A great base camp for a cruise along the Outer Banks.
- Name: Driftwood Campground, Cedar Island, NC
- In brief: This private campground is a gateway to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
- Where: Driftwood Campground is on Cedar Island, southwest of Ocracoke Inlet. Map and Chart.
- Fees: Camping fee: $16.00-20.00/night– water, electricity, and sewage hookups available.
- Ramp: Free in campground, though silted condition means that you may need to launch at high tide. Nearby public ramp on Pamlico Sound. Cedar Island Bay is shallow, so best suited to boats that don’t need deep water.
- Weather at the base camp.
This base camp idea was suggested by Dave Bolduc, who with his wife Mindy maintain a wonderful site for small boat cruisers: Microcruising. They’ve sailed the Outer Banks extensively in their Matt Layden designed Little Cruiser. Dave recommends that cruisers visit the Banks in spring and fall, when the bugs aren’t quite as ferocious. He tells me that they usually rent a campsite and leave their vehicle and trailer there while exploring Pamlico Sound and some of the other area cruising attractions. Mindy Bolduc has written about one of their visits to the area in this article. Many details on the small boat possibilities of the area can be found in this lively and well-written account.
In this 3 week cruise, Dave and Mindy visited a number of terrific destinations, including Cape Lookout, Oriental, and Ocracoke Island. This is one of North America’s premier cruising areas, and with careful attention to weather, a small boat can sail in the wake of the lost Roanoke colonists, the pirates that once infested this coast, and the Banks dwellers who have lived isolated and largely unchanged lives here for hundreds of years.
In a short piece like this, it’s impossible to cover even the tiniest fraction of the possibilities this cruising area offers small boat sailors. Many good cruising guides have described the area, but the small boat sailor can go many places that long-legged boats cannot. The potential anchorages for shallow-draft boats are almost limitless– a lifetime would be required to fully explore the Banks and the mainland across the sounds.
Suggested by Dave Bolduc.
Photographs courtesy of Dave and Mindy Bolduc