Environmental Hazards

Heat and Humidity

A combination of high temperature and high humidity during summer months creates an even higher—and possibly dangerous—apparent temperature. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are possible during elevated apparent temperatures. Enjoy the beach or climbing lighthouses, but limit your physical activity and exposure during days of high heat and humidity.

Be sure to wear effective sunscreen and reapply every few hours. Sunburn can happen on cold days and cloudy days just as easily as warm ones. Wear hats, and protect your skin with long-sleeves and swimming shirts.

Sand, pavement, and walkways will get hot in the summer. Always year sandals or shoes when accesing the beach.

Avoiding the "OUCH"!

The seashore is serene, but often on the beach and in the sound and ocean waters, you'll find dangerous debris. You may come across sharp objects like broken seashells, crabs, cactus, and sand spurs. People add to that with glass, metal, fishhooks, and nails. Hot sand can burn unprotected feet. Think "safety" before leaving your vehicle and protect your feet from these hazards.


A day with no wind on the seashore is a rare day indeed. Whatever outdoor activity you have planned, keep the winds in mind. Even on a clear sunny day, the winds can become strong and change vacation plans from a fun day at the beach to a day spent on more indoor pursuits. During the winter months, the winds are not only strong, but often are bitter and cut right through your clothing. Dress appropriately and be aware of things that can fly away in the wind, whatever the season.

Last updated: May 20, 2019

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954


252 473-2111

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