Hot Nights on Hatteras Island

Forget Montana. Hatteras Island is big sky country, and anyone who has settled on a beach blanket under a canopy of stars would agree. Nature loving night owls adore the island for its peaceful, quiet evening with nothing but the sound of the ocean in the background. So what is there to do in the great outdoors after dark?

Believe it or not, Hatteras Island nights can be just as lively as Hatteras Island days.

The basics of bonfires: Bonfires are perfectly legal on Hatteras Island, provided that the fire is below the high tide line, accompanied by an adult, and completely extinguished after you leave the site. Make sure you do not leave behind any litter that will not burn completely, particularly any glass or metal. Local grocery stores and many convenience stores sell firewood for your beach fire, or you can simply bring some from home.

Ghost hunting: If you’re walking along the beach at night, and catch rapid movement along the sand out of the corner of your eye, chances are that you’ve just spotted a ghost crab. Although these pale yellow crabs can be spotted during the day, typically along the base of sand dunes on unpopulated beaches, they come alive at night, and scurry along the beach close to the shoreline. Bring the family and the flashlights and see how many you can spot. Better leave the nets at home – these critters are not only quick, but unlike the tasty blue crabs of the sound, they are basically inedible.

Phosphorus: If you go for a night wade along the ocean, be sure and sift the water and sand with your hands and feet. Depending on the time of year, you’re liable to stir up the phosphorus, small glowing particles that attach to miniscule sea life. This phenomenon is best observed on dark, Hatteras nights when the moon is barely visible.

Star Gazing: Hatteras Island was made for would-be astronomers, as the night sky surrounds the island like a canopy. Night time can be a perfect time to test your star gazing skills, particularly on the deserted beaches, or from a top level sun deck of your home. Who says you have to be wild to really enjoy the night life? For folks around here, it’s usually as simple as looking up.

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