Quick Links

Many of us know Outer Banks as the name of an American action-adventure mystery teen drama that won the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards after premiering on Netflix in April 2020. However, and perhaps known to some, Outer Banks is not just the name of a movie. It’s among the best tourist destinations in North Carolina, consisting of some of the country’s finest beaches as well as several amazing campsites. True to its name, the movie itself is set in the backdrop of this gorgeous region of North Carolina.


Yet it’s not just the spectacular scenery. Outer Banks is steeped in much interesting history. For starters, the Outer Banks is home to Roanoke Colony, America’s first permanent English Settlement. It’s also the site of the Wrights’ first flight as well as the nation’s first seashore. While Outer Banks consists of many scenic regions, Cape Hatteras is arguably its finest.

Why Cape Hatteras Is Outer Banks’ Most Attractive Destination

The string of islands that make up the Outer Banks stretch to an impressive 125 miles in length from Corolla—home to wild horses—all the way to Ocracoke. Of these, Cape Hatteras occupies 70 miles. Therefore, of the three regions that constitute Cape Hatteras, namely the Northern Beaches, Roanoke Island, and Hatteras Island—Hatteras is the largest. Therefore, for those who want to take in the beauty of the Outer Banks, the most representative sample, being the largest, is Cape Hatteras. But it’s not just the size. For those visiting for the first time, Cape Hatteras appears like a slice of heaven. Its charm is the seclusion. Its allure—the surreal bucolic feel. It goes to every nerve and drifts aloft in the very air.

The island area is casual and completely laid back. For anglers, paddlers, or kiteboarders, beach conditions are almost perfect. And for seafood connoisseurs, the mouthwatering delicacies will prove tantalizingly delectable. Also, while several beaches don’t permit the driving of cars along their coast, provided one gets a permit—beach driving is allowed on Cape Hatteras—any time of the year. That’s one of the reasons Cape Hatteras has been seeing a consistent surge in visitor numbers over the years. In fact, 2021 saw over 3 million visitors troop to the Cape Hatteras—a record-breaking figure never seen hitherto.

  • Are motorcycles allowed on Cape Hatteras? Motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and utility vehicles (UTVs) are prohibited.

Related: Outer Banks Vs. Myrtle Beach: Which Sunny Spot Is Better?

For The Best Views And Activities—These Are The Cape Hatteras Stops You Should Never Miss

Driving on Cape Hatteras’ Highway 12 is enjoyable as there’s almost zero traffic as well as few stoplights. While there are several areas where—for the glorious views—one may want to pull the car aside, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse is, for many, the uncontested best. For those who’ve been to lighthouses, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse is on a different scale. For starters, this lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States – and one of the most famous lighthouses in the world. It measures 198.49 feet from the bottom of the foundation to the pinnacle of the tower. This lighthouse overlooks a region of the Atlantic Ocean, which, for the thousands of shipwrecks buried, is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

Other stops on this scenic highway include Frisco Beach. The main attraction here is the amazing ocean views that lay out in plain sight. The sand that fringes the ocean is spotless, and the beach area is rarely crowded. Then there’s the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, where stories of devastating shipwrecks, of German U-Boats prowling the waters during the Second World War, and of other wars fought on land and sea—are told in full. Beyond Cape Hatteras, other places one will want to stop by are the charming towns of Corolla, Duck, Kitty Hawk, and Nags Head.

Related: 10 Best Beaches In North Carolina, Ranked By Scenery.

Other Outer Banks Stops That’ll Blow You Away

Aside from the ones we’ve highlighted, one may want to stop by Kill Devil Hills, the oldest town on the Outer Banks—and a must-see for its attractions. The culinary landscape here also features some mouthwatering treats and delicacies. Kill Devil Hills will also enthuse history buffs. It’s home to the Wright Brothers National Memorial—where visitors get to learn the fascinating story of the two brothers.

Other Places include Salvo, on the southernmost section of the Tri-villages. It is relatively quieter than many of her peers and, therefore, kid—and family-friendly. The last is Avon, a town that looks more modern and developed than her close neighbors. The Avon Fishing Pier is one of the outstanding landmarks of the town.

There’s no denying that Cape Hatteras and all the Outer Banks section of North Carolina—is one of the most scenic in the state. For inveterate road trippers, this ride should be on the bucket list.