• Spring-time view of the seashore, with shorebirds returning to the surf.

    Cape Hatteras

    National Seashore North Carolina

Nature Viewing & Photography

Group of white ibis in a tree

White ibis in a tree

NPS

Natural beauty abounds at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Birds migrate through, taking advantage of the coastal ecosystems. The night skies of Cape Hatteras are some of the darkest skies east of the Mississippi River, making star-gazing a wonder to behold, while the sunrises and sunsets are artistic displays of color. Ocracoke Island, the southern island in Cape Hatteras National Seashore, is home to a herd of banker ponies. Different wildflowers signal changes in the seasons.
 
Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron

NPS

Birds
Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a wonderful place to look for birds. Over 400 species have been spotted in and around the seashore, though the number and types of birds viewable here changes with the season, as well as the habitat you visit. Refer to the checklist to see when certain species are around, or where you might find them.

 
Night Sky
Some of the darkest night skies in the United States of America east of the Mississippi River are found here, making this an ideal spot for gazing at stars. You can view celestial wonders just about anywhere in the seashore, as well as during any time of year. During the summer and fall, there are full moon climbs offered at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for a chance to look at the night sky from a different perspective.
 
Two Ocracoke ponies

Ocracoke Ponies

NPS

Ocracoke Ponies
Ocracoke Island is home to a herd of ponies that you can view from two viewing decks found at the Pony Pen & Parking Lot. The Ocracoke ponies have a long and storied history that extends to today's care of them.

 

Did You Know?

This artist's rendering shows the U.S.S. Monitor foundering in a storm off of Cape Hatteras in December 1862.

The U.S.S. Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras during a storm in December 1862. The wreck's location was a mystery until 1973 when a research vessel found the ship 16 miles off the cape in 230 feet of water. In 1975, the Monitor was named the nation’s first National Marine Sanctuary.