Boating on Hatteras Island

boating girls

You would expect that a vacation destination that’s surrounded by hundreds of miles of water would have a booming boating culture, and when it comes to Hatteras Island, you’d be exactly right. The island’s roots have long been tied to boating, from the first wave of tourists in the 1930s who would commission locals to take them on fishing and duck hunting trips, to the charter and tour companies that provide more modern expeditions today. And as a result, all a visitor has to do to join in the fun is to contact a local marina or charter boat, step aboard, and dive right into the scene.

So where can you go, and what can you do while you’re on board one of the countless vessels that call Hatteras Island home? There are plenty of options for exploring the seemingly endless waters, ensuring that vacationers of all tastes can craft an Outer Banks boating experience that exceeds all expectations.

Charter Fishing

As any seasoned visitor knows, Hatteras Island is one of the best destinations in the world for fishing, and with a fleet of inshore and offshore charter fishing businesses at multiple marinas, it’s easy to dedicate a half or full day to enjoying island fishing at its very best.

Offshore vessels venture out to the Gulf Stream — a warm water major current that’s found roughly 15 miles off the island shoreline. In these deep and clear blue waters, anglers can target the big prize catches, including marlin, Mahi, tuna, and sailfish, depending on the season. For a fishing adventure on a smaller scale, visitors can also embark on an inshore fishing trip. These boating excursions target the ocean, sound, and inlet waters that are closer to the island in search of tasty species like cobia, trout, bluefish, flounder, and sheepshead, and can even veer off course for a little clamming or island-hopping while en route.

Boat Tours

Boat fans who’d prefer a more relaxed and thorough exploration of the island will also find a wide range of boat tours available at multiple Hatteras Island areas. Often offering different themes, (like dolphin cruises, sunset cruises, or eco-tours), these adventures present the island landscape in an entirely new perspective — from the vantage point of the wide Atlantic Ocean or Pamlico Sound waters. A must for kids and families alike, a boat tour is a truly inspiring way to see all the highlights of Hatteras Island.

Commandeering your Own Vessel

Vacationers who come to Hatteras Island with their own vessel in tow will find plenty of opportunities to explore on their own steam as well. The village of Hatteras has more than a half dozen marinas to load up on supplies and fuel, and virtually every major community on the island has a public or private boat ramp for visiting mariners’ use. With nice wide channels that connect with the open water within minutes, mariners are always a quick and easy trek away from endless on-the-water adventures.

Ready to discover your inner island mariner? Then get your crew down to Hatteras Island. With a centuries-old and inherent love of the water, the island-wide boating scene of Hatteras Island is genuinely the best on the Outer Banks.

Bringing Your Own Boat

What if you’re already an avid boater and you have a boat of your own? A number of our vacation homes have private docks. Just be sure to check the description as the drafts vary.

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#1 Island in the South – the Outer Banks


Southern Living magazine asked their audience to choose their favorite island in the south. Their #1 choice? The Outer Banks, of course!

Accessible by car or ferry, but still giving you “a wonderful sense of ‘away'” – an escape to the Outer Banks can’t be beat.

Southern Living  says:

“This narrow spit of sand looks as if it were tugged out into the ocean from North Carolina’s mainland, leaving Pamlico, Currituck, and Roanoke Sounds behind. Rent a house and stay for a week to explore Bodie, Hatteras, and Ocracoke Islands.”

We must say we do agree – find the perfect vacation home for an island escape today!


Hatteras Island Parks and Playgrounds


Tried and true Hatteras Island vacationers will certainly attest that the best “park” within Hatteras Island is the Cape Hatteras National Seashore — the  National Park that extends 70  miles along its shoreline. We have to agree that  you’ll undoubtedly  spend quality  time soaking up some  oceanfront fun. Maybe reclining in a beach chair with the latest summer read, or watching the kids as they furiously dig for sand fiddlers and coquina clams. There  is always ample entertainment to be found at the  beach.

When you are ready to expand your horizons — check out these cool Hatteras Island parks and playground  options, just off the beaten path, that are great for family members of all ages to stretch their legs and have a lot of fun.

Fessenden Center, Buxton  

The Fessenden Center is a pinnacle of community activity. From fitness classes that are nicely priced to an on-site playground, baseball fields, and a brand new skate park, many active interests can be pursued at this local community center. Regular fitness classes are held throughout the day, year-round, and everyday visitors can always pop into this central destination to enjoy the slides, swing sets, and other traditional playground equipment that keep young vacationers and locals alike smiling.

Avon Community Playground, Avon Village

One of the newest attractions on Hatteras Island for the young local and visiting public is the family-friendly Avon playground that’s found on the outskirts of Avon Village, directly across the street from the Avon Fire Station. Featuring a secure area that boasts all the play equipment young guests love — including slides, swings, and everything in between — this destination is a great place for moms and dads to let their kids let loose while watching from an on-site bench or picnic table.

Rodanthe  Waves Salvo Community Center, Rodanthe

At the north end of Hatteras Island across from the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station, you’ll find the Rodanthe Community Center. This center has an on-site playground with restrooms available inside. The playground includes a play center with slides, tunnels and climbing bars, a merry go round, swing set and picnic tables where you can enjoy a picnic lunch while little ones run off some energy.

Salvo Day Use Area, South of Salvo

Young vacationers who might not be up to the task of tackling the ocean waves will adore the shallow waters and splashing areas of the Salvo Day Use Area. This National Park Service (NPS) maintained site that’s found on the southern outskirts of Salvo boasts lots of parking, seasonal restroom facilities, and plenty of shallow waters for kids to splash, wade, and play to their hearts’ content.

Wading in the warm waters of the Pamlico Sound at the Salvo Day Use Area

Wading in the warm waters of the Pamlico Sound at the Salvo Day Use Area

Canadian Hole, South of Avon

Vacationers who are staying further south will find an equally inviting soundside oasis at Canadian Hole or Haulover Day Use Area between Avon and Buxton — an iconic NPS managed soundside site that’s popular with windsurfers, kiteboarders, and young families in search of a calm place to play. With no waves and water depths that average around 3’ ft., visitors will effortlessly enjoy their own on-the-water natural playground, with seasonal restrooms and ample parking located just a short stroll away.

No matter where you land on Hatteras Island, it will soon become crystal clear that the surrounding world is your playground. From the vast beaches of the National Seashore to the cool community parks that have become favorite destinations for locals and visitors alike, there are plenty of reasons to get out, grin, and go wild during a Hatteras Island vacation.


Top Five Reasons to LOVE Hatteras Island


Top-rated, Pristine, Uncrowded Beaches

Anyone who has visited falls in love with  the Outer Banks, and anyone who  has discovered Hatteras Island’s beaches has a whole new level of love and appreciation. Hatteras Island consists of 70 miles of national seashore. Comb pristine beaches for an array of unique shells, scan the horizon for a pod of dolphin or take a refreshing dip in the warm, salty waters of the Atlantic. However you choose to enjoy it, you’ll have plenty of room to spread out, take in the beautiful views and breathe the fresh salt air.

7 Unique, Charming Villages

Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras –   each has special activities, restaurants, markets, shops, history and character. Locally-owned restaurants offer unique menus and an inviting atmosphere, no chain restaurants here. From seafood and sandwiches in a casual setting to creative entrees and  southern coastal cuisine served with a smile, village restaurants  won’t disappoint. Whether you’re into fishing, boating, kiteboarding, horseback riding or a spa experience – there’s a village on Hatteras Island that’s waiting to serve you.

Beach Houses

A great majority of  accommodations on Hatteras Island are vacation rental homes. Typically rented by the week, they offer family and friends the fun of living together at the beach in a fully-equipped house! With room to spread out many of these homes offer fun amenities  like hot tubs, private swimming pools, theater rooms, gourmet kitchens and beautifully-appointed great rooms with big flat screen  televisions, gas fireplaces and panoramic ocean, sound  and village views. What’s even better, divided among family members, these amenity-filled homes can be less expensive than an ordinary hotel room.

Dog  Friendly Beaches and Homes

Dogs love to stretch their legs in the sand enjoying walks (and runs) along our miles of coastline. Some dogs even love swimming, in the Atlantic or the calmer waters of the Pamlico Sound. Many local restaurants allow dogs on their patios and porches and there are hundreds of dog-friendly vacation rentals to accommodate your favorite pet!


The Outer Banks is consistently lauded as one of America’s top beaches for families. Besides the beach, the ocean, and the shallow warm waters of the Pamlico Sound – there are tons of activities  that make Hatteras Island family-friendly. Weekly events and kids days in season at Kitty Hawk Kites stores,  Luaus at Koru Village, ice cream shops, putt putt golf, arcades and tons fun casual dining spots, families find plenty to do together on vacation. Have fun fishing together at the Rodanthe Pier or  Avon Fishing Pier or take  a stand-up paddleboarding lesson at REAL Watersports.  Vacation rental homes are the perfect place for gathering the whole family together to prepare dinner, play board games, swim in your private pool, have fun in the game room or watch a family movie on the big screen in a real  theater room.

What are you waiting for? Check out our  selection of 440  premier vacation rental homes and start counting down to a vacation your whole family is sure to LOVE!


Surf or Sound Realty Donates to Hatteras Island Food Pantries


Surf or Sound Realty President and CFO Melvin Stone with Ray and Claire Schaaf who run the Hatteras Island Food Pantry

After Hurricane Matthew, many Hatteras Island residents relied on donations from the local food pantries. This, added to the fact that some residents have a harder time finding employment during the winter months,  and  food pantries are in still in need of supplies and donations. Surf or Sound Realty   collected 308 pounds of food to donate to the local pantries and matched the food donation, dollar for pound,   with a check for $308 to the Hatteras Island food pantry to help residents in need get through the winter months.

Hatteras Island Food Pantry is a community-wide organization that helps families on Hatteras Island with emergency assistance. 100% of donations are used for this purpose.

“We wanted to do everything we could to help the community and thought that by announcing our matched monetary donation we might increase participation this year, it worked!” said Ann Wood, Vice President of Marketing for Surf or Sound Realty. Surf or Sound Realty’s Avon and Salvo offices also serve as year round drop-off locations for local food pantries. Weekly rental guests are encouraged to donate any unopened non-perishable food at the end of their stay, and many are more than happy to help.

Monetary donations for the Hatteras Island Food Pantry can be made payable by check to United Methodist Men and mailed to Hatteras Island Food Pantry, PO Box 1591, Buxton, NC 27920.


Travel Channel’s Destination of the Month is the Outer Banks


The Outer Banks of North Carolina is January’s destination of the month on the Travel Channel. Broadcast internationally, this means viewers from all over the world are getting a glimpse into the secret many loyal visitors have known for generations — a vacation on the Outer Banks is one of the best ways to make lasting memories. From early morning walks along the un-crowded sandy shoreline as the sun makes its first appearance over the horizon, to staying up late into the night for  deep conversations, breathing the salt air and gazing into the star filled skies, few places can match the beauty of the Outer Banks.

Recent press for the Outer Banks is as hot as the July sun with another recent mention in Travel and Leisure as one of the 18 best cities in America for solo traveling. Add this to the annual awards typically bestowed like U.S. News and World Report’s “#1 Family Beach Vacation” and the Outer Banks – Hatteras Island especially – is a sure bet for vacation fun! Don’t wait – book your family vacation today and start your countdown to fun-filled days in the sun.


Surf or Sound Realty Announces $1 Food Pantry Donation for Every Pound of Food Collected in Their Offices Through December 31

Thanksgiving Food

The smell of turkey roasting, the sound of the football game playing in the background and the chatter of family that hasn’t gathered for many seasons, this time of year brings many warm memories. Like many places, some Hatteras Island residents have a hard time putting food on the table, especially this time of year as tourism slows. This year in particular saw residents suffering losses from Hurricane Matthew, many losing almost everything and working to rebuild their lives from the ground up. Local food pantries relying solely on donations, are working hard to successfully meet the demands of residents throughout the winter months.

In response to this need,  Surf or Sound Realty’s  offices in Avon and Salvo are  not only  serving as community collection  points  for the Hatteras Island  food drive  as they have done for many years, but this year they are upping the ante.  To  help encourage donations, Surf or Sound Realty has announced that it will donate $1 for every pound of food donations  received  at their offices  from November  21 through December 31,  up to  $500.  All donations will go directly to a Hatteras Island food bank to support the local residents.

“I’ve lived here for 18   years and I know how appreciative the community is  of  these donations. Many residents go unemployed through the winter and can use every bit of help they can get,” explains Marcia Laricos, Event Coordinator  and Assistant to the Property Manager  at Surf or Sound Realty.  “We are hoping that we receive more food donations this year by rallying for the cause.”

Monetary donations for the Hatteras Island Food Pantry can be made payable by check to United Methodist Men and mailed to Hatteras Island Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1591, Buxton, NC 27920. Monetary donations for Lifeboat Community Church can be dropped off at 27563 Highway 12 in Salvo, or by mailing checks to Lifeboat Community Church, P.O. Box 84, Salvo, NC 27972.


Hatteras Island is Becoming a Popular Wellness Destination

Hatteras Yoga, Warrior Two at Sunrise - photograph by Daniel Pullen

Hatteras Yoga, Warrior Two at Sunrise – photograph by Daniel Pullen

A healing seashore atmosphere, two new yoga studios, professional massage therapists, and fresh local food markets in most of its seven villages are allowing vacationing guests to escape the hustle and bustle of their urban and suburban lives and nourish their mind and body on island time. “The island has a very calm, relaxed energy. Our clean air and water, bright, starry skies and vibrant sunsets set us apart from other commercial wellness resorts.” explains Cena Jennette, who returned to her native Hatteras to raise a family after years living, and teaching yoga in cities all over the East Coast and California. She opened Hatteras Yoga Studio in 2015 and has been overwhelmed by support from both the local yoga community and visiting yogis from all over the world. Vacationers don’t just stumble upon the studio while they’re here; they get away with the intention of practicing; bringing with them their favorite yoga mats, open minds and infectious energy. The influx of health-focused visitors allows for international guest instructors at the studio, who in-turn energize the local community. One of Hatteras Yoga’s most popular offerings is private yoga sessions on the beach or in a guest’s private vacation home. “They’re a great way to celebrate upcoming weddings, milestone birthdays or to just spend time really connecting with loved ones in a peaceful place.”, said Jennette.

Hatteras Saltworks

Another newly forged business on the island, Hatteras Saltworks, creates local sea salt by gathering clean, nutrient-dense sea water at the intersection of the Labrador and Gulf Stream currents just offshore. While most sea salt manufacturers bake or boil their water, Hatteras Saltworks’ unique solar evaporation technique may take over 45 days, but it allows for optimal nutrient retention. The result is a soft, flakey product. “Clean air, solitude, salt water everywhere — and a natural beauty that can only be found on an isolated sand bar…” are all reasons to appreciate life on Hatteras Island, according to Hatteras Saltworks co-owner and operator Brian McMahon.

There’s something nourishing about eating food raised in the wild, and local seafood markets are the place to get just that. A true family affair, Harbor House Seafood Market in Hatteras is run by Vicki Harrison and her husband Robert. Their passion for seafood and the culinary arts is evidenced in the carefully prepared meals and sides you can purchase alongside the local fresh-caught seafood in their market. Their children Graham and Alana both work in the market preparing food, helping customers and fishing inshore and offshore to provide the store’s inventory. If you don’t know how to cook something, don’t worry, just ask Vicki. She will describe preparation in such mouth-watering detail, you’ll rush out with your stomach rumbling (if that hasn’t already happened from the rich smell of crab cakes cooking when you walk in the door).

A week-long stay in a premier vacation home offers access to amenities like hot tubs, private swimming pools, saunas, and outdoor gathering spaces for taking in the sea air, sunrises and sunsets. Surf or Sound Realty has the largest number of oceanfront homes on Hatteras Island and has been providing premier vacation homes for wellness-seeking vacationers since 1978.


Dare County Emergency Management Bulletin – Unrestricted Access to All Areas of the County by Saturday; Recovery Efforts Continue

October 13, 2016 4:00 p.m.  

There is currently unrestricted access to all areas of Dare County north of Oregon Inlet and for the Hatteras Island villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, and Buxton. Beginning Friday, October 14 at 7 a.m. access restrictions will be lifted for Frisco. Beginning Saturday, October 15 at 7 a.m. access restrictions will be lifted for all areas of Dare County, including Hatteras Village.

It is important for visitors to check with their rental company or accommodations provider to confirm reservations before traveling to the area since some properties were impacted and require repairs.  Also, please be mindful that many residents and businesses of the island have suffered significant impacts and are in the process of recovering so your patience and understanding is truly appreciated.

For updated information regarding access to Ocracoke Island, visit hydecountync.gov.

National Park Service

The National Park Service reports that the Frisco Campground will open at  7:00 am  on  Friday, October 14, 2016.

Dare County Schools

Cape Hatteras Schools only will operate on a 2-hour delay on  Friday, October 14.

Dominion North Carolina Power

Dominion North Carolina Power continues to work on restoration of power in the area.   Dare County had 24,750 customers affected by Hurricane Matthew in the Dominion territory.  We still have 117 customers out.   Some of these are in areas that are still flooded and we are unable to restore service at this time.   We will communicate with those customers that are in areas waiting for the water to recede.   Thank you for your patience in this trying time.

Town of Southern Shores

The projected start date for the Town’s FEMA debris collection contractor is Monday, October 24th. Property owners with debris generated as a direct result of Hurricane Matthew should place the debris in the right-of-way of a public street closest to the point of generation. To the extent possible, keep debris off the pavement and on the shoulder of the public street. As this is a FEMA regulated pick-up, debris may not be picked up from a private street, lane, or parking lot. Storm-generated debris from any property located on a private street must be transported to the right-of-way of a public street to guarantee pick-up. This applies to private streets, lanes, and parking lots owned by a homeowners association.

Debris must be placed in  separate  piles according to type:

  • Vegetative debris (consists of tree parts, limbs, branches, leaves, etc.) DO NOT BAG LEAVES
  • Construction and Demolition debris (consist of shingles, siding, boards, wallboard, destroyed/flooded furniture, etc.)
  • White goods (destroyed/flooded appliances)

Town, County, and State officials continue to be aware of the flooded streets, including NC Highway 12,   in Southern Shores, as well as flooded streets and roads in all parts of Dare County and other Towns. Due to high rain fall and high water table at the time of the storm, the large areas of standing water will most likely continue to slowly recede and dissipate. Caution and slow speed is urged when driving through standing water.

The Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) rule 7H.2500 emergency permit has been activated for replacement of structures in the estuarine system (piers, bulkheads, etc), reconstruction of dune systems, and maintenance dredging within man-made canals/ditches filled in by Hurricane Matthew. Emergency permits may only be issued by the NC Division of Coastal Management Office in Elizabeth City by contacting  252-264-3901.

If a structure is considered imminently threatened, a property owner may obtain an exemption approval for beach bulldozing or importing sand from the Town’s Local Permit Officer (LPO),  (252) 261-2394, ext. 4)

Rescheduled Flu Clinic

The Flu Clinic that was canceled at the Baum Center on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 has been rescheduled for  Thursday, October 20, 2016 from 8:30 AM- 12:30 PM.

Notice to Private Well Owners in Dare County

If flooding has occurred around your well, Dare County Department of Health & Human Services recommends that you have your water tested. Until tests on samples indicate water is safe, please use the following precautions:

  • Boil water for at least five minutes at a full rolling boil before drinking, cooking, making ice or using for hygiene purposes (such as bathing, brushing teeth, etc).
  • Infants under six months and pregnant women should not drink boiled water, because boiled water could concentrate harmful nitrates. It is recommended these individuals drink bottled water, if unavailable, boiled water is preferred over untreated drinking water sources.

Continue these precautions until results on samples taken  since the flooding show the water is safe. Private well users should contact the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services’ Public Health Division for more information at  252.475.5003  or  252.475.5080.

Debris Collection for Unincorporated Areas of Dare County

Dare County Emergency Management and Public Works are working with contractors to establish the schedule for storm debris collection and prioritizing debris removal based on areas that can be safely accessed. A schedule for debris removal will be announced as soon as available.

For now, residents of impacted areas that can safely do so, are asked to place any storm-generated debris on the public right-of-way.   The public right-of-way is the area of residential property that extends from the street to the easement, ditch, utility pole or sidewalk. Residents should separate the debris as follows:

  • VEGETATIVE DEBRIS (whole trees, tree stumps, tree branches, tree trunks and other leafy material)
  • CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION DEBRIS (damaged components of buildings and structures such lumber and wood, wall board, glass, metal, roofing materials, tile, furnishings, and fixtures)
  • HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE (materials that are ignitable, reactive, toxic or corrosive such as paints, cleaners, pesticides, etc.)
  • WHITE GOODS (refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, heat pumps, ovens, ranges, washing machines, clothes dryers and water heaters)
  • ELECTRONIC WASTE (computers, televisions, office electronic equipment, etc.)

Only loose debris will be collected, bagged debris should not be placed on the public right-of-way.

Do not place debris near a water meter vault, fire hydrant or any other above-ground utility. Only debris placed on the public right-of-way will be eligible for collection until further notice.

The County contractors will make multiple passes through the impacted areas.   If residents cannot safely set out debris at this time, or if contractors cannot safely enter impacted areas, additional debris removal passes will be scheduled. The County urges all residents to make personal safety a top priority, and only set out debris if it is safe to do so at this time.

FEMA Information

Dare County is working with the State of North Carolina to provide information to ensure that everything is in place to pursue FEMA disaster assistance for individuals who have suffered loss. Even though eligibility for individual assistance has not been determined for Dare County, you may go ahead and complete a FEMA application to speed up the process once eligibility for assistance is determined.   For information on FEMA programs and to apply online visithttps://www.disasterassistance.gov/

Documentation for Past Travel Restrictions

Visitors to Dare County and the Currituck Outer Banks requesting documentation of past travel restrictions for insurance purposes may visit  www.darenc.com/hurricanematthew  to download necessary documents. Documents will be updated as travel restrictions are lifted.

Updated Information

Bulletins will continue to be issued as needed by Dare County Emergency Management. From this point forward, each of the agencies participating in the Joint Information Center will release their information independently.

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Dare County Emergency Management Bulletin – Updated Entry Information for Hatteras Island

Bulletin #15
October 13, 2016 9:45 a.m.

Access to Hatteras Island

The Dare County Control Group met Thursday morning and has established the following entry guidelines for the southernmost villages of Hatteras Island —

  • Frisco — Visitors will be allowed access to the village of Frisco beginning 7 a.m. on Friday, October 14, 2016.
  • Hatteras Village — Visitors will be allowed access to Hatteras Village beginning 7 a.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2016.

Visitors were allowed access to the Villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon and most areas of Buxton beginning 7 a.m. this morning.

It is important for visitors to check with their rental company or accommodations provider to confirm reservations before traveling to the area since some properties were impacted and require repairs.  Also, please be mindful that many residents and businesses of the island have suffered significant impacts and are in the process of recovering so your patience and understanding is truly appreciated.

For updated information regarding access to Ocracoke Island, visit hydecountync.gov.

Debris Collection

Details regarding storm debris removal will be announced as soon as available. Dare County Emergency Management and Public Works are working with contractors to establish the guidelines and schedule.

Damage Assessments

Initial damage assessments indicate that approximately 4,000 properties throughout Dare County were impacted by the storm with an estimated $40 million in damages. These numbers will likely increase as damage assessment teams continue working in the field.

FEMA Information

Dare County is working with the State of North Carolina to provide information to ensure that everything is in place to pursue FEMA disaster assistance for individuals who have suffered loss. Even though eligibility for individual assistance has not been determined for Dare County, you may go ahead and complete a FEMA application to speed up the process once eligibility for assistance is determined.   For information on FEMA programs and to apply online visithttps://www.disasterassistance.gov/

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