Description - Stretched over 70 miles of barrier islands, Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a fascinating combination of natural and cultural resources, and provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Once dubbed the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" for its treacherous currents, shoals, and storms, Cape Hatteras has a wealth of history relating to shipwrecks, lighthouses, and the U.S. Lifesaving Service. These dynamic islands provide a variety of habitats and are a valuable wintering area for migrating waterfowl. The park's fishing and surfing are considered the best on the East Coast.
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
- At Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitors can explore a variety of natural and historical sites. Recreation opportunities include surf fishing, sunbathing, swimming, beachcombing, canoeing, sailing, surfing, snorkeling, kite flying, and off-road driving. There are three visitor centers, each open year round featuring exhibits, brochures, interpretive programs, extensive gift shops, and restroom facilities. A must have is the free newspaper-style handout detailing the latest Seashore news along with the full schedule of ranger-led programs, news about the park's resource management, and feature stories about other nearby NPS sites.
For hiking and walking there are a variety of short trails in the park, as well as long stretches of pristine beach. Off-road vehicle access to the beach is permitted in several areas. Visitors should check with the visitor center personnel regarding restrictions. Surf and fishing are considered some of the best on the East Coast. Campgrounds are open seasonally with locations at Oregon Inlet, Frisco, Cape Point, and Ocracoke. The only campground accepting reservations is Ocracoke. Call 1-800-365-CAMP (1-800-365-2267) for details.
Recreation - At Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitors can explore a variety sites of natural and historical interest. Recreation opportunities include surf fishing, sunbathing, swimming, beach combing, canoeing, sailing, surfing and snorkeling. The Hatteras Island Visitor Center (located at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton) is the main interpretive center in the park and a good place to orient yourself. It is open year-round and houses a variety of exhibits. Other visitor centers are located on Bodie and Ocracoke and are open on a seasonal basis. A full schedule of interpretive activities are presented by park rangers throughout the summer season. These include a wide range of history, natural resource and recreational programs.
For hiking and walking there are a variety of short trails in the park, as well as long stretches of pristine beach. Off-road vehicle access to the beach is permitted in several areas. Visitors should Check at a park visitor center for current information. The park's fishing and surfing are considered the best on the east coast. The park currently operates four campgrounds, which are open seasonally. Sites at the Oregon Inlet, Frisco and Cape Point Campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Sites at Ocracoke Campground can be reserved during the summer months.
Climate - Wind is an everyday occurrence on the Outer Banks and can range from gentle southwest breezes to strong northeast storm winds. The weather on the islands can change rapidly and be very unpredictable.
Summer days are usually warm and humid, and are often broken by fast-moving but severe thunderstorms. Winter temperatures are usually cool, though the wind can make them bitterly cold. Spring and Fall days can vary a great deal. Mosquitoes can be a significant problem throughout the warm-weather months. Clothing should be seasonal, but have extra gear available for wind and rain.
The seashore encompasses 70 miles along the Atlantic seaboard of North Carolina. This region is called the Outer Banks and includes Bodie, Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.