Avon Guide Sections:
Avon is widely considered by many visitors as the "Center of Hatteras Island," and for good reason. This small town is home to the island's only chain grocery store, a number of popular restaurants, the local medical center, and all the amenities and attractions of a good Outer Banks beach town. Vacationers here will find a number of gift shops, a fishing pier, a spa, a mini-golf course, and just enough amenities to remain entertained without distracting from the allure of the unspoiled and gorgeous beaches.
Hatteras Island newcomers who want to be close to amenities but who crave solitude will fall in love with Avon. The town has plenty of history, coastal charm, and conveniences, but with a geographical location more than 20 miles off the coast of mainland North Carolina. As a result, Avon, despite its chain stores and two chain fast food restaurants, still clearly remains miles away from the rest of the world.
There are several condo complexes also available for weekly or nightly accommodations, as well as a local motel. Although visitors will notice that all of these developments fit in perfectly with their natural surroundings, making Avon seem more like a natural village on the coast, as opposed to the popular tourist destination it is.
Vacation rental homes are the most popular way to stay in the Outer Banks. Rental homes are available in Avon from:
Avon Pier - One of Avon's biggest attractions, besides the fantastic beaches, is the local Avon Pier. Open from early spring until late fall, visitors can fish well into the night, or simply take a stroll down the length of the pier for a fantastic view of the town's parameters. The pier also features a tackle shop, a gift shop, and a convenience store to load up on refreshments and snacks for a hard night of fishing.
Avon Beach Club - Nearby is the newly constructed Avon Beach Club which features kid-friendly activities throughout the summer season, and fantastic shows for night owls as well. Classic beach music bands such as The Embers make regular appearances at the club, and the oceanfront venue is an ideal evening destination for vacationers looking for a little after-hours fun.
Kinnakeet Village - One of the area's lesser known attractions is the original "Kinnakeet Village" itself, located on the soundside of one of the town's two stoplights. In this area, a walking or driving tour will introduce vacationers to a number of primarily residential homes, with overflowing coastal gardens, picturesque landscaping, and even a few surprises along the way. Case in point, a number of the village's oldest homes date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, and feature foundations and flooring made entirely out of shipwrecked pieces that were dragged for hundreds of yards off the beach.
Restaurants and Shopping - Avon also has a world of restaurants and shops to explore. From the cheap and quirky to the refined and regionally recognized, Avon has a dining establishment for all tastes and palates. For nightlife, a number of these same renowned restaurants also offer live entertainment or seasonal karaoke, with bars and lounges staying open until 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 am., ensuring that even the most dedicated night owls in your group have a fantastic time.
The town is also home to the island's only major shopping plaza, which includes a chain grocery store, a chain hardware store, a local pharmacy, several restaurants and boutiques, and the island's lone four-screen movie theater, which is open seasonally from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
Avon Harbor - The pinnacle of Avon Village is the Avon Harbor, a series of small waterfront buildings that are instrumental in bringing in the local commercial catches. For fresh seafood at great prices, nothing beats the docks of the Avon Harbor, as patrons can rest assured that whatever is being sold in the afternoon was probably caught that morning. Avon Harbor is also a popular sunset destination for romantics, as the bulk headed parcel of land offers both seclusion and front-row seats to the Pamlico Sound's unparalleled on-the-water sunsets.
The Beach - The oceanside, however, is a clear attraction to visitors, and Avon's beaches are famous for being quiet, clean, and an absolute delight for vacationing families. As part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Avon is governed by the National Park Service (NPS), and as a result, local NPS rules are always in place on the oceanside. Visitors can visit the NPS website for more information, however, as long as the basics are followed, such as having a pet on a leash or having a beach bonfire close to the water's edge, vacationers shouldn't expect any trouble staying in compliance with the local rules.
The beaches are renowned, in fact, for exceptional shelling and fishing, particularly just a mile or two outside the town's limits, which are accessible by a 4-Wheel-Drive vehicle. (Beach driving permits can be purchased while on the island at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Park Service Station.) Because of the seclusion, shell hunters will find undisturbed piles of shells to root through, freshly washed up with the high or low tides. Here are some other things to know about Rodanthe beach policies:
- Pets are allowed on a leash no longer than 6ft, year-round. Pets are prohibited on designated swimming beaches. Service animals are allowed at all times.
- Fireworks are not permitted in Avon.
- Beach fire permits are required. Print, sign and keep your paper permit with you (permits available here). From May 1 to November 15, beach bonfires are only allowed at Coquina Beach, the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras, and the Ocracoke day use area. From November 16 - April 30, Beach fires are allowed throughout the park. Fires are allowed from 6am - 10pm. An adult must be present. Fires must be on greater than 3 feet in diameter. Fires must be built and maintained below the high-tide mark and 50 feet from any vegetation. Fires cannot be left unattended, and must be extinguished upon end of use. The area must be cleaned up.
- Beer is allowed on the beach. Wine and liquor are not officially permitted. Please drink responsibly.
- Metal detecting is NOT allowed within National Parks.
- There are no lifeguard stations in Avon.
- It is illegal to walk on the dunes, and it is also illegal to pick live sea oats growing on the beaches.
- Fill in any holes you dig. Holes in the sand can be a hazard.
- Be mindful of Noise. Most communities consider a violation of the noise ordinance to be any sound that can be heard from inside a nearby residence, and any load noise after approximately 11:00 p.m.
- No glass on the beach. Be mindful of glass bottles. Alcohol is allowed on all beaches, but if at all possible, stick to cans and plastic to save future beach-goers from any bare foot injuries.
- Surf fishing is allowed. A fishing license is required in North Carolina and can be obtained before your vacation via the NC Marine Fisheries and Wildlife website, or a fishing license can be purchased at most any tackle shop on the Outer Banks.
- 4x4 Driving on the Beach - The beaches of Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island are managed by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Permits are required, and can be purchased online and sent via mail, or in person at one of the following locations: Coquina Beach office, Cape Hatteras Light Station, and the Ocracoke Visitor Center. Each vehicle must have its own permit. Vehicles must be registered, licensed, insured, and have a current safety inspection if required in home state/country. Vehicles must have low-pressure tire gauge, shovel, jack and jack support board. A spare tire, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, trash bags, flashlight and tow straps are recommended. ATV's are not permitted. Night driving is generally allowed from November 16 through April 30. See current access ramps and beach closings by visiting this page and clicking on the "daily beach access map". Obey all posted signs.
Locals have always referred to the town as "Kinnakeet" and continue to do so, and visitors will notice this name everywhere they go, from the town markers, to the names of vacation rental communities, to the casual conversations of local residents. The name refers to the original group of Native Americans, a branch of the Algonquin tribe, which flourished in the area for centuries. As the area became more populated with European locals, including fishermen and lumber farmers who harvested the dense original maritime forests, the name stuck, and was even designated as the official name of the area's two Lifesaving Stations, "Kinnakeet" and "Little Kinnakeet," both established in the late 1800s and located approximately 5 miles apart.
While the original Kinnakeet Lifesaving Station is unfortunately long gone, visitors can still see the Little Kinnakeet Lifesaving Station, a current work in progress as it is being restored by the National Park Service. The station is located about three miles north of town, and the entrance is only distinguished by a small stack of wooden pilings along the soundside of NC Highway 12. During the station's operation, from 1871 - 1915, the area was home to an entire community of lifesaving station employees and their families, as the daily trek from the larger "Big Kinnakeet" station in town was too far and too long for the majority of lifesaving servicemen.
As a result, the soundside areas of Little Kinnakeet Station held a number of homes and families who lived happily adjacent to the station. Today, the small secondary village has been wiped out, with only a few indications that there had ever been a village there. Adventurous visitors who travel the soundside beaches will find small clusters of brick foundations, and even a hidden and deserted graveyard. These small signs serve as the only evidence of the original Little Kinnakeet Village.
While Little Kinnakeet dwindled after the lifesaving station dissipated in 1915, the town of "Big Kinnakeet" grew, and eventually became a thriving community of locals and visiting hunters and fishermen. No one at the time lived anywhere close to the ocean, but instead settled into "Kinnakeet Village" a parcel of homes, shops, and schools next to the soundfront. The town was officially named "Avon" in 1883, but it took locals a decade or two to make the actual conversational transition.
Once the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge opened in 1962, visitors began to explore Hatteras Island, and soon afterwards developers took interest in the large parcels of oceanfront property. By the late 1960s, a number of small beach-boxes had been constructed along the oceanfront, (and many still remain), enticing vacationers with their wide porches, comfy living areas, and front row views to the deserted ocean beaches.
Development continues to blossom, and today the area is a mix of these well maintained classic cottages as well as new modern vacation rentals, complete with private pools, hot tubs, rec rooms, and a host of other resort-worthy amenities.
Avon vacationers generally find that they have the best of both worlds: a secluded and private vacation destination, coupled with a large number of modern conveniences and amenities. A vacation in Avon can include a day trip to the spa followed by a night of dancing at the local Beach Club, or a day of lounging on the beach followed by a family beach bonfire. Easily adaptable to all vacationer's expectations and styles, Avon is definitely a small village that offers a ton of modern fun to vacationers of all tastes.