Outer Banks Spotlight on the Village of Hatteras
Well all good things must come to an end, as they say. Can you believe we've actually arrived at our last Outer Banks Spotlight destination? 'Tis true. We hope you've enjoyed the ride just as much as we have. We're rolling up to Hatteras Village and checking out all of the best things to do, see and explore here.
The Village of Hatteras is the community that's located at the southernmost tip of Hatteras Island and is not to be confused with Hatteras Inlet or Cape Hatteras, which are different locations on the map (Hatteras Inlet is the channel of water between Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island and Cape Hatteras is the spit of land jutting into the Atlantic Ocean at Buxton.)
Now that we've got that cleared up, let's go! Let's get lost in this historic fishing village that has become a local favorite with OBX visitors and vacationers.
The History of the Village of Hatteras
Like many of the other Outer Banks towns, the original inhabitants of the area were Native Americans of the Algonquin tribe followed by European settlers. The name "Hatteras" was used by the Fort Raleigh colonists in reference to Pea Island north of modern day Hatteras Island and Croatoan was an area described by the Algonquin Indians as west of what is now Cape Hatteras. As time went on, the US Postal Service reassigned many of the neighboring communities by the 19th and 20th centuries, but the village of Hatteras continues to retain its historical name.
Though the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is located in Buxton, NC, Hatteras Village is home to the original Fresnel lens that once lit up the waters atop the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The lens was recently reunited with its original rotating pedestal and is now on display at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, of the main attractions and popular favorites here.
Hatteras is best known for its fishing, but also for its history, tourism and remote beaches that are trademarks of the quintessential Outer Banks experience. it started way back in the 1700s when the first settlers thrived on the abundance of one of the largest estuarine systems in the world for their sustenance. That continues in Hatteras today, commercial fishing fleets and charters are the foundation of revenue and the continuing legacy of this maritime fishing village that has grown into one the most well-known Gulf Stream sportfishing destinations found anywhere.
The Beaches of Hatteras Village
As with all of Hatteras Island's towns and beaches, Hatteras Village's beach is managed by the National Park Service as part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and their rules apply. The remote beaches are lovely and tranquil. With the proper permits you can have a fire on the beach and drive on the sand. Surf fishing abounds here, as do other types of fishing both from land and from water. Hatteras Village beach is pet-friendly, just remember to keep your pets leashed and cleaned-up after.
Offshore, the intersecting Gulf Stream Current and Labrador Current make for some of the largest waves on the East Coast. Inshore, the calm Pamlico Sound on the west side of the village is perfect for water activities including swimming, windsurfing, kiteboarding, paddleboarding, canoeing and kayaking. The two extremes make for the ideal marriage of high-wave action and calm, soundside tranquility.
Hatteras Attractions & Things To Do
Hatteras Village has two major trails that bisect it. The first is the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway. Maritime living is highlighted here with historic settlement patterns, ancient live oaks, bustling harbors, historic houses, family cemeteries, simple churches, family stores, fish houses and more glimpses of the past and hallmarks of the present day and time.
The second is the Civil War Trail. On August 28, 1861, the residents of Hatteras Village awakened to the sight of a large Federal fleet anchored off their coast. At about 10a.m. the peaceful and tranquil life of Hatteras Village was shattered by the sound of the large naval guns of a Union fleet firing on two Confederate forts which were under construction at Hatteras Inlet. Forts Hatteras and Clark were relatively small earthwork forts, constructed by slave labor and made of brush, sand, lumber and peat. John Rollinson, a local resident of Hatteras Island at the time, wrote in his journal that the Confederate soldiers first arrived at Hatteras on May 9, 1861, one month after the Civil War began. Several months later it fell to Union forces.
Here a few more favorite Hatteras Village attractions and things to do while you're here.
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum: Covers centuries of history and spotlights the area's many shipwrecks, US Lifesaving Service crews, hurricanes, and other local legacies. Catch a glimpse of the First Order Fresnel Light that originally topped the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, or learn about the first all-African American lifesaving crew in history that rose to fame after their courageous rescue of the E.S. Newman. Shop the gift shop on site or cross the street and enjoy beach access.
Hatteras/Ocracoke Ferry: Ocracoke Island is only accessible via boat or airplane, so most people take their cars via the official NCDOT ferry. The Ocracoke Ferry Docks at the southern end of the village are a popular place. It's free to take a day trip to nearby Ocracoke Island and the village of Ocracoke, but get there early. The lines form up pretty quick in the middle of summer. It's a fun and winding trip through the Hatteras Inlet and the ride takes about 40 minutes one way.
Fishing: Hatteras Village is known for all thing fishing including fishing charters, deep sea fishing, surf fishing and fishing tournaments. It's also dubbed the "blue marlin capital of the world" and is known as a major sport fishing destination due to its proximity to both the warm Gulf Stream Current and cold Labrador Current, making it the perfect mix for anglers.
Hatteras Village Events
Wings Over Water: Mid-October each year, wildlife enthusiasts gather in the Outer Banks to enjoy the mild shoulder season weather and lower vacation rental rates. The main attractions are 400 species of migrating birds in wildlife preserves. Guided birding trips, kayak tours and art classes are very popular during this week-long event.
Don't forget to check out all of our Outer Banks Spotlight features on each of the towns and villages by clicking the OBX Spotlight category to the right of this post. Read all about the fabulous Outer Banks of North Carolina and then start planning your next OBX vacation.
Have you visited Hatteras Village during your OBX beach vacation? Tell us about it!