Cape Lookout National Seashore | CABIN RENTALS

Great Island cabins on the South Core Banks at Cape Lookout National Seashore

Great Island cabins on South Core Banks at Cape Lookout National Seashore

Cabins operated by the National Park Service are available for rent on South Core Banks from mid-March through the end of November. The cabin complex is located near the center section of the island called Great Island. Passenger and vehicle ferry service is available to the cabins.

Cabins on North Core Banks were destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. As of 2021, the National Park Service’s plan is to rebuild the cabin camp five miles to the north. As of 2024, nothing has been done and nothing more about the project has been published since the 2021 announcement.

Cabins sleep anywhere from 4 to 12 people. All have bunkbeds, bathrooms with hot water showers, table and chairs, gas stoves, and a charcoal grill. You must bring your own bed sheets or sleeping bags, cooking utensils, dishes, coolers, food, lighting (lanterns), and other supplies. Water is sometimes available in the summer, but don’t count on it—bring your own. There are no refrigerators, but ice is sold at the camp office (as is gasoline for your vehicle). Payment is credit / debit card only.

The cabins are wired for electricity, but you must bring your own generator (up to 5,500 watts). There are no air conditioners, but if you have a portable window unit and a generator to run it, you can install it. You do have to notify the National Park Service first so a Ranger can remove the window screen prior to your arrival. Call (252) 725-0256. Though I did not stay in a cabin, I did camp in a tent in early September on both North and South Core Banks. If the phrase “Hot as Hell” ever applied to a place on earth, it’s here. And there’s not a shade tree in sight.

Cabin at Great Island on South Core Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore

Cabin at Great Island on South Core Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore

Reservations are recommended, and since most guests take a ferry to get there, it is best to make sure you will have a place to sleep. You can make reservations online at Recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777. Any non-reserved cabins are available on a first come, first served basis and must be paid for with a credit or debit card at the camp office between 8 AM and 3 PM.

The best way to visit the island is with your own high-clearance 4-Wheel Drive vehicle, but you do not need a vehicle to get to the cabins. A park Ranger will meet you at the dock and transport you and your gear to your cabin, which is just around the corner (the ferry docks at the cabin complex). However, without your own vehicle you are stuck exploring only as far as you can walk.

Do not bring a 2-Wheel Drive vehicle. A Ranger told me that the only vehicles she has seen get stuck are 2-Wheel Drives, and despite warning visitors about bringing them over on the ferry, many still do. Some end up getting stuck immediately after getting off the ferry. It’s actually in the cabin complex area and on the ramps to the beach that the sand is softest and deepest, and even 4-Wheel Drives can get stuck in what is called “sugar sand.”

Sugar sand makes up the terrain of the back road near the cabins at Cape Lookout National Seashore

Sugar sand makes up the terrain of the back road near the cabins at Cape Lookout National Seashore

For complete information on cabin rentals, visit the National Park Service’s official Lodging web page for Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Great Island Cabin map (click to enlarge)

Great Island Cabin map (click to enlarge)

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Last updated on March 15, 2024
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