Outer Banks Spotlight on the Village of Rodanthe
We're on a roadtrip along the Outer Banks in our OBX Spotlight Series and our next stop is the Village of Rodanthe. If you're a Nicholas Sparks fan, then your first thought may immediately be his popular novel Nights in Rodanthe. More recently, the natural beauty of the beaches of Rodanthe was featured in the film of the same name, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane. The actual locations seen in the film still draw thousands of fans each year, all longing to experience the epic romance and coastal solitude found here.
The little village of Rodanthe has been the setting for more than fictional books and movies. It holds real stories of lifesaving history, amazing watersports adventures, and idyllic beach vacations. Let's learn a little more!
History of RodantheThe entire northern end of Hatteras Island was once known as Chicamacomico, but in 1874 the postal service changed the name to Rodanthe. By the early 1900s, three distinct villages had become established in the Rodanthe area – North Rodanthe, South Rodanthe, and Clark. As the postal sections were subdivided, the northernmost village kept the name "Rodanthe," while the others in the Outer Banks were assigned new names once again (Waves and Salvo).
Long before the post office stepped in, the town was already nationally recognized as one of the country's greatest lifesaving stations on the East Coast. The Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station was the very first station established along the coast of North Carolina, and proved to be a heroic and dedicated branch of the lifesaving service, which is now the modern US Coast Guard.
During the Civil War in 1861, Confederate troops landed on the northern end of the island in an effort to re-take Fort Clark and Fort Hatteras, which had fallen to the Union's first naval invasion of the South. The southern troops chased the 20th Indiana back to their lines near present-day Buxton, only have the Federals reinforced from the southern end of the island. The Union then chased the Confederates northward in a half-hearted skirmish that wags mockingly named "The Chicamacomico Races."
This is only some of the rich history to found in this region of the Outer Banks. A state historic site is one of the showpieces of this community, where re-enactments using the breeches-buoy rescue cannon, restored buildings and artifacts are a history lover's favorite. Come and explore it for yourself. You can read more about the history of Rodanthe here.
Beaches of Rodanthe
If you dream of secluded windswept beaches and natural beauty as far as the eye can see, then Rodanthe is just perfect for you. The beaches of Hatteras Island are managed by the National Park Service as part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, so you can follow the links to learn more about their roles. All federal park guidelines should be followed. Pets, bonfires, and even beach driving are all allowed but please read up on the current rules and regulations for each. Beach driving permits are also handled by the National Park Service and are available online.
Watersports are huge on Hatteras Island, and visitors to Rodanthe flock to the Pamlico Sound for its breezy conditions. You'll find some of the country's best kiteboarding and windsurfing conditions here. The tri-village areas of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo have become synonymous with kiteboarding, as the open miles of Pamlico Sound have become perfect playgrounds for kiteboarders of all skill levels. Other water sports enthusiasts, such as kayakers, windsurfers, and stand-up paddle boarders are also welcome to get their toes wet in the water, and enjoy the local watersports scene.
Attractions & Things To Do in RodantheAlong with intriguing history and gorgeous beaches, Rodanthe has some other worthwhile attractions and things to do during your stay on the Outer Banks.
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge: Just North of Rodanthe (and South of Nags Head) lies the 13 mile-long, 30,000 acre Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is famous for hosting 400 species of birds and other wildlife. Birding, kayaking, wildlife education for kids, fishing and crabbing.
Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station: Commissioned by the federal government in 1871 to save the lives of sailors off the dangerous Outer Banks coast, this and six other lifesaving stations would become the foundation of the United States Coast Guard. Visitors can tour the grounds to see how the lifesavers lived and the equipment they used.
Rodanthe Fishing Pier: Conveniently located to visitors of the tri-villages (Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo), this pier has hosted anglers for decades. The pier was recently reconstructed with 170' added, and the pier house offers bait, tackle, drinks, snacks and more.
Of course you also have the local shops, waterfront restaurants and beach activities to fill your days and nights in Rodanthe.
Plan Your Stay on the Outer Banks of North CarolinaAre you ready to start planning your next OBX beach vacation? If so, we can help. Peruse our Outer Banks rentals and find the perfect one for you. If you missed any of our other OBX Spotlight series posts, you can catch up right here.
Have you spent any of your days or nights in Rodanthe? We'd love to hear about it!