Hatteras Guide Sections:
Hatteras Island's Southernmost community, Hatteras village is best known for fishing, tourism, history and its remote, pristine beaches. But if you had to define Hatteras village in a word, it would be "fishing."
It started out that way, back in the 1700s when the first settlers relied on the abundance of one of the largest estuarine systems in the world for their sustenance. Eventually the small fishing village evolved into a major sports fishing destination and is now known as the "blue marlin capital of he world." Only 15 miles from the Gulf Stream, the area offers some of the best charter fishing off the North Carolina Coast.
But you don't have to have a boat to fish in Hatteras, which boasts that surf fishing along its beaches is "like no other anywhere else in the world." The beaches offer pedestrian and vehicular access, and every September the village hosts an Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament, with over 90 teams competing. And there's a number of other water sports to enjoy, both ocean and sound side, particularly surfing. The shore's proximity to where the cold water Labrador Current collides with the warm water Gulf Stream results in some of the largest waves available on the East Coast. On the west side of the village, the Pamlico Sound offers plenty of other water activities, including swimming, windsurfing, kiteboarding, canoeing and kayaking.
Where to stay in Hatteras
Vacation rental homes are the most popular way to stay in the Outer Banks. Rental homes are available in Hatteras from:
Hatteras Landing - The focus of Hatteras Village is Hatteras Landing, a soundfront complex offering shops, restaurnts, live music and a self-service marina. Located at the Southern end of Hatteras Island next to the NCDOT Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry terminal, visitors will find bicycle and moped rentals, fishing charter boats, and great sunset views.
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum - The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is one of the newer attractions along Hatteras Island, but it is also one of its most comprehensive, covering centuries of maritime history within its distinctive, ship-haul style structure. Located at the very edge of Hatteras Village, adjacent to the Hatteras / Ocracoke Ferry Docks, this museum pays homage to the shipwrecks, US Lifesaving Service crews, hurricanes, and other local legacies that have made the island the historic gold mine that it is today. Visitors can 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. With all these stories perfectly detailed within the museum, in addition to a fantastic on-site gift shop and beach access located just across the street, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is a must see for anyone who wants to dive into the fascinating stories of Hatteras Island's dangerous and centuries-old relationship with the sea.
Hatteras/Ocaracoke Ferry - Ocracoke Island is only accessable via boat or airplane, and most people take their cars via the official NCDOT ferry. Schedules and fees are available online.
Fishing - Hatteras is synonymous with fishing. Surf fishing, fishing charters, deep sea fishing, fishing tournaments, etc. You'll find it all here.
The Beach - If you dream of secluded beaches, look no further than Hatteras Island. The beaches of Hatteras Island are managed by the National Park Service as part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Here are some 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 Hatteras.
- 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 Hatteras.
- 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.
Hatteras Village Haunted Trail
- October 29th, 2021 - October 30th, 2021 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Surfin' Turkey 5k and Puppy Drum Run
Each year, the Sea Breeze trail becomes a haunted terror for those who choose to enter. Past themes include "Clowns in the Woods", "Moon Over Hatteras" and "Barrel of Bones", based on a...more
- November 25th, 2021 8:00 AM
Hatteras Island Christmas Parade
Get your Turkey Day celebration off to a fun and fast-paced start with this annual event that is quickly becoming a highlight of the Thanksgiving Holiday. The Surfin' Turkey 5k and Puppy...more
- December 11th, 2021 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Holidays on Hatteras
Join in the fun of one of the most festive celebrations on Hatteras Island with this annual Christmas parade that has become a decades-long tradition for locals and holiday visitors alike...more
Starry Nights in Hatteras
Enjoy a full day of holiday fun Hatteras-style at this day-long event that’s becoming a treasured tradition for longtime visitors and locals alike. The annual Holidays on...more
- February 11th, 2022 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Starry Nights is an event for children and adults who are interested in the amazing night skies. On Friday evening a visiting astronomer will give a presentation about the Hatteras night...more
Though the focus of fishing changed over the years, it remains a major source of revenue for the village and has become the backbone of its tourism industry. Locals consider the commercial and charter fleets based at Hatteras village as its "anchor" as well as "the core that unites" all seven Hatteras Island communities. To celebrate the industry's importance in the "Spirit of Hatteras," every year this close-knit community sets aside a "Day at the Dock," when boats parade into the harbor for a ceremonial "Blessing of the Fleets."
Even for those who don't fish or get in the water at all, there's still good reason to keep going south after you visit the island's famous lighthouse in Buxton - and stop before crossing over to Ocracoke. The most recent and one of the most interesting attractions for many visitors is the new and expanding Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, located adjacent to the Hatteras Inlet ferry terminal. The facility displays some of the country's most important maritime artifacts from an area with one of the highest densities of shipwrecks in the world.
Whether you want to fish, soak-in the sun or the area's extensive history, mingle with this small amicable community or just be alone on a remote beach, Hatteras Village has it all. And most important, you can take your time getting around to whatever it is. The village's official website makes a point to let you know, "Here, time is slow and gracious... a companion, not a master."
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Hatteras, NC?
Hatteras village is located on the very southern end of Hatteras Island. It is bordered to the south by Hatteras Inlet, and is bordered to the north by the town of Frisco, which is just a few miles away.
Is there a difference between Hatteras and Hatteras Island?
Hatteras Island refers to the entire barrier island that is in between Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Inlet, although sometimes this whole area is casually called “Hatteras.” Hatteras is also the name of the southernmost town on the island, Hatteras village.
How do you get to Hatteras, NC?
Visitors can reach Hatteras village from the north via NC Highway 12, and can reach the town from the south via the free Hatteras / Ocracoke vehicular ferry.
What is there to do in Hatteras, NC?
Hatteras is known for its miles of beaches which extend all the way to the edge of Hatteras Inlet. The town is also famed for its recreational fishing charters, which can easily reach the inlet and the offshore Gulf Stream waters from their Hatteras home base. In addition, Hatteras is home to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry docks, and a myriad of shops and restaurants throughout the town, which includes several small shopping plazas.
Where did the name “Hatteras” come from?
The town name originates from one of the area’s earliest explorers, Sir Richard Grenville, who named the region “Hatrask” in 1585. The area’s original Native Americans were also called the “Hatterask,” and were a subset of the Algonquin tribe.
What are the special events in Hatteras?
Hatteras village is home to a number of annual events throughout the year, including the Hatteras Village Christmas Parade in December, and the Day at the Docks Celebration in September. In addition, the town serves as the site for a number of offshore fishing tournaments, as well as charity events at the Hatteras Village Civic Center. Area restaurants and nightlife venues may also have outdoor or indoor live music throughout the summer months.
Where and when is the Hatteras Village Christmas Parade?
The Hatteras Village Christmas Parade is generally held on the first or second Saturday in December every year. The parade route starts near Teach’s Lair Marina on the southern end of the village, and ends at the Hatterasman Drive-In in central Hatteras.
Where and when is Day at the Docks?
Day at the Docks is held on the second or third weekend in September, and takes place all along the waterfront in southern Hatteras village. The event congregates along the local docks, and generally extends from Teach’s Lair Marina to Oden’s Dock and the Breakwater Restaurant.
Where are the beach accesses in Hatteras, NC?
Hatteras village has a number of beach accesses along the outskirts of town, which include large public parking areas next to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, and just north of the village. Hatteras village also has an ORV Ramp – Ramp 55 – on the southern edge of the island. In addition, most all oceanside streets features paths or boardwalks that lead to the shore.
Does it cost any money to park at the Hatteras public beach accesses?
With the exception of seasonal bird or turtle nesting closures, all beaches within Hatteras village and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore are free and open to the public.
Are there lifeguards in Hatteras?
There are no lifeguarded beaches in Hatteras village.
What are the attractions in Hatteras, NC?
Hatteras is home to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry docks, and a nature trail along Eagle Pass Road that leads to area marshes. In addition, the town features a half dozen marinas, a number of shops and restaurants, and several landmarks that indicate famed events like the successful test bombing by pilot and Army general Billy Mitchell, who revolutionized air warfare in the early 1900s.
Are there shops and restaurants in Hatteras, NC?
Hatteras village has two small shopping plazas, which are located on the northern and southern ends of the village. In addition, the town has several art galleries and boutiques, a locally owned grocery store, a popular general store, a coffee shop, fish markets, and other specialty shops.
Where do you stay in Hatteras, NC?
Hatteras village is home to a small number of hotels and motels which are close to the Hatteras village ferry docks, as well as a wide variety of condos and vacation rental homes. Vacation rentals can range from one bedroom units to 10 bedroom or more homes, and are located throughout the village.
Where is the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry?
The Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry docks are located on the southern edge of Hatteras Island where NC Highway 12 ends, and at the northern end of Ocracoke where NC 12 begins.
Does it cost money to ride the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry?
The Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry is free to all passengers and vehicles.
Can you make reservations for the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry?
The Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry is available on a first come, first serve basis. Certain vendors, residents and employees may obtain a priority pass from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
What are the busiest times for the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry?
The busiest times for the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry in the summer months are generally weekdays from around 9 a.m. until 1 or 2 p.m. in Hatteras village, and 2 or 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. in Ocracoke.
What are the departure times for the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry?
The Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry departs every half hour in the summer months, (generally May through September), and every hour on the hour in the winter months.
How long is the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry ride?
The Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry ride is approximately 60 minutes long.
Is there a Hatteras / Ocracoke passenger ferry?
A new Hatteras / Ocracoke passenger ferry is being developed for passengers who want to visit Ocracoke village and the Ocracoke beaches. It is expected to be operational by the summer of 2018.
What can you do on a rainy day in Hatteras, NC?
On a rainy day, visitors can explore the town’s shops, boutiques, and art galleries, or tour the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. Rainy days are also popular times for visitors to take a day trip to Ocracoke via the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry.
Are pets allowed on the beach in Hatteras, NC?
Pets are allowed on all Hatteras village beaches, but must be leashed at all times.
Can I drive on the beach in Hatteras, NC?
Yes, with a permit. There is a beach access ramp at the southern edge of the island that leads to Hatteras Inlet, which is marked as Ramp 55.
Are there shells in Hatteras, NC?
Hatteras is a popular shelling destination, as the shallow beaches and gradually sloping shoreline makea it easy for seashells to wash ashore intact. Visitors will have the best luck at remote area beaches, such as the shoreline that borders Hatteras Inlet.
Are beach bonfires allowed in Hatteras?
Beach bonfires are allowed on Hatteras village beaches provided a visitor obtains a permit from the National Park Service. Permits can be obtained online or in person at the Buxton ranger station.
Where can you go charter fishing in Hatteras?
Hatteras village has dozens of inshore and offshore charter businesses that are stationed along the town’s docks and marinas. Visitors can contact the charter business directly to reserve a trip, or can stop by a local marina for information on availability.
How far is Hatteras village from the Gulf Stream?
The exact distance between Hatteras village and the Gulf Stream can vary, but it can be as little as 12 miles from Hatteras Inlet.
When is the best time to visit Hatteras?
Hatteras is most popular in the summer months, when all seasonal businesses are open and the beaches are warm and sunny. Fall is another popular time to visit Hatteras, due to the exceptional surf, inshore and offshore fishing, as well as the annual Day at the Docks festival.
What are the air temperatures each month in Hatteras?
January - high: 53°, low: 40°F
February - high: 54°, low: 41°F
March - high: 60°, low: 46°F
April - high: 67°, low: 54°F
May - high: 74°, low: 62°F
June - high: 81°, low: 69°F
July - high: 85°, low: 75°F
August - high: 84°, low: 74°F
September - high: 81°, low: 69°F
October - high: 73°, low: 60°F
November - high: 64°, low: 52°F
December - high: 57°, low: 44°F
Photos of Hatteras