Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Buxton, NC

  • Published 2023/02/03

If you’ve been looking for a beach vacation spot to unplug and unwind, look no further than Buxton, North Carolina.

This charming coastal community is the perfect place to de-stress and relax with its beautiful beaches and amazing attractions.

The town is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and it features a charming downtown area filled with locally-owned restaurants and boutique shops.

Discover great locations, from breathtaking beaches and amazing walking trails to an array of museums and cultural activities in nearby communities.

So get your bags ready, pack your sunscreens, and read on for the 25 best things to do in Buxton, North Carolina!

Climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Scenic view of the tall Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Stephen B. Goodwin /

Get ready to feel the ocean breeze atop a beautiful vantage point overlooking a fantastic view at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

This beautiful location offers a tranquil experience while enjoying a scenic view of the surrounding floras and the ocean on the horizon.

Historically, this lighthouse has served mariners since 1803 and has improved throughout the years.

The entrance of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Tom Worsley /

The Sea Museum, which used to be a temporary home for the keepers, gives visitors a glimpse of how the lighthouse transpired to how it is today.

Now, it stands 150 feet tall on the beautiful Buxton and brings many people a chance to marvel at its glory and the surrounding view.

Don’t miss out on this, and head down to Lighthouse Rd for a picturesque experience!

The beacon of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Zack Frank /

Hike at the Buxton Woods Nature Trail

Are you looking for a chance to escape to nature’s serene forests?

Then head to the Buxton Woods Trail for a relaxing time with your friends and family, even your furry buddies!

This loop trail spans 1.29 kilometers and is pretty easy for the little ones, with about 18 minutes of hiking to reach the end.

Surrounding you are the scenic landscapes, various floras, and wildlife that will pique your curiosity and leave you in awe.

And along the way, very informative signs are put up for the visitors to have a learning experience while enjoying the tranquil hike.

Going out on a sunny day merits picturesque scenes of the landscape and surrounding nature, so take in the luxurious experience, pack some lunch, put on some sunscreen, and enjoy the hike!

Visit this beautiful trail along Lighthouse Road and enjoy nature!

Windsurf in the Waters of Canadian Hole

Soft-colored sunset over Canadian Hole

Cvandyke /

If you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway, look no further than this incredible destination.

Put on your swimsuits, pack your lunch and enjoy a sunny day at the picturesque Canadian Hole.

This location, also known as Kite Point, is a prime spot for people who seek the thrill of windsurfing, as this place is considered one of the best spots with the perfect conditions for it.

Scenic view of Canadian Hole's water

Cvandyke /

This beach offers visitors a plethora of activities to do with friends and family, making your experience here one to remember.

Enjoy the white sands and the soothing sound of the waves lapping against the shore—of course, don’t forget your sunscreens!

You can swim in the warm and inviting water, sunbathe, or enjoy a relaxing time out while enjoying the scenery of the Atlantic to clear your soul and mind.

Whatever floats your boat, this spot is certainly a place that should be on your go-to list—visit the Canadian Hole, located along NC Highway 12.

Go Surf Fishing at Cape Point

Put on your sunscreen, feel the sunny day out on the beach, and enjoy all this spot offers you.

Cape Point is a prime spot for many thrilling adventures there is to do on the ocean, with the perfectly glistening waters, the rich marine biodiversity, and white sand.

The beach is a sight to behold, with the bright blue Atlantic Ocean rushing up against the shore and sparkling in the sun.

This spot, known for surf fishing by the locals, offers excellent stories to tell about the many kinds of fish and catches people have here—plus, fishing isn’t the only fun thing you could do.

Grab a chair, get your favorite cocktail and enjoy the sunny day, play in the sand with buddies, or you could even go hunting for some gorgeous seashells or dip in the water.

No matter what brings you here, one thing is certain: you’re sure to find something that will make your visit memorable!

Go Surfing on the Old Lighthouse Beach

Big waves of Old Lighthouse Beach

MarkVanDykePhotography /

Prep your surfboard for this gorgeous location, prime for the thrill and the fun of the sport.

The Old Lighthouse Beach has been the go-to beach of the locals ever since, and for good reasons.

The glistening cool waters, the fantastic shoreline filled with shells, and the many things one can do to enjoy a lovely day outdoors.

Waters of Old Lighthouse Beach

MarkVanDykePhotography /

Most notably, the water’s condition here is why most surfers come here to surf and have a blast and why the ESA regional championship was held in this spot!

Plus, there are many things to do for non-surfers out there, like dipping in the water to cool off, looking for gorgeous seashells, or munching on delicious snacks while enjoying the sunny day.

Don’t miss out on this fantastic spot—head to Old Lighthouse Beach for a fun time with your friends and family!

Visit the Historic WWII British Sailor Cemetery

Remember the heroes that served and defended the people and freedom, pay respects and visit this historic cemetery.

Here rest the brave sailors aboard the HMT Bed­fordshire, brought down by the German U-boat, U-558 on May 11, 1942, named Sub-Lt. Thomas Cunningham, RNVR, Stanley Craig, 2nd Class Telegraphist, and two unknown men.

The cemetery is adorned with flowers, a flag, four crosses representing the four heroes of WWII, and a plaque to remember all aboard the HMT Bedfordshire.

The coast guard and the caretakers hold ceremonies yearly to honor those that served.

Head to the Ocracoke Village to visit the cemetery and remember the sailors who gave their lives to give life to others.

Book Your Stay at Lighthouse View Oceanfront Lodging

If you’re looking for a place to rest your weary feet after a long day at the beach, look no further than the Lighthouse View Oceanfront Lodging.

There’s nothing quite like a comfortable bed to crawl into after a long day of surfing, swimming, and sunning.

Whether you’re traveling with friends or family, or just on your own, they’ve got the perfect space for you.

Just steps from the ocean, you’ll find yourself surrounded by all of the comfort and luxury your heart desires, and when you want to indulge in some fun? It’s only a stone’s throw away!

Quaint and comfortable, complete with amenities all you could ask for, there’s no better place than this lodging located along NC Hwy 12!

Learn about Local Maritime History at the Museum of the Sea

Exterior of Museum of the Sea

Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For the history buffs out there looking to learn about the great history of the nearby Outer Banks and the maritime activities it has witnessed, this spot is definitely for you.

Quaint, informative, historical—the Museum of the Sea, standing next to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, offers the curious a glimpse of the past and a chance to learn critical moments the island group has witnessed.

A display in Museum of the Sea

Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What used to be the home of caretakers of the lighthouse, the Museum of the Sea offers visitors a chance to observe and admire exhibits, request videos, or ask well-informed staff to learn more conversationally.

An exhibit in Museum of the Sea

Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Adorned with wooden furniture and a fireplace, finished with wooden floors and panels, the ambiance and aesthetic of the place give off the impression that makes you feel like you’ve traveled back in time.

Don’t miss out on this beautiful experience—head to Lighthouse Rd, Buxton, near the lighthouse.

Exhibit in Museum of the Sea

Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pitch Your Tent at Cape Point Campground

Get your camping gear ready, pack your lunch, and enjoy the outdoors with your friends and family in this great camping spot in Buxton.

The Cape Point Campground features a vast flat space able to accommodate tent campers, RVs, and other self-contained vehicles with its 199 camping sites.

With the beautiful landscape, a fantastic view of the forest, the lighthouse, and the glistening ocean, its picturesque outdoor experience at the campsite are top-notch.

Stay up late with your buddies to tell stories, get comfortable with nature, enjoy the breathtaking sights, or catch the sunrise—no matter how you spend your time here, a great time is guaranteed.

Other amenities available for the visitors include clean restrooms, cold showers, dump stations for RVs, and grills and picnic tables available on every site.

Don’t forget to put this spot on your list—head along the Old Lighthouse Rd for a great camping experience!

Get Acquainted with the Charming Community at Downtown Buxton

Stroll through town, and get a chance to see all the many attractions and offerings the locals have for you.

Shop for local goods, drink coffee in cozy cafes, get to know the people who call this place home, talk with the locals and get their recommendations for places you must visit during your stay.

Head to some of the many souvenir shops as you might find trinkets and oddities you would want to bring home.

Great restaurants and diners dot the area, fulfilling whatever food niche you crave.

And other attractions offer many a chance to explore and discover places that’ll make your experience one to remember.

Get adventurous and explore the Buxton and all of its beauty!

Fly a Kite while Running along the Sand at Kite Point

Situated along the south corner of North Carolina Highway 12, Kite Point sits as an astounding sound-side beach.

What once was an abandoned sand front, this kiteboarding site became famous among windsurfers in the early 90s.

Canadian Hole was one of the go-to kiteboarding sites for many people, but when this attraction became flocked with tourists and locals, many shifted to Kite Point.

And they were not disappointed.

This site’s consistent breezy air and humid water temperatures have made it an ideal location for any sort of water-based sport.

And to complete your classic kiteboarding adventure, Kite Point offers stunning vistas of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in the distance.

Ride a Horse along the Beachside at Lighthouse Horse Rides

Whether you’re a horse lover or not, you should at least try riding a horse while exploring Buxton.

Lighthouse Horse Rides can make your horseback riding dreams come true.

This company service also offers wagon rides for the whole family.

And there are custom riding options for tall and short riders, too!

Celebrate your weddings, birthdays, and family gatherings with a family package horse ride and make your experience an unforgettable memory.

Ready yourself—and your spirit—for a riding adventure at Lighthouse Horse Rides on Buxton Back Road.

Set Camp at Island Hide-A-Way Campground

The quaint Island Hide-A-Way Campground is an RV and tent campsite.

Set within an unassuming location, this camping ground offers sweeping views of natural landscapes.

Secluded and private, it offers full hookups, making it an excellent area for first-time campers and families.

This hidden gem in Buxton sits on about 3 acres of grass and gravel.

The site is also set near an ice cream shop.

Island Hide-A-Way Campground is right along Buxton Back Road, ready to welcome your adventurous spirit.

Buy a Book at Buxton Village Books

Buxton Village Books is not your ordinary bookstore.

This independent and full-service bookstore set within the coastal sections of Buxton is as good as a historical landmark as it is just a place selling books.

Since 1984, this store has already been serving the community with classical and modern book collections.

Browse through paperbacks, bestseller novels, and even new releases.

Buxton Village Books does not disappoint when it comes to events, too!

Some of its events in the past include journaling workshops and author porch discussions.

And to commemorate your visit, why not buy from its unique Sea Bag collections?

You can find this quaint bookshop along US Highway 12.

Learn a Few Skateboarding Tricks at The Fessenden Center

The Fessenden Center is your best bet for all-around fun when in Buxton.

Offering a mix of indoor and outdoor amenities, this center is on US Highway 12.

If your idea of entertainment is to stay indoors, you might like the facility’s activity room, gymnasium, and observation decks.

Going outside, you’ll find outdoor sports courts, including a basketball court and some soccer goal nets.

Its skate park is a common spot among daredevils and extreme sports enthusiasts.

Try your hand at the sport, too, and practice a few stunts and skills while doing so.

The Fessenden Center opens its doors to you and your family!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Cast Your Lines Out at the Avon Fishing Pier

Scenic sunrise over Avon Fishing Pier

Cvandyke /

Prep your fishing gear, bring your buddies, and head to this beautifully tranquil spot afloat the glistening waters of the Avon Fishing Pier.

Spanning 665 feet into the Atlantic ocean, this pier was constructed by two local brothers and has since opened and offered many a chance to cast out their lines since 1963.

Visitors can relax while fishing with their buddies and feel the warm sun on their skin.

Fishing rods leaning against Avon Fishing Pier's railing

Ken Schulze /

Take a pleasant stroll through the length of this pier, and listening to the crashing waves ensures a relaxing time.

Or sit down and enjoy the sight of beautiful water, the clear skies, and the stretching horizon.

Head down to this fantastic spot for a great time, located in Avon, just a couple of minutes of travel time from Buxton.

The view under Avon Fishing Pier

Tom Worsley /

Learn about History at Frisco Native American Museum and Natural History Center

Road sign of Frisco Native American Museum and Natural History Center

Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Get a chance to explore the fascinating heritage culture of the great Native Americans with this museum‘s expansive collection of amazing exhibits.

Since 1987, this museum has shared its love for preserving history through wonderful arts and showcasing interesting crafts of old.

Enjoy your time in the photo gallery, and see their portraits, sculptures, artifacts, and many other art exhibits you’ll surely find intriguing.

Take a stroll through their nature trails, experience the outdoors, and bask in the beauty of the surrounding flora.

But don’t forget to swing by their gift shop for the perfect souvenir to bring home.

Drop by this amazing museum in Frisco, just 10 minutes away from Buxton, for a memorable experience!

Discover the Legend of The Cora Tree

Gather ’round and listen to the great story of this centuries-old tree dating back to the Salem era.

The Cora Tree, tall and majestic, is situated between a fork along the street and has stood there since the 1600s.

It tells a tale full of mystery and witchcraft, said to have been the place where a pirate burned Cora, an alleged witch, and her baby.

People can pay homage to its lore by visiting it along the streets of Snug Harbor Drive, which is just 5 minutes away from Buxton.

Don’t forget to put this in your list of go-to’s, and pay homage to this great folklore of old.

Spend a Fun-Filled Day at Frisco Mini Golf & Go-Karts

Are you ready for a fun time teeing off and racing with your friends and family?

Then head on to Frisco Mini Golf & Go-Karts for a guaranteed fun time!

The Frisco Mini Golf & Go-Karts offer many a chance to spend a nice day out and enjoy activities that guarantee an awesome experience.

Tee off the many courses they offer to many that want to swing and showcase their skills through a friendly game or solo.

Race off with your buddies on sweet go-karts that will surely bring you the need for speed.

Or get riled up in bumper kart and show them you really mean business!

An ecstatic time is guaranteed in this location, so head out for a 5-minute drive to Trent Lake Lane and have a blast!

Final Thoughts

Buxton, North Carolina, is a charming, picturesque haven filled with natural wonders, old-fashioned amenities, and new-fashioned luxuries.

No matter what you’re looking for, this island has got it all, and it’s all there waiting for you to discover, so don’t forget to bookmark this list for an amazing time!

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