We all know that there are so many wonderful things to do here on Hatteras Island. Our pristine, family-friendly beaches and quaint villages offer a variety of activities for you and your family to enjoy while visiting us.
The Huffington Post recently listed its top “5 Free Things to do on Hatteras Island.” It is no surprise that spending time enjoying the beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is top on the list. There is nothing quite like a day at the beach for exploring, relaxing, and playing in the surf!
The Huffington Post list also includes: a trip to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum where admission is free, although donations are encouraged; attending programs offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge; visiting Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Lighthouses (there is a fee to climb them, but not to walk around the grounds); and taking a free ferry ride from Hatteras to Ocracoke Island for the day.
We would love to hear what you and your family like to do while visiting us! What are your Top 5 Things to do on Hatteras Island? Please share them with us on our Surf or Sound Facebook and Twitter pages, and follow us on Pinterest to see of few of ours!
Did you know that you can climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at night? The National Park Service offers full moon climbs of the lighthouse throughout the year as a special experience for Hatteras Island visitors and the local community.
The last Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Full Moon Climb of the season is on Thursday, September 19, 2013. Two tours will be available on Thursday evening; one at 7:30 p.m. and a second at 8:30 p.m. The tours are limited to 30 people each and sell out quickly. So make plans to buy your tickets early!
Tickets will go sale beginning Tuesday, September 17, 2013 from 8:15 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. at the lighthouse ticket booth. Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for children (11 years of age and under), and $4 for seniors (62 and older).
As there are no lights inside the lighthouse, climbers will need to bring flashlights to navigate the 257 stairs to the top. Park rangers will share stories of the lighthouse keepers of old during the climb. Outside on the lighthouse balcony, climbers will experience viewing the reflection of full moon on the Atlantic Ocean and the lighthouse’s beam of light reaching out to sea (weather permitting).
For more information and things to know before you climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at night, visit the National Park Service website or give them a call at 252-473-2111.
Hatteras is well-known for its world-class surfing beaches. With 70 miles of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, it’s easy to find a spot where the surf’s up. This fact wasn’t lost on the folks at CNN.com who recently recognized our Hatteras Island beaches as one of the “World’s 50 Best Surf Spots“.
Almost any storm or swell that makes its way across the Atlantic Ocean will produce waves and draw surfers from all throughout the United States. Popular surf breaks include: the S-Curves at Mirlo Beach in Rodanthe, Old Road in Avon, the Cape Hatteras Fishing Pier in Frisco, and Buxton’s Lighthouse Beach. Of course, with miles and miles of seashore to explore, it’s not hard to find a break all to yourself.
Surfing season for experienced surfers is typically in the fall and spring when storms and low pressure systems bring large swells. The summer months bring smaller waves and are perfect for beginning surfers. Surf shops abound on Hatteras Island where you can rent a board, take lessons from surfing pros, and purchase gear.
With our pristine beaches, awesome surf, and miles of coastline, it is easy to see why Hatteras Island surfing ranks right up there with some of the best surf spots in the world!
Hatteras Island History – Where Did the Name “Salvo” Come From?
The Hatteras Island Village of Salvo has recently been featured by HamptonRoads.com as part of its “What’s in a Name” series. The story overviews Salvo’s role in the U.S. Civil War and how the events of the time caused this seaside village to earn its name.
In October 1861, Confederate troops tried to retake Hatteras Island by attacking a Union regiment which was based near where the village of Salvo is today. As the skirmishes went back and forth, in what was called the “Chicamacomico Races”, the Union positioned the ship Monticello near the coast and set to bombing the Confederate forces on Hatteras Island. According to Hatteras historian Danny Couch, the ship’s captain instructed his deck officer to “Give them one more salvo for good measure” as the Union ship was departing. (A “salvo” is a simultaneous discharge of weapons, bombs, or cannons.) According to several accounts, the Union did not have an official name for the area being bombed, so it become known as Salvo after the Union captain’s departing order.
Salvo was officially recognized by the federal government in 1901 with a new post office, which remained open until 1992. Salvo is one of the seven villages that is part of Hatteras Island.
Read the complete story, “What’s in a Name? Salvo, NC“.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore has recently been featured on CNN.com’s weekly “Summer in the Park” Series. The series spotlights the country’s most popular national parks and gives insider recommendations from park rangers.
CNN interviewed Patrick Gamman, the district interpretive ranger for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, who revealed his favorite things to see and do. If you come for a day, don’t miss the seashell hunting, touring a lighthouse, or watching the sunset over the Pamlico Sound. Ranger Gamman’s “Favorite less-travelled spot” at the Seashore is visiting the beach at nighttime to stargaze and watch ghost crabs. He also recommended a favorite spot to view wildlife, as well as answered several interesting questions including “Moment that made him smile”, “Oddest Moment in the Park”, and “A Ranger’s Request”. To find out what Ranger Gamman recommends, read the entire story on CNN.com’s website, “Life is a beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore“.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore was established in 1953 as the nation’s first national seashore. It encompasses over 70 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean from Nags Head to Ocracoke Island. For more information on the Seashore, click here.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
National Park Service
A site on Hatteras Island, which served as a safe haven for hundreds of runaway slaves during the Civil War, has been added to the National Park Services’ Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
Hotel De Afrique housed freed slaves from North and South Carolina during the period of 1861 and 1865 after the Union forces defeated the Confederate forces at Hatteras Inlet and at Forts Clark and Hatteras. The freed slaves helped Union forces build ships and fortify forts in exchange for housing and food. The original site of Hotel De Afrique has disappeared due to erosion and flooding.
A monument commemorating Hotel De Afrique and Hatteras’ participation in the National Underground Railroad was dedicated in late July during a ceremony held at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras. The monument is located at the entrance to the museum.
Remember to include a visit to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum while you are here. The museum offers a unique view of Hatteras’ maritime and Civil war history. For information on the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, click here or call 252-986-2995.
A day at the beach is good for the soul!
Thanks to Shelly Brown for posting this timeless photo to our Facebook page!
Warmer weather has graced us with its presence and everyone is walking around with a little “Spring” in their step. We get busy sprucing up our homes whether it’s clearing the clutter, spring cleaning, or ordering fresh new pillows for our living space, but the outdoors are calling! We’ve been cooped up during the short days of winter and we long to head outside to get a good dose of vitamin d and feel the warmth of the sun on our bare skin.
As we step outside and gaze around our yards, for the first time in many, many months, we’re excited to weed last year’s garden beds! (The glamour of weeding quickly fades as warmer temperatures and an increase in humidity = happy plants (and every other living thing that has been lying dormant throughout the winter). Weeding becomes second nature and can get old fairly quickly, so once the beds are weeded the planning commences. What will we plant this year and where? What plants did well last year and what didn’t? Which plants needed more sunlight? Which plants survived the salt air and wind the best? As we juggle all of this in our heads and jump for one scenario to the other, there are certain factors we must, without a doubt, keep in mind. After all, we live on a sandbar, also known as Hatteras Island…
There are a few factors to consider when working alongside Mother Nature in your private sand lot at the beach. First and foremost, respect the salt air. There are plants that are very tolerant of salt spray, which are the tiny droplets of salt water carried through the air from waves crashing on the beach. Secondly, windy conditions can also pose a problem for very delicate plants. It is not uncommon to experience a constant 15 mph SW wind during the summer months on Hatteras Island. Of course that does not include gusts, which can reach 25-40mph at times. Other factors are high temperatures and very little rain. We did experience a good amount of rain last summer (2012) but typically Hatteras Island may experience a few brief thunderstorms here and there throughout the summer. Oh, and don’t forget the sandy soil! Sandy soil allows excessive drainage, which can be an issue for certain varieties of plants. In order to enjoy your time in your yard to the max (without breaking the bank), take note of a few plants that do exceptionally well here at the beach.
Review this list of suggestions for nurturing your green thumb while dwelling on an island…
Highly Salt Tolerant:
Century Plant (Agave Americana)
Moderately Salt Tolerant:
Slightly Salt Tolerant:
Hopefully this compilation will save you time, money, and the frustration of trying to make the traditional plants of the season thrive in the more challenging conditions of the coastal environment. Do a little research on the above list and decide which plants will work best in your space. Also track sun exposure, as some plants love the sun while others tolerate it for only short periods or prefer to stay in the shade (sounds like some beachgoers you may know).
See you at the garden center!
Are you up for a night of the best free entertainment you may witness in the late hours of April 22, 2013? Lyrids meteor shower is set to peak on Earth Day (late night, 4/22/13 to early morning, 4/23/13) and will appear to originate in the region of the sky that features the constellation Lyra the Harp. The Lyrids have been observed for at least the past 2600 years, according to written record.
If you’re willing to stay up late, you are in for quite a show! The shower is said to average approximately 10-20 meteors per hour and has been known to produce large bursts of activity of nearly 100 meteors per hour. In 1803, due to the earth’s passage through a thicker part of the dust trail that causes the shower, more than 700 meteors were seen per hour from Richmond, Virginia.
Head on out on the night of the 22nd and get set up. Make sure all outside lights are off (if you have control over that) or move as far away from street lights/city lights as you can (preferably Hatteras Island, the best place ever to view a meteor shower). Get comfortable. Give your eyes time to adjust to the dark and watch for bright meteors in the northeastern part of the sky. Locate the very bright star Vega, from which most meteors will appear to originate. It’s your chance to witness a free light show of bright meteors with highly visible tails!
Enjoy the show!