How to visit Uninhabited amazing Portsmouth Island?

29 March 2024 |  Published By: Hotels OBX

The Enchantment of Portsmouth Island Awaits

Get ready to be swept off your feet by Portsmouth Island, a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical allure. This unspoiled paradise invites you to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the things to see in Portsmouth. Relaxing on tranquil beaches and exploring the abandoned village are two top things to do in Portsmouth. After a day of exploration and discovery, Comfort Inn South Oceanfront stands ready to envelop you in warmth and comfort, ensuring your adventure is as restful as it is exhilarating. So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your camera, and prepare for an unforgettable journey to the enchanting Portsmouth Island. Your island adventure is just a ferry ride away – let the magic of this secluded wonder captivate your spirit.

Exploring Uninhabited Portsmouth Island

If you're on the hunt for things to do in Portsmouth and have a penchant for adventure mixed with a dash of mystery, then a visit to the enigmatic Portsmouth Island, NC, should be on your travel itinerary. But before you pack your bags and head out, you might wonder why an entire island is abandoned. The story behind it is as fascinating as the island itself. And when it comes to where to stay to make the most of your trip, Comfort Inn on the Ocean and Comfort Inn South Oceanfront offer the perfect retreat after a day of exploration. Portsmouth Island, off the coast of North Carolina, is an unspoiled sanctuary for outdoor enthusiasts. There are so many outdoor things to do in Portsmouth. If you're planning to make the trip, there are a few things you need to know.

The Tale of Portsmouth Island’s Abandonment

Once the lifeblood of North Carolina's maritime hustle, bustling with seafarers and merchants, Portsmouth Island now whispers tales of days long gone. It's a plot twist worthy of a novel: a thriving port town established in the 1750s slowly succumbed to the whims of nature and the tides of change. The Civil War and subsequent hurricanes started the unraveling, but the evolution of shipping routes delivered the final blow. By the 1970s, the island had its last call for permanent residents, turning it into a real-life ghost town, albeit without the tumbleweeds and spooky sound effects.

Imagine, if you will, a place paused in time, where buildings and artifacts stand as silent witnesses to a once-vibrant community. This isn’t your typical tourist trap; its history is preserved in the sand and sea air, a rare chance to walk through a chapter of the past left untouched by modern hands. Portsmouth Island's abandonment might seem like a mystery, but it's a story of resilience, nature, and the inevitable march of time. A place where the past lingers, inviting the curious to explore what once was and wonder at the natural beauty that endures.

Can You Visit Portsmouth Island, NC? Yes, and Here’s How!

Your journey to Portsmouth Island starts long before you set foot on its sands. Begin by charting the ferry schedules. Regular ferries operate from Ocracoke to Portsmouth, but the services are as weather-dependent as the island itself. The ferry pricing varies based on vehicle type, and visitors are encouraged to book well in advance because spots can fill up quickly. Book in advance, keep tabs on the forecast, and be prepared for schedule changes. The ferry service operates from spring to fall, but please check ahead for any seasonal variations or unexpected schedule changes that could affect your trip. You'll check off the ferry ride first on your list of things to do in Portsmouth!

Remember, this is not a run-of-the-mill beach outing. There aren’t any paved roads, so you’ll need a 4WD vehicle and you'll need a permit, available through the National Park Service. Respect these guidelines, and the island's solitude will be preserved. If you don’t have a 4WD vehicle, you can also book an ATV tour with Portsmouth Island Adventures.

Remember to keep your camera at the ready – the ride to the island is your first encounter with the island's untouched splendor.

Things to Do in Portsmouth

Step into the abandoned village, where history peeks from every nook and cranny, begging for a photo op. Here, the historic homes, the quaint post office, and the stoic Portsmouth Island Church stand as silent sentinels of yesteryears. Don your explorer's hat and venture beyond the village. The pristine beaches beckon, offering a sanctuary for fishing enthusiasts, bird watchers, and beachcombers alike. Fancy yourself a bit of a treasure hunter? The shores are littered with gifts from the sea, just waiting to be discovered. And when night falls, prepare for an astronomical treat—the stars here shine with an intensity only rivaled by your wonder. So, whether you're a history buff on a pilgrimage or a nature lover in search of tranquility, you’ll find things to do in Portsmouth. Remember to tread lightly and keep your curiosity kindled; the island's unspoiled beauty is a chapter in your adventure book waiting to be written.

  • Beachcombing: Portsmouth Island's beaches are some of the most pristine and secluded in the region. Here, shells of all shapes and sizes wash ashore, each a natural work of art waiting to be discovered.
  • Birdwatching: The island is a birdwatcher's paradise, with a variety of seabirds, shorebirds, and waterfowl dwelling in its marshes, dunes, and flat expanses. Bring your binoculars and camera for the chance to spot rare species in their natural habitat.
  • Camping: Primitive camping is the best way to experience the solitude and serenity of Portsmouth Island fully. Set up your tent beneath the stars and fall asleep to the sound of the waves – it's a sensory experience like no other. Just be sure to bring everything you need, including water and supplies, as the island has no facilities. This particular thing to do in Portsmouth is not for everyone.
  • Fishing: The waters around Portsmouth Island are teeming with life. Whether casting a line from the shore or venturing out on a charter, the fishing here is world-class. Red drum, flounder, and bluefish are just a few of the species you might reel in.

Recommended Accommodations

Rest and recharge before and after your Portsmouth Island adventure at the Comfort Inn South Oceanfront or Comfort Inn on the Ocean hotels. These Comfort Inn properties offer unbeatable views of the Atlantic Ocean. After a day in the sun and salt air, you'll appreciate the comfort and amenities of these inviting accommodations. Contact us to make reservations. After you’ve done all the things to do in Portsmouth explore other areas of the Outer Banks like Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

Safety Tips and Recommendations

Packing Essentials: When preparing for your visit to Portsmouth Island, remember that you'll be in a remote location. Bring plenty of water, sun protection, insect repellent, and suitable clothing. If you are planning an overnight camping experience, pack a portable stove or grill for cooking and all necessary foods. Don't forget to pack a first aid kit and emergency supplies in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Weather Considerations: The weather can be unpredictable, especially on an island exposed to the open ocean. Check the forecast and be prepared for changing conditions. High winds and tides can affect ferry schedules, so it's wise to have a backup plan in place in case of a delay.

History and Nature: Things to do in Portsmouth

Historic Sites: Portsmouth Island is a time capsule of a bygone era. Wander through the remains of the village that once thrived here, now a ghost town reclaimed by the sandy landscape. The schoolhouse, church, and lifesaving station still stand, whispering stories of the past to those who listen.

Wildlife Encounters: The island is not only a sanctuary for human visitors but also for the creatures that call it home. Wild horses roam free, and the waters are a haven for dolphins. Keep a respectful distance and allow these majestic animals to go about their day undisturbed.

Safety Tips and Recommendations

Packing Essentials: When preparing for your visit to Portsmouth Island, remember that you'll be in a remote location. Bring plenty of water, sun protection, insect repellent, and suitable clothing. A portable stove or grill for cooking, as well as all necessary foods, are a must. Don't forget to pack a first aid kit and emergency supplies in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Weather Considerations: The weather can be unpredictable, especially on an island exposed to the open ocean. Check the forecast and be prepared for changing conditions. High winds and tides can affect ferry schedules, so it's wise to have a backup plan in place in case of a delay.

Portsmouth Island offers a rare opportunity to disconnect and immerse yourself in the unspoiled wilderness of the Outer Banks. As you plan your trip to the Outer Banks and Portsmouth Island, contact us to reserve your hotel room!

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