Best Times to Visit Hatteras Island


I honestly don't know a better time to visit the Outer Banks and Hatteras Island then whatever days it is today! What I mean is that this area has something to see and do nearly every day of the year. With that in mind, I'm going to try to give you a brief description of each season and some of the things that you might expect on your visit.

Before I describe each season first I want to explain what makes Hatteras so unusual other then its an isolated island location. The Gulf Stream is the warm ocean current that's like a river in an ocean. It meanders in and out during the seasons as it passes along the coast of the United States. Because of it's eastern location, the Hatteras weather benefits from the constant influence of the warm water. In the summer the water temperatures tend to be cooler then inland North Carolina's normally hot days. During the winter the warm Gulf Stream water constantly warms our air like a giant radiator making our winters relatively mild.



Summer: By far the busiest time for the island. The ocean water is warm and the normally strong winds that the Outer Banks is famous for have died down to just gentle breezes on most days. The motels and numerous rental houses are usually packed with vacationing families as well as laughing and partying beachgoers. Many people are making trips down to the sand in their four wheel drive trucks and SUVs. Kids are boogie boarding in the surf, mom's are relaxing in the sun reading and soaking up the rays while dad's are wetting a fishing line trying hard to catch a delicious dinner.

Even with all this activity you will never feel like things are just too crowded. The remote location and long drive keeps the crowds on our beaches within reasonable numbers. The most important thing to remember when scheduling any vacation is that you are going to have bad weather days no matter where you go. During the summer season at Hatteras there are very few "bad weather days" by comparison.



Fall: In my opinion the fall is the best time of year to vacation or visit the Outer Banks. The warm ocean waters keep the weather very mild here until the end of December. The fish are usually biting as they make their migrations out of the sounds and down the coast.  The possibility of hurricanes that can ruin your trip earlier in the season is now normally down to a minimum. You can usually expect mild days in the upper 70's and evenings dropping into the 60's and 50's later in the year.

Although a lot of the summer traffic has disappeared there are still a lot of fishermen here until Thanksgiving.  As the winds pick up in the fall you can watch the many folks wind surfing and sailboarding in the fall season. With the kids back in school, this area becomes an adult playground.




Winter: If you are just wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the north and you want to take a break from those snow and salt covered urban streets, this can be a place to reclaim your sanity. It's a shame but very few visitors visit this area from January until April. You won't see many vehicles out on the highway. Most of the restaurants and small shops have closed until spring while the owners take some time for vacations of their own.  Is there a better time to take in the natural beauty of Hatteras?

If your idea is just to get away and relax, then a winter trip to Hatteras can be just the ticket. Although the things to do are always limited by the weather, the boats still charter at the marina on the nice days. It's incredibly relaxing and romantic to bundle up and go for a nice shell hunting walk on our empty beaches. Then after that you can come back and huddle under a blanket and watch game on TV or that DVD you have been wanting to see. (We have a very large selection of the latest movies on DVD)



Spring: The same warm ocean currents that keep our weather mild through the fall and winter have an opposite effect on our weather in the spring. As the temperatures rise inland, the ocean water is still in the 50's in the early spring and keep our air cool. However, the water does tend to warm up quickly through May. The fishing seems to warm up with the water. You can expect that most of the shops and restaurants will begin opening immediately after Easter. 

For the folks with "cabin fever" Hatteras is a great place to just get out and smell the salt air or walk a trail.  Spring bird watching can be spectacular as the local birds begin to arrive and many other migratory species are spotted at nature's Hatteras Island "rest stop" before continuing on to their normal summer habitat.



Nor'Easters:    Weather is always a key component of every vacation. Hatteras can be a very windy place. An old timer once told me that if you can't "make peace" with the wind here you will never be able to enjoy this place.  The occasional Nor'easter is a possibility during any season. Nor'easters blow sand and sometimes heavy ocean overwash onto Rt. 12  so it is always a good idea to check the weather and road conditions just before you leave.


Hurricanes,   Although rare, hurricanes are always a possibility. At The Osprey Nest we have a very liberal hurricane policy. If you have given us a deposit and we are concerned that you would making a trip into unknown conditions that could ruin your vacation, you will have the option of getting a refund of your deposit rather then ask you to "take your chances."  We'll leave that decision up to you however we always prefer to close and leave early ourselves so that we aren't stuck for several hours in evacuation traffic. We will always be fully aware of the weather situation for you and keep you advised on what we feel would be the safest decision.  



Whatever it is that you are looking for: relaxing, sightseeing, fishing, shopping, exercise or just name it and we can help advise you on the best time to find it Hatteras Island! Don't be afraid to ask us how we can meet your dreams.