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What is there to do on Hatteras Island?

Many visitors come to Hatteras Island for fantastic fishing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, and surfing. Even without a board, there are plenty of outdoor activities on the Outer Banks for sports enthusiasts. Whether you stick to the water or decide to wander off the beaten path on a hiking adventure, Hatteras Island is the perfect refuge for outdoor and sports enthusiasts.

Some of the most popular activities don't require a lot of strength or endurance. The possibilities are endless, from golfing to horseback riding, tennis, and parasailing. See what activities you can discover that'll increase your heart rate while allowing you to soak in the North Carolina sunshine. Recreation equipment is available to rent at many local shops.

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One of the remarkable characteristics that keep vacationers returning to Hatteras Island year after year is the unpopulated North Carolina beaches. It's easy to pull over on a deserted stretch of NC Highway 12 or walk to a secluded beach from your oceanfront rental home with Surf or Sound.

The Cape Hatteras beaches offer one of the best destinations for beachcombers searching for sea glass and seashells. With the island being 30 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, great beach finds continually wash up on our shores. The same currents and conditions that bring great seashells also bring great fishing to Hatteras Island. Avid Outer Banks anglers flock to these beaches for some of the best surf fishing in North Carolina.

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See what you can discover when your adventures keep you on dry land. Hatteras Island is home to a number of hiking trails that truly showcase the beauty of this Outer Banks region. On your next visit, lace up your hiking boots and explore a popular nature trail.

Wander a seldom-seen portion of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, hiking through the trails found inside the Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve. One of the most popular trails on Hatteras Island is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Trail, a .75-mile loop trail that starts near the popular landmark. 

You can also chart your own hiking journey by exploring the trails and paths found throughout Hatteras Island. Regardless of where your feet lead you, you're sure to stumble upon breathtaking terrains and scenery.

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Scenic wooden walkway through lush vegetation for hiking and walking on Hatteras Island

Manteo Day Trip

The Outer Banks offer a perfect gateway to historic Roanoke Island. This island is rich in history and family-friendly activities throughout the towns of Manteo and Wanchese. If you decide to go, there are quite a few must-see attractions just waiting to be discovered! Give yourself plenty of time to find incredible things to do in Manteo.

Manteo is home to several incredible spots that every Outer Banks visitor must experience at least once. The North Carolina Aquarium allows visitors to journey from coastal freshwaters to the deep Atlantic Ocean. Located just north of Manteo and adjacent to Fort Raleigh National Historical Park, you will find the Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island, a 16th-century garden created as a memorial to the original Lost Colonists.

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Drone view of the northern corner of the Manteo waterfront and boardwalk. Sailboats dot the marina on the left.

Nags Head Day Trip

For a fun excursion off the island, many visitors enjoy a day exploring Hatteras Island's northern neighbors, the towns of Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, and Kitty Hawk. This collection of towns known as the Central Outer Banks offers plenty of family-friendly activities for the young and the young at heart. It is also an enjoyable day trip for Hatteras Island vacationers. 

If you decide to go, there is a collection of "must-see" attractions just waiting to be discovered, including Bodie Island Lighthouse and the Wright Brothers Memorial. See what deals you can find at the outlet mall in Nags Head. Outdoor enthusiasts will have a blast visiting Jockey's Ridge State Park.

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Jennette's Pier, seen from the beach on the south side, is bathed in orange light of sunrise against a pink and orange sky

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

There's nothing more relaxing than a day at the beach. With over 70 miles of national seashore that spans from the Oregon Inlet to the southern tip of Ocracoke Island, there is plenty of sandy shoreline to explore in the Outer Banks. The beaches of Hatteras Island are located inside Cape Hatteras National Seashore, so you should know a few guidelines before heading to the beach.

Off-road vehicles (ORVs) are welcome on many of Hatteras Island's beaches, but you are required to have a permit for driving on the beach. Sometimes the perfect end to your beach day is a bonfire on the beach with your family. This evening activity is allowed as long as the following park service rules are observed.

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Hatteras Island Dolphin Tours

The waters surrounding Hatteras Island are more than just the perfect spot for aquatic adventures. They are also home to a world of sea life, like dolphins and porpoises. Get an up-close look at Hatteras Island's most popular residents on Outer Banks dolphin tours. Local charter companies can help you catch a glimpse of these creatures as they frolic in their natural habitat.

Another fantastic option for dolphin watching is right from your Surf or Sound Realty vacation rental home. The back decks of our oceanfront homes are an excellent option for spotting dolphins just past the breakers in the early morning light.

Whether on a guided tour or relaxing on your Hatteras Island vacation rental home's deck, stay alert. A dolphin or porpoise fin can peek out of the water at any time but often for only a few seconds.

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Two dolphin surface near the viewer on a dolphin tour boat.  The shore of the sound can be seen in the distance.

Ocracoke Day Trip

A day trip to nearby Ocracoke Island is just one of many memorable things you can do on vacation. Located just south of Hatteras Village, this barrier island is a unique stretch of North Carolina's Outer Banks ripe for exploring. A trip to this charming vacation destination is a breath of fresh salt air, and there's no shortage of activities and attractions to discover. The only way to get to this spot is by ferry.

When you arrive on the island, let the exploration begin. This Outer Banks island is filled with a variety of activities and attractions that everyone in your group will love. Wander the four-square-mile village, discover the Ocracoke Island Pony Pens, spend time on the beach, or visit the historic lighthouse.

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The Outer Banks

With miles of natural scenic beauty and southern coastal charm, North Carolina's Outer Banks is the USA's top beach vacation destination. Whether enjoying a family trip or a getaway with your closest friends, you won't have trouble finding amazing attractions and unique adventures near your Hatteras Island vacation rental

Learn about the history of the Lost Colony or the Wright Brothers' first flight. Spend as much time outdoors as possible kiteboarding, fishing, or simply relaxing on the beach. Of course, there are plenty of memorable things to see, including lighthouses, museums, and more. No matter where your interests lie, there is sure to be something that piques your interest.

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Rainy Day Activities

There are plenty of things to do in the Outer Banks on a rainy afternoon on Hatteras Island. While each family can come up with their own creative ideas, a few rainy day activities are a must on any Outer Banks vacation. Take pictures of the spectacular cloud formations that storm systems can create, or play arcade games at a local arcade.

There is also fun to be had at your Hatteras Island vacation rental. Rainy days allow you to explore the local markets for some fun recipes that you don't have time to experiment with at home. Get creative in the kitchen, end up with a multi-course masterpiece, toss a bushel of crabs in the pot, spread out the newspaper, and have a seafood feast.

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Restaurants & Nightlife

One of the best aspects of any vacation is not having to cook, and Hatteras Island offers a fine selection of restaurants that cater to a variety of taste buds. There are endless Hatteras Island restaurants for every taste, from fine dining establishments for a sophisticated palette to your basic local hangout for steamed shrimp and a cold one.

Why not spend a warm summer evening in good company, admiring a breathtaking sunset, enjoying drinks, and listening to live music? Sip on a fruity beverage while sitting on the deck listening to one of our talented local musicians play familiar tunes. We also have a few island venues that schedule regular entertainment and welcome touring artists.

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Shopping on the Outer Banks

One of the most enjoyable parts of any Outer Banks getaway is picking up some souvenirs to remember your trip. The Outer Banks shopping scene on Hatteras Island has a lot to offer. From seashells to sweatshirts, fine art to fishing poles, the seaside shopaholic won't leave the island unfulfilled.

If you want to do some outlet shopping, plan a day trip to Nags Head and outlet mall, less than a mile north of the seashore. The shops found on Hatteras Island are mainly mom-and-pop shops filled with local charm. The best way to find a unique piece of Hatteras Island to bring home is by exploring the island's art scene.

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The Pamlico Sound is a large body of water between Hatteras Island and the mainland, reaching 30 miles wide at some points. Most of the sound near the shoreline is shallow enough to walk. This makes the Pamlico Sound a wonderful place to learn a new watersport. Try your hand at standing up on the paddleboard, flying the kiteboarding kite, sailing the windsurfer, or paddling the kayak

Because the sound's waters are shallow in many spots, it is a great option if you are vacationing with small children. Bring your toddlers to the sound and let them splash around in the shallow water to their hearts' content. For an extra level of enjoyment, take along a raft, inner tube, or boogie board for them to float on.

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Many visitors come to Hatteras Island for fantastic fishing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, and surfing. Even without a board, there are plenty of outdoor activities on the Outer Banks for sports enthusiasts. Whether you stick to the water or decide to wander off the beaten path on a hiking adventure, Hatteras Island is the perfect refuge for outdoor and sports enthusiasts.

Some of the most popular activities don't require a lot of strength or endurance. The possibilities are endless, from golfing to horseback riding, tennis, and parasailing. See what activities you can discover that'll increase your heart rate while allowing you to soak in the North Carolina sunshine. Recreation equipment is available to rent at many local shops.

Read More
Water view of a surf instructor pushing a boy on a surfboard into a green wave under a blue sky as part of a surf lesson

Things to Do in Winter on the Outer Banks

Unlike other parts of the country, winter on Hatteras Island doesn’t mean freezing cold and blowing snow. On average, temperatures remain in the upper 50’s. This forecast means you have endless possibilities for adventure, both indoors and outdoors.

Go for a walk along the beach to see what shells you can find. Winter storms are perfect for unearthing treasures that would have otherwise remained hidden. Winter is an ideal time to visit popular landmarks like the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse because you can soak in its rich history without large groups of people in the way. Of course, there are countless holiday festivities to experience as well!

There’s nothing like winter on Hatteras Island. Create lifelong memories as you go for a stroll along the shoreline or cast your line from the back of a charter boat.

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Sand path leading to the ocean flanked by straw-colored winter dune grasses under a blue sky invite you to do winter things

Things to Do in Spring on the Outer Banks

Spring on Hatteras Island is marked by mild temperatures ranging from 50 to 70 degrees and lower humidity. These conditions make it a great time to explore all of Hatteras Island’s natural beauty before summer crowds arrive. 

Off-season is a great time for casting your line. With fewer crowds, you have more shoreline to choose from for your perfect surf fishing spot. Conditions are also ideal for other aquatic activities like kiteboarding at Mirlo Beach or windsurfing on the Pamlico Sound. If Mother Nature puts a damper on your spring day, don’t worry! There’s also a wide variety of things to enjoy on a rainy day.

With so many things to do, you can stay busy during your spring getaway from sunrise to sunset! Don’t forget to see what fun you can get into without having to leave your Hatteras Island vacation rental home.

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A wooden footpath with handrails leads through lush spring vegetation on a Hatteras Island hiking trail

Things to Do in Summer on the Outer Banks

There’s a reason summer is a popular time to visit Hatteras Island. With temperatures ranging from the high-70’s to the mid-80’s, rising water temperatures, and what feels like endless days of sunshine, this is truly an idyllic time to visit this Outer Banks region. 

Reserve your spot on a local off-shore fishing charter, and let a knowledgeable guide show you the best spot to drop anchor. You may just catch the perfect fish for dinner! Summer is also a great time to explore attractions on dry land. Places like Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge offer visitors a chance to discover local wildlife and ecosystems.

We highly recommend spending as much time outdoors as possible during your summer escape. From adventures on dry land to experiences on the open water, the possibilities are endless.

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Experiences Summer BOX1 960X600 Bodyboarding (1)

Things to Do in the Fall on the Outer Banks

While things start to cool off in the fall, highs can still range from the low-80’s to mid-60’s. These comfortable conditions mean you can still enjoy all the thrilling things to do Hatteras Island has to offer. In fact, some of the most popular activities are best enjoyed during the fall.

See what you can catch fishing from Hatteras Island’s two public fishing piers, Avon Fishing Pier and Rodanthe Pier. Try your hand at surfing the waves that roll in without worrying about the crowded waters of summer. Relax under the starry North Carolina summer with a beach bonfire, legal year-round in select locations with a permit.

There are countless reasons to visit Hatteras Island and the Outer Banks during the fall. Experience the beauty of this season by planning your getaway with Surf or Sound Realty today!

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Drone view of the ferry docks in Hatteras Village on a calm windless day, bathed in warm fall light.