North Carolina's unique coastal geography has kept practical a mode of travel that most would consider ridiculously impractical in this age of technology and high-speed transportation. Today, getting there and back is little more than a nuisance to be reckoned with when "traveling", and a "trip" is usually defined in terms of the destination, not in how you got there and back again.

It is refreshing, indeed, to know it is still possible to make the "getting there" as much a part of your trip as "being there". North Carolina's ferry system does it every day of the year. Once you drive your car, or truck, or motorcycle, or RV onto a ferry, you suddenly find that you have time to sit back and enjoy the view. In fact, it's mandatory (well, sort of). The Coastal Guide Map shows the location of four free ferrys and two toll ferrys which the state of North Carolina operates in the area covered by

   Knotts Island - Currituck Free Ferry

The northernmost ferry is a free ferry between Knott's Island and Currituck. Like all ferrys, the gulls and terns are a constant presence on this trip, as are the cormorants, who watch the ferrys go by from their favorite perches on buoys and channel markers. This particular ferry trip, for some reason, seemed to attract many more gulls than the other ferrys, particularly as the ferry left Currituck. Within ten minutes, though, their number thinned out quite a bit.

The "Gov. J.B. Hunt Jr." was making the Knotts Island-Currituck run on this day. It was a perfectly spectacular October day, and the crossings were over all too soon. Each 45-minute crossing seemed like only 15 minutes. The 9 a.m. run had only three vehicles crossing to Knotts Island. The noon return trip to Currituck had only four vehicles.

If you visit Knotts Island, do not expect to find the usual tourist amenities (fast food, motels, gift shops of "local crafts" made in Taiwan). This is rural eastern North Carolina, very much off the beaten tourist path. It is a quiet, pleasant, refreshing change from the condo complex that permeates the Currituck banks from Southern Shores to Corolla, and beyond. Pick a beautiful sunny day, take the ferry to Knotts Island, drive through the Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge to the Virginia border and back. Have a quiet picnic lunch at one of the viewing platforms, and enjoy the return ferry ride. It's a free ride you won't regret.

Here are a few more photos from Knotts Island, Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Currituck-Knotts Island ferry.

Left column - Two views of Mackay National Wildlife Refuge, and a cormorant diving for fish.
Right column - top row - Ferry slip at Currituck & the ferry "Gov. J.B. Hunt, Jr."
Right center - On the ferry & the Currituck landing
Right bottom - Ferry crew as ferry leaves Knotts Island slip & homes on Knotts Island

Next Ferry Page > Bayview-Aurora

Additional Ferrys:
NC Ferrys - Page One
Knotts Island-Currituck

NC Ferrys - Page Two

NC Ferrys - Page Three
Minnesot Beach-Cherry Branch

NC Ferrys - Page Four
Cedar Island-Ocracoke

NC Ferrys - Page Five
Swan Quarter-Ocracoke

NC Ferrys - Page Six

NC Ferrys - Page Seven
NC Ferry Fleet Photos

Related Links -

NC DOT Ferry Division

Copyright © 2003 Fred Hurteau           * Copyright information and image use policy *

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