Hitting the Hatteras Island Bike Trails

In the summer, it seems like every other vehicle on NC Highway 12 has a bike rack strapped to the back, and there’s a good reason for this phenomenon. With a collection of smaller neighborhoods, paths, flat beaches, and miles of scenic highway, Hatteras Island can be a biker’s dream.
New to the local cycle scene? Exploring is an easy way to find the best routes, but there are a few scenic spots up and down the island that are ideal for long, easy bike rides.

Continue reading


Top Outer Banks Beach Vacations

Some of the finest vacation beaches are in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and Ocracoke and Buxton were ranked as two of the top ten beaches in the USA! Dr. Beaches, aka Dr. Stephen Leatherman, is a coastal research specialist. He’s been compiling this list every year since 1991. He compares more than 650 beaches, and his choices are based on water and sand quality plus 50 other criteria. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach and Buxton’s Old Lighthouse Beach are consistently in his top ten. We understand why.

Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach is a haven that can only be reached by sea. Part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, you will find lifeguards present during the season. Whatever time of year you choose to go, you will find beaches that are pristine, wild, uncrowded, and clean.

Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach

The nights are clear and made for stargazing. Obtain a permit from the National Park Service, and you can build a bonfire on the beach. While there, visit Ocracoke’s lighthouse. With five-foot thick walls at its base, it is a sold beauty and the second oldest lighthouse in the nation.

Buxton’s Old Lighthouse Beach on Hatteras Island is another experience. This stretch of beach attracts surfers and other ocean sports aficionados. The same energy that creates superb surf carries seashells to the shore; it is a joy for beachcombers. Rent a boogie board or a surfboard. Go to nearby Kite Point, Canadian Hole, or Cape Point for windsurfing, kiteboarding, or surf fishing. Or, simply spread your towel on the beach, get into your chaise, pull out a good book, and marvel at the power of the ocean.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse towers over beach dunes near Buxton, North Carolina, US

This is the perfect time to plan your beach getaway. The Outer Banks is made for honeymoons, romantic escapes, or a friends and family vacation. The top-rated beaches of Buxton and Ocracoke have unparalleled appeal. Make plans for your dream beach vacation today! 


Our Beaches are Wide Open – Come Enjoy Memorial Day Week on Hatteras Island!

Hatteras Island Beaches are Wide Open

Besides all of the fun amenities offered in your premier vacation home, there is a lot to do to celebrate the unofficial start of summer, this upcoming Memorial Day Week! For a full list of events check out our event calendar.

H2OBX waterpark opens for the season Saturday, May 26th – if you haven’t purchased tickets be sure to get them through Surf or Sound to get the best rate available!

Rock the Cape’s Island Art Show will be held from 10:00 – 4:00 on Monday, May 28 in Rodanthe at the Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo community building. Admission is FREE and ALL are welcome to this indoor / outdoor community event. Over 25 local artists will be on site vending their goods~ this is your chance to meet & support them!

On Monday, May 28 culinary arts arrive to Rock The Cape, for the first time since its inception, with A Taste of Hatteras. From 5pm-10pm, guests that attend A Taste of Hatteras can enjoy delicious island-inspired cuisine from a variety of local restaurants. The event will also feature a concert on the sound, headlined by The Joey Harkum Band from Maryland. Virginia Beach based reggae band SoPoz and local Hatteras band Blurky’s Quirky Friends and Hatteras musician Steve Vang will also be playing at A Taste of Hatteras. 

The Cape Hatteras Seashore offers a variety of recreational activities, including beach recreation, off-road vehicle (ORV) use*; surf fishing, boating, and piers; lighthouse climbing; interpretive programs with a park ranger; hiking; kayaking; watersports (surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, etc.); and wildlife viewing.

Programs with a Park Ranger
Over Memorial Day weekend, there are many opportunities to participate in ranger-led programs. The following is a listing of programming being offered this weekend:

  • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Climbing, daily from 9:00 am to 4:15 pm
  • Barrier Island Dynamics, 10:30 am to 11:00 am. How do people, plants, and wildlife adapt to barrier island geologic change? Meet at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion.
  • Cape Hatteras Light Station Talk, daily from 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm. Discuss the details and history of this beautiful sentinel. Meet at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion. 
  • Fish with a Ranger, Monday (Memorial Day) from 8:00 am to 9:30 am. We have poles, you bring the bait. Pre-register in person at the Hatteras Island Museum (or call 252-475-9622) this Saturday.

*Currently, there are over 25 miles (more than 90%) of Off Road Vehicle beach routes available to enjoy. Over the last several years, the park service has worked to improve access and constructed multiple new ORV ramps. While one area at the southernmost tip of Cape Point is currently closed to protect shorebirds, ORV users can still access a large area towards Cape Point and north of Ramp 43. And the miles of beaches in front of the villages are wide open for non-motorized activities, along with 20 more miles spread across the Seashore. For daily beach access updates check the Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.



Free Winter Lighthouse Climb in December

Welcome the Holidays on Hatteras Island by enjoying a winter climb of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on the way to or from your premier vacation home. The Lighthouse will be open to the public for a free Winter Climb on Saturday December 9, 2017 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Volunteers from the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society and Cape Hatteras National Seashore park rangers will greet local residents and visitors at the lighthouse.

“This opportunity to climb Cape Hatteras Lighthouse free of charge is one of many ways to welcome in the holidays along the Outer Banks,” said Dave Hallac, Superintendent of the National Parks of Eastern North Carolina.

Remember while planning your visit:

Children who wish to climb the lighthouse must be at least 42” tall, and children under 12 years of age must be escorted by a person at least 16 years old. Climbing the lighthouse is strenuous and is equivalent to climbing a 12-story building.  For more information on what to expect, check the park website www.nps.gov/caha.


Celebrate Community and Seafood in September at Day at the Docks

Mid-September is a beautiful time to visit Hatteras Island and the annual day at the docks on September 16th gives you one more reason. Whether you stay the week before and enjoy the event on your way out of town or visit the event to kick-off your vacation, it’s sure to be a fun experience.

A celebration of community heritage, Day at the Docks kicks off on Friday night at 4:00pm with the sixth annual Taste of North Carolina, Hatteras Style. The event takes place at Lee Robinson General Store and Sticky Bottom produce in Hatteras Village. Enjoy foods, beverages and music from the Old North State.

Talk of the Villages will take place the same day starting at 6:30pm at the Hatteras Village Community building between the post office and fire station on Highway 12 in Hatteras Village. Acclaimed Hatteras Island photographer Daniel Pullen and the fisherman he photographs will share stories about the photographs on exhibit.

Saturday’s action packed schedule starts off with the Fishy 5K starting at 8am – a fun run that starts and ends at Hatteras United Methodist Church looping through historic Hatteras Village. Runners (and walkers) of all skill levels are welcome. Children’s activities will be taking place throughout the day. There will be Coast Guard boat tours, crab races, and a kids fishing contest as well as activities like making fish print T-Shirts and marsh tours.

All day long you’ll also find entertainment from storytellers, musicians and singers on the main stage. You won’t want to miss the culinary events like the Shrimp and Grits Showdown under the big tent at 2 pm where 5 celebrity judges will choose between the makings of Chef Armstrong of Vinnie’s Steakhouse in Raleigh, North Carolina and Chef  Jay Pierce, Author and Shrimp Chef of the Traveled Farmer in Greensboro, North Carolina. There will also be a Chowder Cook Off and Seafood Tent.

Join the local and regional community in celebrating seafood and Hatteras Village at the Day at the Docks.


The Best Hatteras Island Treats

Uncle Eddy’s in Buxton

Nothing says vacation like treating yourself. You deserve it. Lucky for you there are many delightful ways to satisfy your sweet tooth while vacationing on Hatteras Island – every day of the week!


There’s nothing better after an afternoon spent playing on the beach than ice cream for the whole family.

Hatteras Sno Balls – Frisco

The quirky handmade signs and bright pink building make this ice cream and sno-ball stand an island favorite. Choose from 50 different flavors of shaved ice and twelve flavors of ice cream – or try the signature Hatteras sno-ball – ice cream AND shaved ice.

More mouth-watering options:

Ocean Gourmet and Gifts Sea Treasures – Rodanthe

Village Conery – Salvo

Dairy Queen – Avon and Salvo

Cups and Cones – Avon

Uncle Eddy’s – Buxton

Happy Belly – Hatteras Village


Deliciously fresh breakfast pastries, baked goods and desserts to savor yourself or take home for everyone to enjoy.

Scratch-made Snackery

This cute quirky new bakery is run by wife and husband Chris Kellum and Kyle Butler who start work in the wee hours of morning (what some might still consider night) baking from scratch, scrumptious pastries, cakes, cookies cupcakes and more to share with patrons when their doors open bright and early at 5am. They supply some of your favorite restaurants with desserts and  you can get them all right in Hatteras too – from 5am to noon 7 days a week in the summer.


Others to try:

Orange Blossom Cafe in Buxton

Ocean Gourmet and Gifts Sea Treasures in Rodanthe

Gingerbread House in Frisco


From fine chocolates to fun vintage selections – these candy shops will satisfy your cravings!

Blue Lagoon in Frisco

A brand new art gallery and chocolate shop in Frisco right next to the Frisco Sandwich shop, Gracie at the Blue Lagoon offers fine chocolates (truffles, chocolate covered graham crackers and more) and a beautiful curated selection of regional and coastal art. A great place to stop in for treats for the whole family and gifts for friends back home.

More options:

Ocean Gourmet and Gifts Sea Treasures – Rodanthe

OBX Candy Shop – Waves, next to Waves Market and Deli

Hatteras Island Toy Store – Buxton

Scotch Bonnet Fudge – Frisco


Whatever your favorite desert may be we bet you’ll find a new favorite the next time you’re here on vacation. Treat yourself!



Tips for Dolphin Watching on Hatteras Island

Dolphin Watching on Hatteras Island

Whether you’re on the comfortable deck of your oceanfront rental, or on the bow of a local tour boat, you’ll discover that there are plenty of opportunities to spot one of Hatteras Islands’ most popular residents – the local dolphins and porpoises. Frequently spotted cruising along the breakers or just off the island’s inlets, these playful and very friendly creatures are a fun surprise encounter during a vacation, and can provide some exciting photos and memories to take back home and share.

So how do you make a dolphin encounter part of your upcoming vacation? While luck plays a major role, there are some tips and tricks for dolphin-loving visitors who want to meet and greet with these friendly Hatteras Island locals.

What to Look for: Dolphins vs. Porpoises

Sometimes those dolphins you see cruising along the ocean or Pamlico Sound waters aren’t dolphins at all – they’re actually porpoises, which also have a large local population within the Outer Banks waters. So how do you tell the difference? Look at the fins!

A porpoise’s fin looks is triangular, while a dolphin fin is curved, or hooked, on the center of its back. If you get close enough, you can also tell by their faces – dolphins tend to have long noses or “beaks” as opposed to a porpoise’s smaller mouth and spade-shaped teeth.

Where to Go: A Dolphin Tour or Your Own Backyard

As interest in the local dolphins has skyrocketed, a number of local inshore and nearshore charter businesses have started to offer special “dolphin tours” which will take visitors out to the inlets, as well as the waters just off the island, in search of these friendly creatures. These tours are a great way to get close to the critters, as they often bump against the boat as a curious greeting, and can be a family-friendly activity that everyone in the party will find simply unforgettable. Try a cruise aboard the Miss Hatteras out of Hatteras Village.

Visitors who want to see the dolphins without any effort other than stepping outside or looking out the window can also consider renting an oceanfront home. Often, dolphins can be spotted just past the breakers on a clear day, and can be especially prevalent in the morning and evening hours when the beaches are uncrowded, and the feeding is at its best. For a chance to spot dozens of dolphins at once, aim for a fall, winter or spring vacation. One of the best surprises of wintertime on Hatteras Island is that the dolphins and porpoises are in full force along the beaches, and it’s not unusual to spot 6, 10, or even a dozen cruising past the beach in a single speedy pack.

What to Do: Appreciate from Afar and Break Out the Camera 

While porpoises can get angry if they feel threatened, dolphins are seemingly curious about the other critters that share their waters. This is why inshore tour companies often have close encounters with the local dolphins, who will circle and cruise around the passengers, providing some excellent photo ops. Keep your distance, and keep your hands to yourself, but be ready to start snapping once the dolphins appear. Gregarious, friendly, and almost always traveling in groups, a pod of dolphins can be one of the best photo ops you’ll find along Hatteras Island.

The best tip for spotting dolphins? Keep your eyes on the water. Because a dolphin or porpoise fin can peek out of the blue horizon at any time – often for just a couple seconds – staying vigilant will go a long way. And after a day of looking, if the only thing you see in the miles of ocean waters are gulls, pelicans, and endless blue terrain, then you can still rest easy knowing that, at the very least, you enjoyed a beautiful day at the beach.



Hatteras Island Bars and Nightlife

Turner’s High Moon Bar Handcrafted Cocktail

Bars on Hatteras Island

A good beach bar can set the stage for an unforgettable night on the town in this Southern Outer Banks vacation destination. And despite having a reputation as a refreshingly low-key collection of beach towns, the Hatteras Island nightlife scene is surprisingly varied, unexpected, and always fun.

In the prime summer months when the island is hopping, visitors can expect to find plenty of options to cater to any after-hours cravings. From big name and nationally recognized bands playing at oceanfront venues, to local musicians that have been charming island bar patrons for decades, the combination of great drinks and great music is more or less inherent in this Outer Banks region.

Koru Villages’ Beach Klub

The big bands can be found at the Papawack Theatre at the Koru Villages’ Beach Klub in Avon. This oceanfront venue has been host to a wide array of music, from the Wailers to the renowned beach music stylings of The Embers, and the site continues to draw in big names through local arts and music festivals as well as their regular Thursday night summer performances. In short, if you’re in the mood for a big-name concert that coincides with lots of dancing, ice-cold drinks, and a prime oceanfront view, this is the place to go.

Watermen’s Bar and Grill

With some of the freshest food on the island, you’ll find the casual Watermen’s Bar and Grill right behind REAL Watersports on the sound in Waves. This venue offers spectacular sunsets and great live music. Their Sky Blue Concert series brings local and regional acts Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays and during REAL Watersports’ festivals and events you’ll find big name national acts like Mix Master Mike of the Beastie Boys and Method Man (of the Wu-Tang Clan) and Redman.

Smaller Settings

If you love music but prefer a smaller scene, then you’ll be delighted to discover that Hatteras Island covers this small-scale beach vibe, and covers it well. On any given summer night, multiple restaurants and local bars host talented musicians that specialize in a wide range of styles, while attracting customers through drink specials, limited or no cover fees, and an all-around fun atmosphere.

If you’re brand new to the Hatteras Island bar scene, try Turner’s High Moon in Avon Village. This relatively new establishment has a number of great microbrews on tap and is known for their craft cocktails and regular live music in the summer months. There’s even a shuffleboard table, and ample room for locals and visitors to dance meet and mingle.

If you like a more subdued scene, then head to your favorite local restaurant – like the Froggy Dog, Dinky’s, or Hatteras Sol Waterside Grill – find a prime seat, and settle in for a good time. The bars on Hatteras Island have embraced the latest craft beer craze – as well as somewhat recent ability to serve mixed drinks, courtesy of popular local vote – and as a result, have a fine assortment of adult beverages to whet your whistle.

Find Your Favorite

The Hatteras Island bar scene can be as intimate or as outgoing as you want it to be. With a clever mix of local watering holes, upscale establishments, and please-the-masses venues, you can essentially plan your ideal night out while on a Hatteras Island vacation.

Of course, there’s always your premier vacation home. It’s hard to beat sunset cocktails with panoramic views of the Pamlico Sound, or happy hour at your private tiki bar.


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.

DockSailin DockLaytonDockWildwind DockOntheWaterfrontdock_backlanding dock_waveslanding dock_paradisecove dock_tarpon dock_carolinabelle dock_bonitolanding dock_dreammaker dock_castncrew dock_sandysoles dock_summerwind dock_30milesout dock_sunkist dock_arrowheaddockPenguin













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.