Stretched over 70 miles of barrier islands, Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a fascinating combination of natural and cultural resources, and provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Once dubbed the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" for its treacherous currents, shoals, and storms, Cape Hatteras has a wealth of history relating to shipwrecks, lighthouses, and the U.S. Lifesaving Service. These dynamic islands provide a variety of habitats and are a valuable wintering area for migrating waterfowl. The park's fishing and surfing are considered the best on the East Coast.
At Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitors can explore a variety sites of natural and historical interest. Recreation opportunities include surf fishing, sunbathing, swimming, beach combing, canoeing, sailing, surfing and snorkeling. The Hatteras Island Visitor Center (located at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton) is the main interpretive center in the park and a good place to orient yourself. It is open year-round and houses a variety of exhibits. Other visitor centers are located on Bodie and Ocracoke and are open on a seasonal basis. A full schedule of interpretive activities are presented by park rangers throughout the summer season. These include a wide range of history, natural resource and recreational programs.
For hiking and walking there are a variety of short trails in the park, as well as long stretches of pristine beach. Off-road vehicle access to the beach is permitted in several areas. Visitors should Check at a park visitor center for current information. The park's fishing and surfing are considered the best on the east coast. The park currently operates four campgrounds, which are open seasonally. Sites at the Oregon Inlet, Frisco and Cape Point Campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Sites at Ocracoke Campground can be reserved during the summer months.
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