Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island

Hatteras, North Carolina

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Early maps show Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands joined. Hatteras Inlet was formed on a stormy night, September 7, 1846. Its history has been stormy every since. During the Civil War, the Confederates constructed two forts east of the inlet: Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark. Both these forts were attacked and surrendered to the Federal forces in 1861 and are now just bare beach. A lifesaving station that was built on the Ocracoke side of the island disappeared in 1955. The inlet has been relatively stable for the past half century. Ocracoke can only be reached by boat. A ferry provides service to Ocracoke from Hatteras Island. It still remains a trip for the hardy in anything other than the calmest conditions.
Guide to Sea Kayaking in North Carolina

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Guide to Sea Kayaking in North Carolina

by Pam Malec (The Globe Pequot Press)

Early maps show Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands joined. Hatteras Inlet was formed on a stormy night, September 7, 1846. Its history has been stormy every since. During the Civil War, the Confederates constructed two forts east of the inlet: Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark.

Both these forts were attacked and surrendered to the Federal forces in 1861 and are now just bare beach. A lifesaving station that was built on the Ocracoke side of the island disappeared in 1955. The inlet has been relatively stable for the past half century. Ocracoke can only be reached by boat. A ferry provides service to Ocracoke from Hatteras Island. It still remains a trip for the hardy in anything other than the calmest conditions.

©  Pam Malec/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Sea Kayaking
Nearby City: Hatteras
Distance: 6
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 4 to 5 hours
Season: Year-round, weather permitting
Local Maps: USGS: NC0320 Hatteras and NC0292 Green Island
Driving Directions: Directions to Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island

Recent Trail Reviews

8/20/2003
0

Paddling from Cape Hatteras to Ocracoke can be anything from easy to challenging. One of the best places to launch from is the marina near the Cape Hatteras ferry station. You can also get weather updates from the station or ferry captains if they happen to be standing around. Once you launch there are two basic routes you can take. 1) follow the main island towards the inlet and then paddle across. 2) paddle amongst the smaller islands on the sound side of the inlet and work your way across the inlet. The first option is the most direct, quickest, and has the greatest chance for adventure. You will want to make sure you time the inlet crossing for slack tide or rising tide. Watch out for boat traffic and the ferries. There isn't a lot of room for the larger boats to manuever, make sure you are out of their way. If you follow the islands around it is an easier but somewhat longer paddle. Some of the islands are just sand bars, but a few have grasses and small shrubs. Just work your way from island to island until you see the ferry landing at Ocracoke. If you are crossing at low tide you might have to wade a little bit. During duck hunting season there are hunters in duck blinds on the water. Out of courtesy it is best to give them a wide berth. At the ferry station on Ocracoke there are a few vending machines, but not much else. You can walk around the beach and check out the old remains of a Coast Gaurd Life Saving Station. If you are tired or running out of time you can take the ferry back to Hatteras. This ferry is free and takes about 30 minutes to make the trip.



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Apr 2018