Portsmouth Island from Atlantic

Atlantic, North Carolina 28511

Portsmouth Island from Atlantic

Portsmouth Island from Atlantic Professional Review and Guide

"Established in 1753, Portsmouth grew to be the largest settlement on the Outer Banks. It remained the largest for one hundred years. At that time, Ocracoke Inlet was the major trade route through the Outer Banks. Large, heavily laden ships eventually found the inlet too shallow to sail through and were forced to transfer their cargoes to more shallow draft boats. Portsmouth was established to provide facilities for this process.

By the time the Civil War was getting started, many residents had fled to the mainland. The inlet had also begun to shoal and a new, deeper inlet was opened at Hatteras, shifting the shipping routes north. Isolation, a depressed economy, and the constant threat to homes and families from storms finalized the end of Portsmouth. The last residents on the island moved to the mainland in 1971. There remain old fishing and hunting shacks on the island that are used only during the season."

Portsmouth Island from Atlantic Reviews

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This is another great trail along the Core Banks of North Carolina. The trail is an easy paddle across a fairly protected section of the sound. During a NNE or SSW wind the crossing can be a little choppy. Even though the island is designated as 'non developmental' there are approximately 30 fishing cabins run by a private business. To really get away from the crowds turn North and paddle for a few miles. Be warned the mosquitos and biting flies can be vicious. Also, at low tide you might need to drag your kayak to get to shore.

Portsmouth Island from Atlantic Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
3 hours to overnight
Year-round, weather permitting
USGS: NC0024 Atlantic and NC0731 Styron Bay
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018