Zip Code:


Latitude / Longitude:

35°4′11″N 76°3′49.64″ W / 35.06972° N 76.0637889° W / 35.06972



Time Zone:

Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)


Portsmouth was a fishing and shipping village located on Portsmouth Island on the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Portsmouth Island is a tidal island connected, under most conditions, to north end of the North Core Banks, across Ocracoke Inlet from the village of Ocracoke.


The town lies in Carteret County, was established in 1753 by the North Carolina Colonial Assembly, and abandoned in 1971. Its remains are now part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore.





Current Status:

Now, 21 total buildings stand, including about a dozen dwellings and a few out-buildings. These are maintained as part of the Portsmouth Village Historic District. Of these the Salter House/visitor center, the one-room school, the Methodist Church, the Life-Saving Station, Henry Pigott’s house and the Post Office/general store are open to the public during the summer. Now, especially during the summers, people often visit the island and camp out overnight on the beach (camping is not allowed in the village). Facilities are very limited with a compost toilet near the Life-Saving Station and a restroom in the Salter house/visitors center, with no potable water, food, or electricity available.


Ocracoke Inlet was a popular shipping lane during colonial times. Established in 1753, the town of Portsmouth functioned as a lightering port, where cargo from ocean-going vessels could be transferred to shallow-draft vessels capable of traversing Pamlico and Core Sounds. Portsmouth grew to a peak population of 685 in 1860. Though small, Portsmouth was one of the most important points-of-entry along the Atlantic coast in post-Revolutionary America.