The Monument Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina, the first “National Seashore,” protects the beaches, dunes, wetlands and wildlife that comprise three major islands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
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ILNP Park Review
Our Visit I took a brief driving excursion into Cape Hatteras after visiting the nearby Wright Brothers NMem during April while on a trip to Norfolk, Virginia.
Our Weather Overcast, windy and a little chilly (60s)
Overall Impression After driving through the towns of Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head to get to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, I had no doubts why this sanctuary exists. To the north is mile after mile of tightly packed beach houses which butt all the way up to the park boundary. Cape Hatteras NS offers a sanctuary for the many species of wildlife which live in the land, sea and air of the Outer Banks. While there are buildings, lighthouses and roads throughout the park, it still offers solitude and a relatively unspoiled look at the natural beauty of this area.
Visiting You can easily make your trip to Cape Hatteras as long or short as you desire. If you’re in Nags Head, a popular beach community to the north of the park, Cape Hatteras NS is only a few minutes drive away. In only an hour, you can make a jaunt to the Bodie Island lighthouse and stroll the dunes and waves at nearby Coquina Beach. If you have more time, you can drive all the way down to Cape Hatteras by crossing the bridge over the Oregon Inlet and driving through the dunes of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. At the cape, you can climb the tallest lighthouse in the US at 208 feet for a small fee. There’s also a free ferry that runs daily to Ocracoke Island, home of the oldest operating lighthouse in the US.
One note of caution: swimming and surfing in the ocean is allowed, but talk to a lifeguard or ranger first. These waters can be very dangerous, and there are only limited medical facilities in the park.
Nearby Towns Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills (North Carolina)
Other Nearby Attractions Ft. Raleigh National Historic Site, Wright Brothers National Memorial
Official NPS Website Cape Hatteras NS
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