We took these photos on the Southport – Fort Fisher Ferry on the Outer Banks. We were in North Myrtle Beach and couldn’t find an available sunset cruise. That’s when an idea hit us. We planned to visit the Outer Banks anyway. Why not see if we could take a ferry instead? We searched online for the sunset time for the Outer Banks. Then, we looked at the ferry schedule and routes. Fort Fisher and Southport are the southernmost terminus points on the Outer Banks. Fort Fisher is at the end of US 421 and Southport is accessible from Route 211. We picked the closest ferry departure time to sunset and crossed our fingers.
We weren’t sure how to take a ferry since this was only our second time. We pulled up to the fee station to pay our $7.00. They told us which line to get into from there. We had to wait about 15 minutes before the arms lifted signaling it was time to board. We follwed the line when it was our turn. Staff directed on driving onto the ferry, where to park and how far to pull up.
It only took a few minutes for all the cars to board. The captain came on the loudspeaker to tell us to stay in our cars and provided the safety information. (It’s similar to the flight attendants instructions except for ferries). It was difficult to make out everything he said from our vantage point. We waved at a staff member who clarified. Basicallly, the rules were simple. Stay in the car. Listen for directions. We could do that.
The ferry cruise across the Cape Fear River takes about 30 minutes. We rolled the windows down and took in the roar of the engines and the spectacular scenery. The sun-kissed sky was amazing. The moon was rising against the brilliant colors as we rode across the river. Stars were just twinkling as we pulled into Southport for departure. The timing was perfect!
The photos and following video were taken from the Southport – Fort Fisher ferry that night. I have a longer video about this on my YouTube channel.
A couple of points to keep in mind.
This was in the off season. If you go during summer, plan to be at the ferry at least an hour before departure. We cut it close by arriving only 20 minutes before departure. Summer lines will be longer.
There is only a finite amount of space on the ferry. You won’t get on the ferry if it fills and may have to wait for the next one if it’s busy.
Also, it’s a ferry not a sunset cruise. Don’t expect narration or services. Snacks were said to be available but we didn’t see any and were glad to have packed our own. There is a rest room aboard the ferry.
The Outer Banks is filled with magical moments. Be patient. Be relaxed. Most of all, be bodacious and enjoy those moments.