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Harkers Island

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Harkers island

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Peace, Quiet, and Beauty Abound

Seaside Charm

Life in this quaint, seaside town is anything but dull, with an abundance of stunningly beautiful outdoor attractions, from beaches to marches to green fields and lush vegetation. Explore the Shackleford Banks, part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore and admire the wild horses wandering the beaches. Charter a fishing boat, or escape to absolute serenity in the solitude of a kayak. Take a ferry to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse for breathtaking views out over the Atlantic, step back through time at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center, or simply sit back and enjoy the quiet life in Harkers Island.

Economy & Business

The primary industries of Harkers Island include fishing, boat-building, and tourism, with just 22 businesses located on the island. Most of these businesses pertain to food, service, and tourism or boat-building. Many islanders are self-employed fishermen, with commercial fishing one of the island’s most continuously important industries throughout history. The island is also home to Harkers Island Elementary, a K–8 school of Carteret County Public Schools. If you’re looking for a true seaside village that’s escaped the passage of time, Harkers Island is that village.

Rich History Preserved Through Centuries

Unique Dialect

One of the most notable and unique features of Harkers Island is its distinct dialect, shared with native residents of the Outer Banks, which has been studied by scholars for decades. Because the original settlers of the island were isolated from the mainland for almost 250 years, they developed their own style of speech, often called “High Tider”, the intonation and verbiage of which dates back to the times of Elizabethan English. This intriguing blend of Old English words and unique island phraseology is spoken by as many as 500 natives directly descended from original settlers.

Island History

The area of Harkers Island was originally occupied by Coree Native Americans until the arrival of the first European explorers of the 16th century. Though the land was sold several times, it wasn’t truly developed until 1730 when Ebenezer Harker, a whaler from Boston, settled and built a plantation and boat yard. The island’s population would see a dramatic increase in 1899 when residents of the Outer Banks immigrated to Harkers Island to escape their hurricane-ravaged homes. Throughout the centuries, the primary industries of the island have remained fishing and boat building.

Nearby Areas

Atlantic Beach is conveniently located just minutes from the attractions of many nearby communities! All the shopping, dining, and events of the Morehead City waterfront are just a 5 minute drive across the Bogue Sound, and Pine Knoll Shores, home to the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area and the North Carolina Aquarium, is just ten minutes to the west. The historic maritime community of Beaufort is just 15 minutes across the Sound. Luckily, you're never far from some of the best Crystal Coast attractions when you're vacationing here in Atlantic Beach so you can truly experience the lifestyle.


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