The Cape Hatteras National Seashore, established in 1937, was the first
National Seashore in the United States. It extends along the
beautiful Outer Banks of the North Carolina Coast from Nags Head to
of the area is protected from development by
the United States government. Even though it is a National
Seashore, you will find charming towns and villages across seventy
miles of barrier islands.
The three islands that make up the Cape
Hatteras National Seashore are Hatteras
, Bodie Island
, and Ocracoke Island
NC Highway 12, which links the island together,
is the only major route to access the park and is among the
Most Scenic Drives"
in the United States.
You will have a nice
picturesque drive past sand dunes, salt marshes, and various wildlife
as you travel along the flat and narrow Highway 12. The northern
entrance to the park is located at Nags Head, NC at the junction of US
64 and NC 12. The southern entrance is north of Ocracoke Island
on NC Highway 12.
Please note that Ocracoke Island is only
accessible by the North Carolina ferry
The nation's busiest National Park is also home to three lighthouses
the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Ocracoke Lighthouse, and Bodie
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
is the tallest in the United
States and visitors are welcome to climb to the top for a spectacular
view of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore! It is the most
photographed and recognized lighthouse in the country. They also
have a great museum, gift shop, and picnic area right next to the
On Ocracoke Island, once the home of Blackbeard the
Pirate, you will find the oldest operating lighthouse in North
Carolina. The Ocracoke Lighthouse
built in 1823, but is not
open to the public for climbing.
With its recognizable black and
white horizontal stripes, the
is visible from miles
away. Currently the lighthouse is undergoing an eighteen month
restoration, but the visitor center and bookstore will be open during
the restoration. For a peaceful getaway off the beaten path,
include a visit to the lighthouses along the
Cape Hatteras National
All along these Carolina islands lie more shipwrecks
than any other
place in the country. This area gained national attention and
became known as the
"Graveyard of the Atlantic"
. Since the 16th
century, over 600 shipwrecks have been recorded along the Outer Banks
of North Carolina. If you are a history enthusiast, this area is
full of great historic places and museums to explore.
driving along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, visit the
fascinating Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
is located in Hatteras
Village, and displays many artifacts recovered from shipwrecks in this
area. If you are into diving, this area is a divers dream come
You will be able to explore
Civil War ships and wrecks
dating back to the 1500's! Never been diving, but always wanted
to? There are many diving shops along the coast that offer diving
courses to get you started. What a memorable vacation that would
There are many family activities along the Cape Hatteras National
Seashore and windsurfing
been a way of life here for 25
years. Are you an outdoor adventurer? Then you should try
your hand at kiteboarding. Because Hatteras Island has some of
the best wind and waves on the East Coast, kiteboarding has become very
here in the last ten years.
What is kiteboarding?
Well, you attach a specially designed kite to a kiteboard (much like a
surf or paddle board), and hold on as it pushes you across the
water. With the steady south easterly winds and shallow waters,
Cape Hatteras is known around the world for great windsurfing and
. If you want to experience one of the most
and thrilling adventures of a lifetime, you should give it a try!
Everything from water sports to museums and
lighthouses! Ready to
escape to the Carolina Coast? With so much to see and do, and if
you love the great outdoors, you will absolutely love your visit to the
Cape Hatteras National
in the Outer Banks of North Carolina!
Check out Hatteras
Island vacation rentals!