Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the first of its kind in the U.S., preserves part of the North Carolina’s Outer Banks from Bodie Island to Ocracoke Island. It spans an area of 24,470 acres including Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and offers great vacation opportunities for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts.
Cape Hatteras Attractions and Activities
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the icon of Hatteras Island, is a black-and-white, spiral-striped structure that provides a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean, Buxton and Cape Hatteras. The Lighthouse together with Wright Brothers National Memorial is designated as Federal Recreation Fee Area.
Hatteras Island Visitor Center, located in Buxton near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, offers informational brochures and park newspapers. It features a bookstore with gifts and ranger-led history and nature programs.
Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, the first operational life-saving station, was built along the Atlantic coast in 1874. It was operational until 1954 and has been partially restored to serve as a museum and historic site. It re-creates the full historic beach apparatus life-saving drill regularly with US Coast Guard personnel.
Frisco Native American Museum & Natural History Center preserves Hatteras Island’s Native American history and culture. It features exhibits, natural history displays and artifact collections, including pottery, weavings, baskets, jewelry, stone work and weaponry that provide an insightful glimpse into diverse US culture.
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum features a ship-like building with curved timbers and porthole windows. It focuses on the Outer Banks’ maritime history and shipwrecks with exhibits dating back to five-century old artifacts and memorabilia.
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge has pristine beaches with great opportunities for surfing, surf fishing, kayaking, shell hunting and photography.
Sandy Bay Gallery in Hatteras Village is an inviting shopping spot for original fine artwork by locals and nationwide artists.
Avon features Hatteras Island’s only two spotlights and only chain grocery store. It is the busiest part of the laid back island featuring several accommodations, restaurants, shops, watersports outfitters and fishing-pier. The nearby Haulover or Canadian Hole is famous for kite boarding and windsurfing.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore Transportation
Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s northern entrance is on Bodie Island at the junction of US-64 and NC-12 South. Its southern entrance is to the north of Ocracoke Island on NC-12 North. Ferry services are available from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke. Visitors can also arrive by boat from the mainland, the Intracoastal Waterway or the Atlantic Ocean. The Hatteras Inlet has marinas for boaters. The National Park Service’s Billy Mitchell Airfield in Frisco accommodates small planes.
There is no public transportation on HatterasIsland, so visitors need to use cars or bikes.
Accommodations near Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Cape Pines Motel is located in Buxton Village in the midst of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The pet-friendly hotel offers non-smoking rooms – standard, deluxe, and suites – in its Courtyard cottages and two-story main motel building. Rooms feature cable TV, free wireless Internet access and air-conditioning. Amenities include swimming pool, circular driveway, picnic tables and barbecue grills near the pool.