Hatteras Island is the perfect combination of natural world and vacation world. If you love being outdoors and in nature, you will love it on Hatteras Island. It feels like a real island retreat. Its vibe is much different from the northern Outer Banks even though it has many of the same vacation offerings. But Cape Hatteras on the whole has a much more laid-back attitude, probably due to its popularity with outdoorsy types and the water sports crowd. It’s more relaxed, a little simpler and definitely slower paced.
Hatteras things to do proves to be a magnet for those who love surfing, kite boarding, wind surfing, birding, paddling, camping, scuba diving and the beach, for many reasons — mild temperatures for about nine months of the year, abundant and accessible ocean and sound beaches and numerous outfitters.
Of course, the fact that about 75 percent of Hatteras Island is in its nearly natural barrier island state thanks to Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, impressive sand dunes, wide beaches, thick maritime forest and vast marshlands plays a big role in this outdoor, eco-friendly orientation. Taking part in the world famous Hatteras fishing is front and center of what people, locals and visitors alike, do here to be happy.
Hatteras attractions are connected to the roots of the island’s history, which includes shipwrecks and the lighthouse that tried to warn them off, the Native Americans who loved this land first, the industry that grew around fishing.
All that outdoor activity tends to build appetites, and luckily there are plenty of Hatteras restaurants to appease the savage stomach. Ranging from upscale but casual to as casual as it gets, area eateries offer up plenty of local, fresh seafood for sure, but you’ll find BBQ, great pizza and Italian, Asian, respectable coffee shops and bakeries, cool burger shacks and plenty more to boot. Note that all of the towns on Hatteras Island have passed the “liquor by the drink” law, and restaurants in those towns that chose to buy a liquor license can now serve liquor drinks in addition to beer and wine. We’re telling you this because it’s a recent change on the island.
You might think a nature-oriented place wouldn’t be too interested in the shopping scene, but that idea is proven wrong here. Hatteras shopping is varied and fun. There are several clothing boutiques that women from “up north” (we mean the Nags Head area) make regular trips to. And some of the art galleries are equally as popular. In between there are wine stores, well-stocked markets, fabulous tackle shops, cool surf shops, gift shops with honestly good stuff, an amazing bookstore, craft galleries…really, more than you could cover in a vacation.
The island’s seven villages cater to visitors with Hatteras hotels and motels that will suit any need – top end to a fisherman’s retreat. And Hatteras vacation rental companies represent vacation homes from the luxurious to the simple. If your planning a Hatteras wedding (as hundreds of couples do every year), ask your rental company if they have special event vacation homes.
Hatteras Island has changed a lot in the four decades since it was connected by bridge to the northern Outer Banks. In that time, visitation has steadily increased so that the island economy is now almost entirely centered on tourism dollars. But the most dramatic changes on Hatteras Island have really occurred in the last five or so years as developers have scooped up the last remaining island properties and built thousands of new, luxury rental homes, luring more tourists who in turn require more amenities like shopping centers, restaurants and things to do. You’ll find everything you need on Hatteras for a great vacation, whether you want a quiet vacation or an active one.