Cape Hatteras

Cape Hatteras is located in North Carolina along the Atlantic Coast, is one of North Carolina's most popular attractions and is located along the Outer Banks. There are two entrances to the park; one at the north end and one at the south end. The north entrance to Cape Hatteras is found in Nags Head, North Carolina, a small town located at the junction of NC-12 and US-64. The southern entrance to Cape Hatteras is located near the town of Ocracoke, North Carolina. At this entrance, you will have to park your car and take a ferry into the park. Whichever entrance you take, Cape Hatteras vacations can be for a day of swimming and fishing or for a week of visiting for shelling and relaxing.

Cape Hatteras
Cape Hatteras

One of the main features of Cape Hatteras is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The lighthouse is open each year from the third Friday in April until Columbus Day, and climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is actually encouraged. Climbing tours, led by park rangers, happen each open day from 9am until 4:30pm every few hours. To climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, you will need to purchase a ticket. Reservations are not an option, as tickets can only be purchased in-person on the day of your climb. Area school groups do use the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for special events at times, so check ahead to be sure you';ll be able to tour on your desired day. Ticket prices are $7 for adults and $3.50 for senior citizens and children under age 12.

Another popular activity for Cape Hatteras vacations is Cape Hatteras fishing. Many visitors plan Cape Hatteras fishing vacations, as this is considered to be one of the absolute best places for fishing along the entire Atlantic Coast. Local fishing shops will sell you everything from bait and tackle to fishing poles if you';ve forgotten your own or decide to fish on a whim. Although there are no entrance fees to use Cape Hatteras waters, North Carolina fishing regulations do apply to Cape Hatteras fishing. The waters and beach are basically open to private fishing (with your permit), although you will want to avoid the multiple commercial fishing operations located on the beach. You can also rent a boat to head out into the water if you like.

Cape Hatteras vacations are also a great time to take advantage of camping. There are four campgrounds in the park, open throughout the summer, and camping is relegated to these four areas. Camping is not allowed on the beach. If you plan to be at the park for a while, you might also consider taking part in a ranger program. Beginning in June and running through Labor Day, daily interpretive tours and programs are organized, for free, by park rangers for the public. Check online for the most up-to-date schedules. Windsurfing is also a great activity here at the cape, where the strong cape winds kick up action along the Salvo Day Use Area, which is mostly populated by windsurfers. There are no entrance fees to come and enjoy Cape Hatteras Park, which is also close to the popular beach town of Kill Devil Hills. In particular, hiking through the marine forests is a major favorite, or shopping in town near the beaches. Some activities do have associated fees, however, including climbing the lighthouse, camping at the campgrounds ($4 - $25 per person), or docking your boat (between $5 per foot per day and $2 per foot per day.

Top image: betancourt (flickr)

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