Sandy Bay

Sandy path leads through the low-lying vegetation to the Pamlico Sound.
Sandy path to the sound

Quick Facts
Hatteras Village, NC
Beach and Soundside Access

Beach/Water Access, Canoe/Kayak/Small Boat Launch, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits

Hatteras Island is very narrow at this point; no more than a few hundred feet wide! As such, Sandy Sound Access offers both sound- and ocean-side water recreation activities.

Pamlico Sound is very shallow across its width, and tufts of vegetation can be seen peeking out above the water far out into the sound. It is often very windy here, however, making for excellent kiteboarding and windsurfing activities. Meanwhile, the Atlantic Ocean waters at this point are influenced by the Gulf Stream.

This is a basic day use area, with 26 regular parking spaces, a boardwalk with steps leading across the dunes to the ocean beach, and no other amenities.

A Nursery, A Haven, A Home

Beneath the surface of the Pamlico Sound is a nursery perfect for marine life. Fed by the ocean and mainland rivers, the sound is a mix of salt and fresh water that is just right for many species. This estuary and its marshes provide protection and shelter for eggs and young to hatch and grow.

Some animals will spend their entire lives here. Others are born in the ocean and travel through inlets into the sound to spend their adolescence before returning to the sea. Some adult fish come into the sound to deposit their eggs among the protective eelgrass. Once hatched, the young stay and grow before leaving the sound for the ocean; only to return, maybe years later, to continue the cycle.

- In the sound, food such as plankton, is readily available. Tall eelgrass gives shelter from the elements and predators.
- The grass shrimp, periwinkle snail, and fiddler crab are some of the animals that spend their entire lives in the Pamlico Sound.
- Some animals, like the red drum, flounder, bull shark, and clear-nosed skate are born in the sound and later live in the ocean.
- The American eel and the green sea turtle are examples of sea life that may go from the ocean to the sound during their lifetime.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Last updated: November 7, 2021