Even if you are a first-time visitor to Beaufort with no experience boating, you may find yourself contemplating a boat purchase.
Don’t make any hasty decisions. You really don’t need to own a boat to begin enjoying the water in Beaufort.
This is a mini-review of one quick and easy (and relatively inexpensive) way to get out on the water.
Lookout Cruises sailing along at sunset last week!
Lookout Cruises sails a 45-foot catamaran that is a feature of the east-end of the Beaufort waterfront. It is docked in a slip directly across from the Inlet Inn and beside the Boardwalk Cafe.
You can’t miss the Lookout; it is white with bright red, orange, yellow accents.
They offer three regular cruises daily when the weather is good: a morning dolphin watch, a lunch-time through late afternoon sail to Cape Lookout, and an evening sunset cruise.
Start with the sunset cruise. It lasts about two hours, and costs $30. Beer, wine, and soft drinks are included. As you have heard us say before, Beaufort sunsets are amazing, and the sunset cruise is a great way to catch one.
The catamaran is very comfortable and never seems crowded even with the max of 42 passangers aboard. The boat also has a great bathroom/head area. It has complete privacy and a full sized marine toliet.
Capt. Steve, the owner, is an excellent host as well as a confidence-inspiring sailor. He has one or two assistants aboard who always do a great job assuring everyone stays happy.
When you board, don’t be shy. Walk around to the front of the boat and have a seat along the nets or lean against the slanted front windows. Someone will be around to get you a drink in just a minute or two.
Don’t be afraid to stow your shoes and go barefoot.
If you want a little longer trip, consider the half-day Cape Lookout cruise. This one leaves sometime in the 11:00am hour and sails out of Beaufort Inlet and on the ocean in front of Shackleford Banks to Cape Lookout. The cost is $70 for adults and $55 for kids 12 and under.
A grandfather & grandson sailing to Cape Lookout
Lunch from the Beaufort Grocery is included. Soft drinks are included, but beer and wine go for a reasonable $2 a piece. Capt. Steve or his mates will keep a tab, and you can pay at the dock with cash or a credit card.
The cruise arrives at the point of the Cape that looks similar to a hook. Capt. Steve will drive the boat onto the beach. Lunch is served and he will then give everyone an hour or so to comb the beach for shells. He provides the bags and you can often find some really nice ones.
We have seen live sand dollars the size of small dinner plates along this section of the Cape.
We have seen dolphins and sea turtles, and lots of fish, rays, and skates. Be careful when you’re walking along the beach looking for shells, as there really are lots of rays and skates that can sting. Shuffle your feet to stir them up without stepping on them.
The cruise then heads around to the lighthouse for another hour or so of time exploring before returning to Beaufort.
Capt. Steve often brings along his little dog Chloe. If you have kids along, they’ll get a kick out of Chloe.
A kid getting a kick out of Chloe
We’ve been out with Lookout Cruises many times and have never had anything less than a stellar time. But, remember this is a weather dependent trip, so schedule accordingly. Watch the weather and if you can, check out the tides. If you are headed to the Cape, and can choose a day when low tide is around lunch, you’ll increase your chance for finding great shells.
Lookout Cruises is a quick and easy way to feed the urge to get out on the water without spending lots of money on your own boat!
Disclaimer: this is a from the heart review…we received no compensation of any kind from Lookout Cruises.
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