Cape Hatteras National Seashore

The Natural Outer Banks

Cape Hatteras National Seashore accentuates the natural beauty of the Outer Banks. It is the first “National Seashore” in the country, having been established on August 17, 1937. It comes under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. It is 75 miles long, extending from just south of Nags Head to just north of Ocracoke. It comprises over 31,000 acres.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

This stretch of beach, once dubbed the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” is also rich with history. You will find the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Bodie Lighthouse, Ocracoke Lighthouse, Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station, Frisco Native American Museum and the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge all within its borders. All but the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge are covered in other parts of the website. I will cover the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on this page.

The Cape Hatteras Seashore is a birders paradise, with over 400 different species of birds sighted. Located along the Eastern Flyway, its varied habitats and strong winds and storms force the exhausted birds to rest. The greatest variety of species occurs during the spring and fall migration. The link to the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center page actually lays out what species you can expect to see by month.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Sunset

The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in May 17, 1937 specifically for the protection of the migratory birds. Its charter has since grown to provide habitat and protection for endangered species, such as the peregrine falcon, the loggerhead sea turtle, and the piping plover. It is located on the northern end of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Hatteras Island. It extends from Oregon Inlet to Rodanthe and covers 5,834 acres of land and 25,700 acres of Proclamation Boundary Water. The Pea Island Refuge is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

In addition to accounting for over 400 species of birds, the refuge has also identified 25 species of mammals, 24 species of reptiles, and 5 species of amphibians. There are two wildlife trails that are open year round and fully disabled assessable, the North Pond Trail and the Salt Flat Wildlife Trail. There are also photography blinds that will also offer photo opportunities close to Route 12. These 13 miles also offer pristine, undisturbed by vehicles, beaches, where you can either fish or enjoy the peace and solitude.

Frolic time on the beach

Fishing is popular along the entire stretch of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, as both ocean and sound fishing is available. Other extremely popular sports are surfing, wind surfing and kite surfing. Because of the forces of the Gulf Stream combining with the colder waters from the north, there are always opportunities to "catch a wave". And the ever present wind enhances the wind and kite surfing to make for some of the best surfing on the east coast.

There are plenty of places and types of places to stay, whether it be an Outer Banks house rental, like the one we own in Salvo, or at an Outer Banks campground, whether it be in a tent or RV, all can be had in "The Park" as the locals refer to it. Whatever your interest, whatever you want to do, even if it is just to be with yourself to decompress, all is afforded to you at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is alive with vibrant life. Follow the link to see a few videos of this abundance.

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