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on Hatteras Island


From lighthouses to historical landmarks, there is no shortage of unique attractions to discover on Hatteras Island. Spend time exploring some of the top spots in the area to learn more about the history that shaped the region. Thanks to the variety of things to see, there is something that'll spark anyone's interest. 

Visit spots that tell the story of the area's maritime past, like Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, or Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station. Sneak in a bit of learning by wandering the exhibits inside the North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo or watching the entertaining Lost Colony Outdoor Drama. Keep your eyes open while driving or biking because you never know what attractions are around the corner.

When planning your visits to popular attractions, keep in mind that during busy season the crowds will be larger. To help avoid the rush, we recommend visiting early in the morning or later in the day.

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Attractions Chicamacomico BOX 960X600


Spend an afternoon riding bikes on one of the numerous trails on the island. Distance cyclists will love the bike lane that extends for miles along NC Highway 12, while the trails in Hatteras Village are known for taking bikers past historic houses and island spots. Pack a picnic lunch and cycle along the Buxton Woods trail loop to a charming picnic area.

You can rent your perfect rental from VayK Gear or one of the other local rental shops. Most of these businesses will deliver the bikes right to your Hatteras Island vacation rental home and pick them up as well. When reserving your rental bike, check out what accessories are available, like locks, cup holders, and pull-behind trailers.

In addition to riding along trails, this two-wheel mode of transportation is excellent for discovering local shops and hidden gems found near your vacation rental home.

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Attractive young couple wearing helmets bicycles across a wooden bridge in Salvo on Hatteras Island


The Outer Banks, specifically Hatteras Island, are home to breathtaking flora and fauna. For a laid-back nature outing, grab your binoculars and set off on a birdwatching excursion. You might spot everything from American Robins to willets! Different species can be seen at different times of the year, so be sure to do a bit of research beforehand to know what you're looking for.

Located along the Atlantic Flyway, the Outer Banks is home to countless migratory birds. One of the best birdwatching spots on Hatteras Island is Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. The 13-mile-long ecosystem attracts over 360 species of birds that can be viewed by land or sea. You can even enjoy a bit of birdwatching from the comfort of your Hatteras Island home away from home.

To have a fun but safe birdwatching adventure, make sure to bring bug spray and plenty of water. You'll also want a pair of binoculars to give you the best chance of spotting these Outer Banks residents.

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Silhouettes of two bird watching figures and a camera tripod against a beautiful sunset over the Pamilco Sound

Horseback Riding

Give horseback riding a try for a memorable way to experience the beauty of the Outer Banks and Hatteras Island. Take in views of Ocracoke Island, Hatteras Inlet, the Atlantic Ocean, and Pamlico Sound on an unforgettable outing led by a knowledgeable guide. While you'll want to dress for the weather, we recommend long pants and closed-toed shoes.

Several local companies like Hatteras Island Horseback Riding and Equine Adventures will help you explore the coastal beauty of Hatteras Island. No matter which tour you book, you'll enjoy an outing that showcases all of the Outer Banks' natural beauty. Remember to ask about age, height, and weight restrictions when reserving your ride.

Even if you have never been horseback riding before, your helpful guide will ensure everyone is comfortable in the saddle before setting off. Most tours are geared for riders of all levels, including those with little experience.

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Couple poses on horseback in front of a calm ocean and a deep blue sky near Hatteras Village on the beach


Explore the waters of Hatteras Island via kayaking for an up-close view of the ocean and flora and fauna that call the marshland and brackish sound waters home. Rent your own single or tandem kayak from VayK Gear or Ocean Atlantic Rentals to captain your own outing. You can also let experienced guides from Kitty Hawk Kites show you around on phenomenal tours as sunset or around Roanoke Island.

Kayaking is one of the most popular ways to experience Hatteras Island's beauty from the water. During your adventure, keep your eyes peeled for the waterfowl and other inhabitants that call the sound waters and marshland home. You never know what flora or fauna you'll stumble upon!

Not only is kayaking a great way to take in the splendor of the Outer Banks, but it's also a fantastic way to sneak in a bit of a workout during your vacation. Just make sure you apply plenty of sunscreen before setting off.

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Off Season Box3b Kayak Couple Sound 960X600


Try your hand at kiteboarding, a high-energy sport that attracts thousands of visitors to Cape Hatteras each year to launch spots like Canadian Hole or Salvo Day Use Area. These areas offer wide sandy beaches, perfect for rigging, and shallow Pamlico Sound waters, great for those still getting the hang of this sport. There are also several nationally known outfitters that can show you the ropes, including Real Watersports and Rad Kite and Jet Ski Rental.

For those more experienced, head to Kite Point, also known as "The Cove." Credited as the birthplace of kiteboarding on Hatteras Island, this location is about 100 yards away from the Atlantic Ocean, an ideal place for advanced kiteboarders to practice their skills. Make launching your kiteboard a breeze by staying at one of our soundfront homes.

With ideal wind conditions, spring and fall are prime kiteboarding seasons. If you're an avid kiteboarder, we highly recommend booking your getaway during these times of year for the best experience possible.

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View from behind two kiteboarders carving down a narrow cut along the edge of the Pamlico Sound near Rodanthe

Offshore Charter Fishing

Offshore anglers consider Hatteras Island one of the best charter fishing launch points for a reason. Hatteras Island is close to the Gulf Stream, a 40 to 50-mile wide current that runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean. Several species use the fast-moving waters for migration. Because of this, the seas that sound the Outer Banks island are home to popular sport fish like yellowfin tuna and king mackerel.

Increase your chances of reeling in a big one by reserving your spot on a local charter that sets off from marinas like the Oregon-Inlet Fishing Center or Hatteras Harbor Marina. These outings fill up quickly, so secure your spot as early as possible. Your fresh catch will make the perfect main dish for a home-cooked meal at your Hatteras Island vacation home rental.

When booking your charter excursion, check to see if they provide the license or if you will need to purchase your own. You will also want to inquire about what supplies are provided.

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Silhouette of a charter fishing boat framed by an orange sunset over the ocean reflecting on the water


Stand-up paddleboarding is one of the newest and fastest-growing aquatic adventures on Hatteras Island. Once you get the hang of proper foot positioning, paddle techniques, and balance, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a great way to explore local waterways. 

If you're brand new to this sport, don't worry! Places like Kitty Hawk Kites offer lessons to help you get a better grasp on the basics. Have even more fun on your paddleboarding adventure by trying SUP Yoga or a guided tour. See Hatteras Island in a different light by setting off on a sunrise or sunset excursion.

Paddleboarding is also enjoyed by four-legged friends. Bring your pup along for the ride by checking to see if your chosen rental company allows dogs on the board.

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Silhouette of a woman holding a paddle on a paddle board on the Pamlico Sound at sunset. Pink and orange sky.


You don't have to leave dry land to enjoy world-class fishing. Hatteras Island is filled with spots for all types of fishing, including surf fishing. With 70 miles of seashore in Cape Hatteras National Seashore, there is no shortage of places to cast your line from as you try to reel in striped bass or red drum.

Fall is prime surf fishing season on Hatteras Island, especially for those hoping to catch finger mullet, flounder, or black drum. Summer is a great time to head out for an early morning of fishing for cobias and Spanish mackerel. No matter when you are surf fishing, make sure you have the proper fishing license, which can be purchased online or at a Local Outer Banks tackle shop.

If you think you reeled in a prize catch, see if your catch is eligible for a North Carolina Fishing Citation by visiting a local tackle shop with a weight station. Keep reading for more information on the requirements for the citation.

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Silhouette of two men surf fishing in the ocean framed by a deep yellow and orange sunrise sky


Those looking to surf, from beginners to experts, will have no difficulty finding somewhere to catch waves, thanks to the miles of shoreline on Hatteras Island. Surfing is so popular here, Hatteras Island has even hosted national surfing tournaments. The seasons can have an impact on your surfing experience. Storms in the fall and spring can create larger swells, especially north of Cape Hatteras, while months like June and July are known for smaller waves. 

Improve your surfing skills by booking a lesson with Hatteras Island surf shops, including Ride Hatteras and Fox Watersports. The surf shops are great spots to purchase custom boards designed specifically for Hatteras Island waves. You can also find a wide range of rental board options.

Even if you aren't looking to catch a wave yourself, you can still enjoy the sport. Stretch out along the sandy shoreline as you watch riders try to catch a swell.

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Two young girls ride as small wave on a longboard surfboard with big grins on their faces


For more than two decades, the Outer Banks has helped put windsurfing on the map. Thanks to the perfect conditions on the Pamlico Sound and Atlantic Ocean, windsurfers from all over make their way to Hatteras Island. During the spring and fall, windsurfers find their way to the soundside beaches at Canadian Hole, also known as the Haulover Day Use Area, for easy, laidback rides.

Whether new to the sport or looking to improve your skills, several nationally recognized windsurfing companies offer lessons on Hatteras Island. Shops like Hatteras Island Surf Shop and OceanAir Sports offer several lesson options and equipment rentals.

Hatteras Island is such a popular windsurfing destination, there's even an annual festival celebrating the sport. Stretching over multiple days, the even has things to do for windsurfers of all skill levels.

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Single bright blue windsurfer with orange trim cuts across an expanse of blue water

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Discover more exciting things to do on your Outer Banks vacation. Learn how to have the perfect Hatteras Island beach day, or discover fun things to do on a rainy day. If you're looking to explore more of the Outer Banks, plan day trips to nearby towns like Ocracoke or Nags Head. 

A Hatteras Island vacation rental home from Surf or Sound Realty is the perfect home base for any Outer Banks getaway. Be close to countless activities and attractions while having a relaxing place to call home. Contact us today for more information about things to do and see on your escape!

Whether you're planning a trip for the whole family or a romantic escape for two, Hatteras Island has something for everyone. With so many things to do and see, rest easy knowing your group will never be bored!

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A sand access road leads to the beach and the ocean beyond in this drone shot from over a parking access near Route 12