The Outer Banks beaches are perfect for shelling and beachcombing. The best times to look for shells are after high tide and after a storm, especially in the morning before people begin gathering on the beach, and during the winter months. Check with the NC Aquarium about programs on shell collecting and educational field trips.
Bicycling here is like nowhere else. With the surf, sun, sand, and space, you'll find it's some of the most amazing biking around. The beach is all public and open to everyone, with public change rooms at several regional beach access areas in the northern section. The Outer Banks and Hatteras Island should be on every bicyclist's list of East Coast rides. You can ride 120 miles from Corolla and Duck at the north end to Hatteras and Ocracoke at the south end, with a relaxing 60-minute free ferry ride from Hatteras to Ocracoke to rest the legs. The Outer Banks is relatively flat, with the only hills being a few bridges. You'll see yellow "Share the Road" signs all through Dare and Currituck Counties on NC 168, US 158, and NC 12. There is almost always a 5-15 mph wind. When the wind is from the east, it blows up some salt spray, so the bikes need a good bath after they leave the Outer Banks.
All you need is a length of cord with suitable bait, chicken necks or fish heads do nicely, tied to one end. Throw the bait into the water, wait a few minutes then, pull on the line gently to see if you get a nibble. Other methods use circular crab nets and collapsible crab traps. Crabs can be caught in local sound waters from late spring into early fall, but the best time is May, June and July.
Some of the best fishing on the East Coast is found here on the Outer Banks. For the surfcaster, there are over 130 miles of accessible beach, and for those who enjoy pier fishing, there are two fishing piers on Hatteras Island: Avon and Rodanthe. If you don't have your own equipment, many bait and tackle shops offer rentals. Headboat fishing is a great family activity. There are inshore, half-day charters for cobia, amberjack and king mackerel, among others, and for the more adventurous, there are offshore, full-day charters to the Gulf Stream where anglers can catch marlin, tuna, wahoo and dolphin. Featuring some of the nation's best angling waters, the Outer Banks is a sport fisherman's paradise.
Geocaching is sweeping the nation, and there are plenty of caches right here on Hatteras Island! Geocaching is an engaging, family-friendly, treasure hunting activity that is perfect for all ages and gets you into nature on the hunt for fun. All you need is a GPS unit and computer access to get the coordinates for the caches hidden all over our country and even internationally. Caches are located throughout the villages in unique spots that may be out in plain sight or in completely unusual locations. Left behind by visitors from all over the world, geocaches are a great way to "meet" vacationers from all across the country who have caught on to this distinctive and interesting web trend. On your next Outer Beaches vacation and visit to Hatteras Island, add a little excitement and activity to your daily trips to the beach. Get into Geocaching and search for fun scattered along this North Carolina barrier island.
There's nothing that quite compares to horseback riding on the beach or coastal hideaways. You can enjoy horseback riding here courtesy of local stables that welcome the public. Explore trails through the only maritime forest on the Outer Banks: Buxton Woods NC Coastal Reserve. Ride out past the sand dunes to the gorgeous beauty of the beach. Some trails go by the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Cape Point. Miles of pristine beaches await you.
Kayaking is another popular option. On an island that's not more than a mile or so wide and sixty miles long, there is a lot of water and a lot of exploring to do. With the abundance of amazingly unique wildlife in the Outer Banks and magnificent waterways for every skill level, you won't regret bringing or renting a kayak or even taking one of the eco or historic kayak tours available here.
Parasailing is another exciting and popular option here, and the view is breath taking. You will lift up to 500 feet up in the air where you'll have the ability see for miles over the barrier islands with a view of both the sound and the ocean.
The Outer Banks is a perfect place for sailing. With constant winds, a shallow sound and little boat traffic, the sailing conditions are ideal. Set off into the Pamlico Sound from Hatteras Island and see no other boats for hours at the time.
SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) is one of the fastest growing outdoor sports on the planet, a great activity that's easy to learn and super fun in the marsh, canals, sound and even the ocean. What better way to have a front row seat to a Hatteras Island sunset! Rentals and guided eco-tours are available.
Some of the best surfing can be enjoyed here in the Outer Banks. There are many breaks along these barrier islands, but many of the best are around Cape Hatteras. Warm water and beautiful seascape make this a perfect place to catch some waves and sun.
Most sections of the seashore do not have lifeguards, restrooms, or other services available. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, lifeguards are usually posted at Coquina Beach on Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras Beach near the old lighthouse site, and the Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach. Red warning flags are posted at beaches with lifeguards when swimming conditions are hazardous. Within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge (seven miles from Oregon Inlet) offers good bird watching and beaches for swimming and fishing.
Windsurfing and Kite Boarding
Hatteras Island's location and terrain make for the ideal conditions for some of the best windsurfing and kite boarding on the East Coast and, some say, in the world. With the strongest southwest winds coming in the peak summer months, the Island is a paradise for water sport lovers and watchers vacationing here.