Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Hatteras Island, NC

  • Published 2022/09/23

Located at the southernmost tip of Hatteras Island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, you will find the small, charming village of Hatteras.

Along with its neighbors on the island, this place has a slightly grim past as it was notorious for being the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

However, putting this dark history aside, this gorgeous place boasts a natural, diverse landscape filled with interesting flora and fauna.

Additionally, what were once considered treacherous waters now provide great venues for exciting watersports that everyone can try out.

Experience this unique island’s allure and check out some of the best things to do in Hatteras, NC.

Check Out Hatteras Landing

View of Hatteras Landing

sebastienlemyre /

When you’re in Hatteras, don’t forget to check out Hatteras Landing Marina.

You can find this marina in the middle of a resort complex where you can enjoy many holiday conveniences.

This marina, however, is where you can enjoy both inshore and off-shore fishing closest to the heart of the village.

You don’t have to go far to go fishing.

View of Hatteras Landing

Cvandyke /

Hatteras Landing offers a myriad of fishing or cruising trips you can enjoy.

You can choose from charters that last the entire day or just half a day.

You can even make your own charter.

Pay a visit to Hatteras Landing Marina if you want to try out fishing in this charming village.

Get a Bird’s Eye View of the Village With Hatteras Parasail

There are many opportunities of trying out water-based sports in Hatteras.

For those who are adventurous, try out some of the watersport experiences offered by Hatteras Parasail.

As suggested by its name, this tour company offers exciting parasailing trips that let you view this beautiful village from high up in the air.

Apart from that, it also offers other water-based activities for the entire family.

You can also go on a kayak and paddle or hire wave runners for a thrilling time on the water.

It also lets you rent a boat for a more relaxing trip across the water.

Get your adrenaline pumping by trying out water sports in Hatteras.

Explore the Village on Horseback With Hatteras Island Horsebackriding

One of the unique ways of exploring Hatteras Village and its neighboring areas is through horseback.

Get in touch with Hatteras Island Horseback Riding for some of the most comfortable and memorable tours of the area on horseback.

This tour company provides rides at the southernmost tip of the island that arguably has the most pristine beaches around.

Their tours are great for the entire family as even those without riding experience will be comfortable going on one of their horses.

Check this place out for a unique and unforgettable time in Hatteras.

Visit the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

View of Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

Stephen B. Goodwin /

Established back in 2002, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum has become the area’s most popular tourist destination.

The name comes from the fact that Hatteras Island and its surrounding waters were dubbed “the Graveyard of the Atlantic” due to the tumultuous waters that would crash many sailing vessels.

Today, this region in North Carolina has probably hundreds of shipwrecks sunk due to many different reasons, including weather.

At this museum, you can find many artifacts collected in such shipwrecks, showing maritime history and culture throughout the years.

View of Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

Cvandyke /

Additionally, it also showcases numerous ship models, exhibits about explorers, and lifesaving and rescue operations.

It even has an exhibit of pirates who became famous in the area, such as Blackbeard.

You can also find a collection dedicated to maritime military displace, some of which are from the U.S. Civil War and World War II.

Learn about Maritime History by checking out the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.

Signage of Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

Cvandyke /

Hire a Charter at Miss Hatteras Headboats

When you visit this part of North Carolina, you must spend some time fishing.

If you plan on hiring a charter, consider heading to Miss Hatteras Head Boats.

This charter company has been in the business for more than 30 years on Hatteras Island, so you can trust them to provide you with an amazing trip.

They offer both onshore and offshore fishing charters, perfect for both beginner and expert anglers visiting the area.

If fishing is not your thing, don’t fret!

Miss Hatteras Head Boats also offers relaxing cruises that will provide your family with an enjoyable time on the water.

You can even go on a cruise just to try and spot dolphins!

Learn How to Surf With Endless Summer Surf OBX

In Hatteras, you can enjoy the waters by doing many different water-based activities.

One of the best sports to try out and learn here is surfing.

Check out Endless Summer Surf, where you can rent surfboards and take lessons on how to do this thrilling activity.

Locals passionate about surfing created this service, and they aim to share a wonderful surfing experience with visitors coming to Hatteras.

You can book them for private or semi-private lessons, while your kids can take part in the Kids Surf Camps they organize.

Ride the waves around Hatteras with Endless Summer Surf OBX.

Ride the Hatteras Ocracoke Ferry

View of Hatteras Ocracoke Ferry

Captain-tucker, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can find the ferry that will transfer you to Ocracoke Island in the village of Hatteras.

Apart from its integral and convenient role of transporting people to the nearby area, many also consider it arguably the most popular coastal ferry in the state.

The ferry will pass by Hatteras village and cross the Hatteras inlet before heading to the Ocracoke ferry docks.

During this boat ride, passengers can enjoy watching shorebirds fly by.

View of Hatteras Ocracoke Ferry

Vbofficial, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They will also get to witness either a beautiful sandbar island during low tide or a scenic water view during high tide.

The ferry is equipped to provide comfort to passengers during the trip.

It has a lounge where you and your companions can relax during the trip.

Ferry at Hatteras Ocracoke

Stephen B. Goodwin /

Padded benches are also available in compartments with wall windows that let you see fantastic sea views.

When you’re in the region, don’t hesitate to ride this ferry and have a relaxing time on the way to Ocracoke.

Participate in Activities at the Hatteras Island Ocean Center

Another interesting tourist attraction that you can go to in Hatteras is the local Island Ocean Center.

At this center, you can find opportunities for a myriad of recreational and educational activities fit for every family member.

Many consider it as an outstanding resource for tourists passing by.

Here, you can book kayak tours, look for turtles, go bird watching, and star gazing at night.

They also offer activities like crabbing and science programs.

The Hatteras Island Ocean Center also has exhibits and an interactive museum you and your entire travel party can enjoy.

Don’t miss out on the many activities this ocean center offers.

Find Quirky Art Pieces at Blue Pelican Gallery Gifts and Yarn

Located in the heart of Hatteras is a charming little shop where you can find many local art pieces, crafts products, and collectibles.

It features works by local artist and owner Jenn Johnson and ceramic arts and works by many different artists.

Apart from the masterpieces, you can also buy many souvenirs, craft items, and collectives from this place.

These unique finds include handmade soaps, sea salt that was hand-harvested right from Hatteras Islands, sea turtle ornaments, and more.

So, if you want to find and appreciate unique local art all while being able to shop for some of the best souvenirs and gifts around, check out Blue Pelican Gallery.

Grab Fresh Seafood Products at Harbor House Seafood

Vicki and Robert Harrison made their way to Hatteras Village in 1988 and eventually bought the historic site named “Harbor House.”

After Robert and Graham caught fish off the coast, Vicki started selling it at Harbor House Seafood in 2007.

You don’t just purchase fish from a fishmonger at Harbor House; you buy from a fishermen’s family.

High levels of excellence and sustainability are shared by the boats they source from, which they have fished with for years.

It’s sometimes challenging to purchase seafood straight from a fisherman; nonetheless, Harbor House Seafood is authorized and under regulation by the North Carolina Marine Fisheries and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Expect Stunning Views as you Travel with Family Water Adventures

Family Water Adventures’ proprietor, Tami Gray, established his company in 2007.

Your party will visit several tidal beaches along the coast of Cape Hatteras with Family Water Adventures. These islands are always changing and provide an abundance of shells, fish, and sea life to observe.

They aim to guarantee a good experience for every member of your group.

They provide a cooler for guests’ food and beverages and various experiences.

If you enjoy viewing birds, you will be amazed at the diversity of species you may see, frequently quite close.

Along with taking in the stunning sights, you may go fishing.

Skilled captains and crew members from Family Water Adventures are educated in offering everything you need to experience your family’s water adventure holiday to the fullest.

Satisfy Your Cravings at Rusty’s Surf & Turf

Exterior view of the Rusty's Surf & Turf

Captain-tucker, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

International cuisines are introduced to the Hatteras Island culinary sector by Rusty’s Surf & Turf in Buxton, North Carolina.

Owner, chef, and Hatteras native Rusty Midgett relocated to Philadelphia, where he worked with renowned chefs at some of the village’s best restaurants to perfect his restaurant and cooking techniques.

His restaurant in Buxton, North Carolina, uses straightforward presentations with hints of global flare.

He likes to surprise his clients with enticing tastes in straightforward recipes that evoke an intimate connection with food; he creates each dish with skill and attention.

Fresh fish, shellfish, organic chicken, meat, steaks, pasta, and other dishes are available on the menu.

Artisan beer, wine, and cocktails are available at Rusty’s full bar.

Rusty’s Surf & Turf also provides outdoor seating on the porch in addition to indoor dining options.

Make Plans for the Day at Cape Hatteras Motel

Cape Hatteras Motel is a popularly fantastic beachside island getaway.

With a prominent position next to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, in the center of Cape Hatteras in Buxton, the Cape Hatteras Motel is well known for offering top-notch Outer Banks hotels and amenities.

With a wide range of non-smoking and pet-free accommodations, they can meet all your travel demands.

They have some of the best sights and beautiful sunrises on the beach from their oceanfront rooms.

You may discover details on nearby events, activities, sights, and restaurants at the motel’s front desk.

They feature a great array of local and beach artworks for purchase to help you recall your Cape Hatteras trip, along with a fully stocked lending library, a checklist of things to do on a gloomy day, and rainy day activities.

Enjoy a Beach Picnic at Buxton Munch Co.

Since 1999, the Buxton Munch Co. has provided services to both residents and tourists.

On Hatteras Island, Buxton Munch Co is a well-kept neighborhood gem. It has been a go-to spot for hamburgers, sandwiches, and other casual American dishes in a lively, inviting setting.

Since they believe that perfection cannot be rushed, they produce everything fresh to order with premium ingredients.

Even after more than 20 years of operation, they are still extremely concerned with upholding their values of honesty, integrity, delicious, fresh cuisine, and a positive image in their neighborhood and among all their wonderful customers.

For a beach picnic, you may either eat in or take out.

Come and take in the cool atmosphere, music, and cuisine!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Scale the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

View of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Seth Michael /

When people talk about Hatteras Island, the most popular tourist attraction they will suggest going to is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

You will immediately recognize this lighthouse when coming to the area as it features an exterior designed with black and white spiral stripes.

View of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Jason Schronce /

Every year, more than 175,000 people visit the lighthouse, with some of them attempting to climb to the top.

When you reach the top, you get rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view that lets you see from Avon to Hatteras Village.

You will also find other interesting attractions apart from the top of the lighthouse.

View of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at Night

starryvoyage /

You can visit the two keepers’ quarters building, the lighthouse museum, and its gift shop at this destination.

If you want to relax, you can stay at the shaded picnic area near the lighthouse.

However, for those who want to explore, a nature trail and beach ramp are available for you to discover.

This place is only 20 minutes away from Hatteras Village, so consider adding it to your itinerary.

Try Kiteboarding With Kite Club Hatteras

If you visit Hatteras Island, know that kiteboarding is one of the best water sports you can try out here.

To have an exciting session, check out Kite Club Hatteras.

This place offers visitors from all walks of life some lessons on kiteboarding.

It prides itself on providing instruction that is both fun and safe.

They provide services for people who want to try out this watersport regardless of skill level.

So, consider booking this place for an adrenaline-pumping experience.

Try Out Water Sports at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

View of Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Francisco Blanco /

Visit the beach at Hatteras Island when you come to this part of North Carolina.

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore spans 70 miles of beaches, sand dunes, and other types of habitat on the island.

Also included in the National Seashore are three barrier islands.

Lighthouse in Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Chansak Joe /

When you come to this place, you will learn that the landscape here is ever-changing, thanks to the area’s sea tides and weather conditions.

This place serves as the habitat for many land and water animals located on the island.

You can also find a wide variety of flora when you come here.

Shipwreck in Cape Hatteras National Seashore

MarkVanDykePhotography /

Apart from seeing the wonders of nature on Hatteras island, you can also enjoy a number of outdoor recreational activities here.

Head to the beach and participate in many fun water activities.

Alternatively, you can also explore the nature trails around here and go camping to immerse yourself in the beauty of this area.

Discover an Unusual Island Ecosystem at Buxton Woods

Another interesting area in Hatteras Island is Buxton Woods.

It’s a gorgeous maritime forest that you may find unexpectedly within the island.

It features large pine trees, a few small ponds, and marshes, all filled with local wildlife.

Here, you can go on a self-guided hike by going through a trail that loops across the picnic area and Buxton Woods.

By going through it, you can discover a rich ecosystem filled with impressive wildlife that is a wonder to find.

It also houses various animal species that you won’t usually find on a barrier island, like raccoons, mink, deek, and more.

Check this amazing place out, which is located just 25 minutes away from Hatteras Village.

Discover the History of Local Tribes at Frisco Native American Museum

A Sign at Frisco Native American Museum

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

You can find Frisco Native American Museum just 6 minutes away from the heart of Hatteras Island.

It aims to share the history of the Native American People and the historic preservation of the area.

This place was established back in 1987, but the building that houses it has been standing for more than a century.

Entrance to Frisco Native American Museum

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

The museum features a collection made up of thousands of artifacts coming from Native cultures across the U.S.

You can also find here a gallery purely about the local tribes.

Apart from these, you also have access to nearby nature trails that traverses the alluring maritime forest.

This place is a definite must-visit when you’re on Hatteras Island.

Appreciate Ceramic Art at Kinnakeet Clay Studio and Showroom

If you’re interested in clay art, head over to Kinnakeet Clay Studio and Showroom just 30 minutes away from Hatteras Village.

It features an “Out-of-Ordinary” collection that includes a fantastic selection of poetry made in the region.

Here, you can find quirky collectibles, ornaments, and decors, along with many handmade products and other curiosities.

The showroom has an exhibit that features works of more than 40 artists.

Additionally, you can participate in workshops on pottery or painting while you are here.

It’s a unique place to discover local art while on Hatteras Island.

Final Thoughts

Hatteras Village and its surrounding area continue to be everchanging.

With its charming, small-town island allure, breathtaking nature, and incredible island culture, coming back here is a no-brainer.

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