If you find yourselves wondering what to do with a few free days this summer, try a visit to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Here’s a checklist of things to see:
1. Climb to the top of Bodie (pronounced body) Island lighthouse. Newly restored, it still has the original fresnal lens. It is only 214 steps to the top, a good warm-up for the Hatteras lighthouse.
2. Eat at Fish Heads Bar and Grill on the pier at Nags Head which is conveniently located near enough to the lighthouse for you to eat there while waiting for you time slot to climb the lighthouse to arrive.
3. Visit Hatteras Lighthouse and be sure that you plan to be there Thursday so that you can wait in line before they open and get a ticket for the 9:00pm night tour as well as be on the first day tour (while it is not so hot). I can’t say enough about the night tour. This is a beautiful structure during the day, but in the dark it really shines (excuse the pun).
4. Go shelling at the north end of Ocracoke. Ever wished that you could get away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds on Ocracoke? If yes, then you stop at the visitor station on the north end just as you leave the ferry. The beach on the sound here makes for a calm place to look for shells or to soak in the water without fear of sharks. They have bathrooms, water to rinse off with, and a shaded place for a quick snack before hopping back on the ferry. And speaking of the ferry, it turns out that the ferry is a great place to “swim” with the dolphins. We were all quite surprised when as soon as the dolphins appeared, the boat caption announced over the loud speaker “Ladies and gentlemen, there are now dolphins swimming beside the ferry on the port side, PLEASE do not jump of the ferry, I repeat do not jump of the ferry.” I had never considered that option!
5. Visit the Wright Brother Memorial at Kitty Hawk and try very hard to catch the Park Ranger talk. If you are super lucky, you will get to hear Park Historian Darrell Collins speak. His passion for flight and the Wright Brothers accomplishments is contagious, so bring a young pilot candidate with you so they can catch the bug.