Hatteras Attractions

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The natural world is the most stunning of Hatteras attractions — from Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to Hatteras Island National Seashore. It’s hard for anything else to compete with the wonders that Mother Nature provides here, so many of the local points of interest are nature-oriented. You can walk mile upon mile of beautifully undeveloped shorefront searching for shells and other treasures or get yourself out into the deep, blue sea on anything that floats — standup paddleboards and kiteboards are the latest crazes. But beyond the water, the landscape and the wildlife, there are some fantastic Hatteras attractions that offer interesting diversions and inform visitors about the rich history of Hatteras Island. The most well-known of Hatteras attractions is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, but other popular sites will get you up close and personal with the Native Americans who were the real first inhabitants of these islands, teach you about how locals predicted weather years ago, about the courageous men from the U.S. Life-Saving Service who went to the aid of hundreds of shipwreck victims and about the long and storied history of the Graveyard of the Atlantic. The Hatteras attractions are either free or charge a very modest fee. Several of the places listed here are also included in Hatteras History, so you may want to refer back to that section for more information. Also see Hatteras things to do for other ways to get to know this island.

Hatteras Attraction by Location or Category


South of the Tri-Villages of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo, past a sizable stretch of undeveloped Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Avon is considered the largest and busiest of the Hatteras Island towns (but remember that’s relative to Hatteras Island, not where you come from). Avon has the only two stoplights on the island and the only chain grocery store. It also has a wealth of accommodations,... read more

Buxton and Frisco

Buxton and Frisco are two distinct villages but they border one another (without any parklands in between) so they kind of blend together. Both of these villages are set among the Buxton Woods Maritime Forest, lending a different feel from the villages to the north, and Buxton is situated at the island’s widest point.

Buxton is the home of the world-famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which you... read more

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station

23645 N.C. Highway 12, Rodanthe
(252) 987-1552

The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station is the nation’s largest and most complete existing example of the life-saving stations that were built along the Atlantic coast in the late 19th century to attend to shipwrecks and to rescue survivors. The 1874 Station was the first operational Life-Saving station built in North Carolina, serving until 1954. Chicamacomico has been partially restored, thanks to numerous volunteers who formed a... read more

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras Village
(252) 986-2995

At the end of N.C. Highway 12 just past the ferry docks, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum attracts a lot of attention with its ship-like building, porthole windows and curved timbers. One of three North Carolina Maritime Museums operated by the North Carolina Division of Cultural Resources, the museum focuses on the maritime history and shipwrecks of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, often called the... read more

Hatteras Village

On the southern end of Hatteras Island, Hatteras, or as the locals call it, Hatteras Village, is known for its ties to offshore fishing. The village borders Hatteras Inlet, giving recreational and commercial fishing boats an easy route to the Gulf Stream and the inshore fishing grounds. Hatteras has several marinas where commercial and recreational boats dock, making this a great place from which to... read more

Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo

Known as the Tri-Villages, the communities of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo border one another on the north end of Hatteras Island (just south of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge). The locals know where the villages begin and end, and while the distinction may not really be important to the visitor, it is very important to someone who grew up here. All three villages are small... read more