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The Marine Laboratory is situated on Pivers Island within the Outer Banks of North Carolina, only 150 yards across the channel from the historic town of Beaufort. A bridge connects the island with US Highway 70, making the laboratory readily accessible. Other transportation to the laboratory consists of bus service to Morehead City, about 2 miles distant from Beaufort, and airline service to regional airports (New Bern, Kinston, and Jacksonville).

Beaufort is the third oldest town in the state and is surrounded by fishing and agricultural communities. The area is well known for its historic and scenic attractions as well as being a seaside resort. Cape Lookout National Seashore Park and the Rachel Carson Estuarine Research Reserve are within easy boating distance.

The area's system of barrier islands, sounds, and estuaries is rich in flora and fauna, and diverse habitats, including rivers, creeks, mud flats, unspoiled sand beaches, dunes, marshes, peat bogs, cypress swamps, bird islands, and coastal forests, making the area an excellent haven for both nature lovers and those interested in the pursuit of marine science.

The laboratory is within range of both the temperate and tropical species of biota. The edge of the Gulf Stream oscillates between 30 and 40 miles offshore, with reefs on the wide continental shelf. A great variety of phytoplankton, seaweeds, seagrasses, and marshgrasses may be found in the area. Common animals include the blue crab, squid, shrimps, snails, clams, ctenophores, jellyfish, hydroids, sponges, polychaetes, sea urchins, starfish, brittle stars, sand dollars, skimmers, terns, gulls, herons, sea turtles, dolphins, and many species of fish. All provide ample opportunity for study and research and are readily accessible on foot, by car, or by boat.

The Beaufort-Morehead City area provides location for five other facilities that collectively are one of the higher concentrations of marine scientists in the nation. These are the University of North Carolina's Institute of Marine Sciences, the North Carolina State University Seafood Laboratory, the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Ocean Service Center for Coastal Fisheries Habitat Research at Beaufort. This concentration of marine scientists provides a critical mass for the pursuit of science and education.

By Car

Driving Directions from Duke's Durham Campus (through Goldsboro, Kinston, and New Bern)

  • From Durham, follow Interstate 40/440 East to Exit 309 (to Hwy 70 East).
  • Follow Highway 70 East all the way to Beaufort. You will pass through or by Smithfield, Goldsboro, Kinston, New Bern, Havelock, Newport and Morehead City. Please be aware that there is a bypass that takes drivers around Goldsboro and there are very few gas stations for approximately 30 miles.
  • Continue on Highway 70 East through Morehead City over a highrise bridge (crosses Newport River). At the base of the bridge, take an immediate right (by Radio Island) then left onto Old Causeway Road. Please use caution as this intersection is not a 4-way stop.
  • At the stop sign for Pivers Island Road, turn right for the Duke University Marine Lab. Go straight over the very small bridge leading onto Pivers Island. Go straight to the parking lots at the back of the island.

Leaving the Duke Marine Lab heading to historic downtown Beaufort:

  • Travel Pivers Island Road. Turn left on Old Causeway Road.
  • At Radio Island stop sign, turn right, then make immediate right onto Highway 70 (Beaufort Bypass Road)
  • Travel over highrise bridge on Beaufort Bypass Road. At the bottom of the bridge, turn right onto Turner Street, cross Cedar Street stoplight, continue on Turner until you reach Front Street.
  • If you stay on the highrise bridge past Turner Street, you will have another opportunity to turn right onto Highway 101 which will connect you to Live Oak St. and the western part of Beaufort (Food Lion, Post Office, CVS, library, etc.)

Traveling to the Duke Marine Lab from downtown Beaufort:

  • Travel west on Cedar St., turn right onto Turner St.
  • Turn left onto Beaufort Bypass Road, heading over the highrise bridge towards Morehead City
  • Travel west on causeway, then turn left onto Old Causeway Road going towards Radio Island (last turn before going over second highrise bridge). Then make immediate left onto Old Causeway Road. Please use caution as this intersection is not a 4-way stop.
  • At the stop sign for Pivers Island Road, turn right for the Duke University Marine Lab. Go straight over the very small bridge leading onto Pivers Island. Go straight to the parking lots at the back of the island.


By Air

There is no direct air transportation to Beaufort. However, three airports are located within an 85-mile radius of the Marine Laboratory - Jacksonville NC (60 miles; 910-324-3001) Wilmington NC (85 miles), and, the closest of these three, Coastal Carolina Regional Airport, 1501 Airport Road, New Bern, NC (40 miles; 252-638-8591).

  • Coastal Carolina Regional Airport, New Bern. The airport in New Bern is 40 miles away from the Duke Marine Lab. You can get to the Duke Marine Lab from the New Bern airport by taxi. Please see the contact information below for available taxi and shuttle services.
  • Raleigh/Durham Airport. The Raleigh/Durham airport is 160 miles away from the Duke Marine Lab. Check the airport website to identify the best way to get from the RDU airport to the Raleigh bus station ( Check the Greyhound Bus Lines web site (see below) for a current schedule from Raleigh to New Bern. Students will need to take an additional shuttle/taxi from the New Bern bus station to the Duke Marine Lab or coordinate with other students to get picked up in New Bern.

By Bus

Bus Transportation: Greyhound Bus Lines or Carolina Trailways
Greyhound Bus Lines or Carolina Trailways
2210 Capital Blvd
Raleigh NC 27604

connects to New Bern
New Bern Ticket Information Office (Carolina Trailways)
4010 Dr M L King Jr Blvd
New Bern, NC 28562

Students should contact Shuttle Me for current rates from New Bern to the Duke Marine Lab.

Taxis at the New Bern airport:
A to Z Shuttle Service - make reservations online @

Taxis / Shuttle Service

A-1 Yellow Cab Company 252-504-3680
Carteret Cab 252-247-4600
Diamond Limousine 252-240-1680 (they have SUVs and large cars, not just limos!)
Crystal Coast Yellow Cab Co 252-728-3483
Beaufort Cab 252-728-5365

** Most taxis are cash only with the exception of Diamond Limousine and Shuttle Me.