Swimming on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Buxton, North Carolina

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With 72 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach, Cape Hatteras National Seashore is the ideal place for swimming. It also offers access to many miles of Pamlico Sound shoreline for wading and swimming. The national seashore beaches are clean and easily accessible and available to everyone. Ramps, walkover areas, and parking are plentiful, so getting to the beach is never a problem. In many parts of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, you can drive a four-wheel-drive vehicle right to your favorite beach spot on the ocean or sound, bringing with you all the things you’ll need for an entire day of water fun. (See Off-Roading.) A popular soundside swimming area is Haulover, aka Canadian Hole, just north of Buxton. This is a well-known windsurf-launching area too. There’s a nice little beach here, plus a bathhouse with showers, changing rooms, and rest rooms. Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Coquina Beach is one of the best ocean-swimming areas on the entire Outer Banks. The beach is named for a tiny, delicately colored clam that’s common on the North Carolina beaches.
Exploring Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores

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Exploring Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores

by Molly Perkins Harrison (Falcon Guides)

With 72 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach, Cape Hatteras National Seashore is the ideal place for swimming. It also offers access to many miles of Pamlico Sound shoreline for wading and swimming. The national seashore beaches are clean and easily accessible and available to everyone. Ramps, walkover areas, and parking are plentiful, so getting to the beach is never a problem. In many parts of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, you can drive a four-wheel-drive vehicle right to your favorite beach spot on the ocean or sound, bringing with you all the things you’ll need for an entire day of water fun. (See Off-Roading.)

A popular soundside swimming area is Haulover, aka Canadian Hole, just north of Buxton. This is a well-known windsurf-launching area too. There’s a nice little beach here, plus a bathhouse with showers, changing rooms, and rest rooms. Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Coquina Beach is one of the best ocean-swimming areas on the entire Outer Banks. The beach is named for a tiny, delicately colored clam that’s common on the North Carolina beaches.

©  Molly Perkins Harrison/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Buxton
Trail Type: Several options
Season: Best May to October
Local Contacts: Contact information for the national seashore, visitor centers, and local resources are provided in the eTrail.
Driving Directions: Directions to Swimming on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

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May 2018