Basic Information

The weather along the Outer Banks varies throughout the year and even throughout the day. Please check the National Weather Service information at for forecast information.

Entrance Fees:

Park Entrance - $0.00

There is no fee to enjoy the grounds of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Bodie Island Visitor Center

Located in the historic Double Keepers' Quarters of the Bodie Island Lighthouse, this visitor center is where you can purchase lighthouse climb tickets or ORV permits, talk to a ranger about the seashore, or shop for gifts.

Hatteras Island Visitor Center

The visitor center offers orientation information, a bookstore to shop for gifts, and a place to purchase ORV permits.

Hatteras Island Museum of the Sea

The Museum of the Sea is within the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Double Keepers' Quarters. The two-floor museum contains exhibits on Outer Banks history and natural history. A small audiovisual room provides a video presentations, available upon request.

Ocracoke Island Visitor Center

The Ocracoke Island Visitor Center is where you can go within the village of Ocracoke to get park information, purchase ORV permits, or shop for gifts.

A young girl and boy playing in the sand and surf
Kids playing in the sand and surf

National Park Service


Where Land and Sea Merge

A thin, broken strand of islands curves out into the Atlantic Ocean and back again in a sheltering embrace of North Carolina's mainland coast and offshore sounds. For thousands of years these barrier islands—North Carolina's Outer Banks—have survived onslaughts of wind and sea. Their long stretches of beach, sand dunes, marshes, and woodlands are set aside as Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The treacherous waters off the coast of the Outer Banks is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, a grim but fitting epithet. Over 600 ships wrecked here as victims of shallow shoals, storms, and war. Diamond Shoals, a bank of shifting sand ridges hidden beneath the turbulent sea off Cape Hatteras, has never promised safe passage for ships. In the past 400 years the graveyard has claimed many lives, but island villagers saved many. As early as the 1870s, villagers served in the US Life-Saving Service. Others staffed lighthouses built to guide mariners. Few ships wreck today, but storms still uncover the ruins of the old wrecks that lie along the beaches of the Outer Banks.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore protects parts of three barrier islands: Bodie Island, Hatteras Island, and Ocracoke Island. Beach and sound access ramps, campgrounds, nature trails, and lighthouses can be found and explored on all three islands.


Last updated: August 23, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954


(252) 473-2111

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