800) 293-3779

For reservations and to verify times call (800) BY-FERRY (293-3779) or use the website: All reservations must be paid for at the time they are made. For other questions on departures from Ocracoke, call (252) 928-1665; from Swan Quarter, call (252) 926-6021.

2½ hours crossing
Reservations Recommended
Fares are the...more about Ocracoke-Swan Quarter Toll Ferry

328 Front St.
Beaufort, NC
(252) 728-4129

Outer Banks Ferry Service operates year round seven days a week, weather permitting, and offers transportation to the Rachel Carson Reserve and to Shackleford Banks. The service runs on demand starting at 8:30 AM, depending on the season. Reservations should be made in advance. Costs depend on the destination. Rates for children...more about Outer Banks Ferry Service

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