Walking and hiking here is like making a pilgrimage to solitude; the farther you get from the ferry landings, the more serene the island gets. The landscape is stark and the atmosphere is rugged, and anyone who appreciates the outdoors will find it inviting. Hiking the islands allows you the chance to see wildlife, birdlife, and sealife and to get a better understanding of barrier island ecology. When you get tired, pitch a tent and sleep on the beach, right next to the ocean.
Fifty-six miles of pristine ocean beach await you, though those miles are broken up by inlets. There are 24 miles of South Core Banks, 18 miles of North Core Banks, 9 miles of Shackleford Banks and, if you can get there, 4 miles of Middle Core Bank between Old Drum and New Drum Inlets. Unless you have a boat or kayak, it is not possible to get to one of these islands from the other, although some ferry operators will shuttle passengers between the southern portion of South Core Banks and Shackleford Banks. Usually you have to go back to the mainland and take a ferry to the next island of choice.
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