The Magic of Hatteras Island in the Fall

Breathtaking, serene, picturesque, and enchanting are just a few of the adjectives one could use to describe what locals refer to as “the best time of the year” at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. In addition to the obvious draws of visiting during Hatteras Island’s shoulder season (fewer crowds and incredible weather), here are a few more reasons to head on down to the over 70 miles of natural shoreline to kick back, relax, and enjoy autumn on the southern Outer Banks.


Have you ever noticed how much more beautiful and vibrant sunsets and sunrises are in the fall and winter months? There is a simple, scientific reason for this phenomenon.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, when the air is crisp and clear, twilight hours will offer up more vibrant colors, as opposed to more muted sunrise and sunset colors in hazy weather. NOAA states, "Because air circulation is more sluggish during the summer, and because the photochemical reactions which result in the formation of smog and haze proceed most rapidly at that time of the year, fall and winter are the most favored times for sunrise and sunset viewing over most of the United States.”

Also, if you’re not particularly an early morning person, don’t forget that shorter fall days call for later sunrises, making waking up to catch it just a little bit easier!

Starry Nights

Don’t worry about packing that telescope. Much like with the sunrises and sunsets, visibility of stars is much higher during this time of the year than in the summer. Colder air can’t support a lot of moisture and results in fewer obstacles between your eyes and the heavens. Over a hundred miles to the nearest city, Hatteras Island has little to no light pollution, making your stargazing opportunities limitless!

Relaxing Activities at Cape Point

If you’ve ever visited Hatteras Island, you’ve surely visited or at least heard of Cape Point, Hatteras Island’s easternmost beach and a legendary fishing hole and seashell mecca in Buxton.

Although ORV access to the point was restricted for the majority of summer 2018 to protect nesting shorebirds, Cape Point was re-opened to visitors in mid-September. If you’re looking for some one-of-a-kind souvenirs, you will definitely want to spend some time here. For the best shells, visit at low tide. Be on the lookout for whelks, scotch bonnets, scallop shells and more. The best part is, you won’t have to fight the crowds to find them!

Don’t forget your fishing pole, as anglers will tell you there is no better time for surf fishing on the Outer Banks than in the fall. Expect to see some red drum, speckled trout, puppy drum, spot, sea mullet, and more.

A Little Taste of Hollywood

The focal point of the 2008 movie embracing the majestic natural beauty of Hatteras Island, “Nights in Rodanthe,” is the Inn at Rodanthe, a beautiful oceanfront vacation rental in Hatteras Island’s northernmost town.

With many custom furnishings and original props, as well as incredible ocean views just steps from the beach, Sun Realty offers weekly and freestyle (3 night minimum) stays at this unique vacation rental. Click here or call our Salvo office for additional information.


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