Memorial Day Weekend: Enjoying Cape Hatteras National Seashore

May 23, 2018 Posted by: Cape Hatteras National Seashore
National Park Service staff at Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area (Seashore) are looking forward to welcoming visitors from all around the world this Memorial Day weekend.

The Seashore offers a variety of recreational activities, including beach recreation (swimming, sunbathing, shell collecting, etc.); off-road vehicle (ORV) use; fishing from the surf, boats, and piers; lighthouse climbing; interpretive programs with a park ranger; camping; hiking; kayaking; watersports (surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, etc.); and wildlife viewing.

ORV Travel
Currently, there are more than 90% of ORV beach routes (25 to 26 miles) available to enjoy. Over the last several years, the park has worked to improve access for this popular activity. For example, a number of beach ramps now open at 6:00 am. The Seashore has also constructed multiple new ORV ramps, an Inside Road between Buxton and Frisco, and a bypass road south of Ramp 44 to enhance ORV access. An area at the southernmost tip of Cape Point is closed to protect shorebirds; however, ORV users can still access a large area towards Cape Point and north of Ramp 43. Additionally, 13 miles in front of the villages are wide open for non-motorized activities, along with 20 more miles spread across the Seashore.

Daily beach access updates are posted on the Seashore’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Learn more about ORV travel at

Family enjoying the beach with their off-road vehicle nearby.

Programs with a Park Ranger
Over Memorial Day weekend, there are many opportunities to participate in ranger-led programs. The following is a listing of programming being offered this weekend:

Hatteras Island
  • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Climbing, daily from 9:00 am to 4:15 pm
  • Barrier Island Dynamics, 10:30 am to 11:00 am. How do people, plants, and wildlife adapt to barrier island geologic change? Meet at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion.
  • Cape Hatteras Light Station Talk, daily from 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm. Discuss the details and history of this beautiful sentinel. Meet at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion.
  • Fish with a Ranger, Monday (Memorial Day) from 8:00 am to 9:30 am. We have poles, you bring the bait. Pre-register in person at the Hatteras Island Museum (or call 252-475-9622) this Saturday.

National Park Service Ranger demonstrating surf fishing.

Bodie Island Ocracoke Island
  • Crabbing with a Ranger, Monday (Memorial Day) from 8:30 am to 10:00 am. Learn about crabs and how to catch them. Pre-register in person at the Ocracoke Visitor Center this Saturday.
  • Barrier Island Nature, Monday (Memorial Day) from 3:00 pm to 3:30 pm. Join us for a talk about the wild side of the park. Meet at the Ocracoke Visitor Center Amphitheater.
  • Pirates!, Monday (Memorial Day) from 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm. Yes, they were here! Learn about Blackbeard and others. Meet at the Ocracoke Visitor Center Amphitheater
  • Ocracoke After Dark, Monday (Memorial Day) from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Bring blankets and chairs for an evening of stargazing on the beach! Bring bug spray and meet at the Ocracoke Day Use Area Beach.

Lifeguarded Beaches
There are three beach locations along the Seashore that are staffed with lifeguards starting Memorial Day weekend. The locations are:
  • Bodie Island: Coquina Beach, located across from the Bodie Island Lighthouse site.
  • Hatteras Island: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Beach, adjacent to the Old Cape Hatteras Lighthouse site.
  • Ocracoke Island: Ocracoke Day Use Beach, 1.5 miles south of the NPS campground.
The Seashore has four campgrounds. All of the campgrounds have tent, trailer, and motor home sites. Full details can be found at
Camp sites at Oregon Inlet Campground.
Whether you are enjoying the beach, kayaking the sound, or climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, there is something for everyone to explore at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. We wish you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.

Last updated: May 23, 2018

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Cape Hatteras National Seashore
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954


252 473-2111

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