FUN THINGS TO DO
Villages of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo, North Carolina
The three Hatteras Island villages which are closest to central Outer Banks attractions, such as the Wright
Brothers memorial, the NC Aquarium, and The Lost Colony, run together without borders, as one
continuous village. Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo are simply charming, with lots of beautiful vacation rental
homes, exceptional sound access for kiteboarding and windsurfing lovers, proximity to the Pea Island
National Wildlife Refuge for bird watchers, and miles and miles of gorgeous beaches. Hollywood paid
homage to the area in the 2008 major motion picture, “Nights in Rodanthe”. The quaint desolate setting
was the ideal backdrop for Nicholas Spark’s acclaimed book. Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station is also a key
attraction for Hatteras Island visitors, and is a revered predecessor of the modern day Coast Guard.
Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo Attractions
- Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station
- Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
- Rodanthe Fishing Pier
- "The Slick" kiteboarding area
Originally, the “tri-villages,” as some locals call this area, were actually two villages: Chicamacomico and
Clarksville. Chicamacomico was an Algonquin word meaning, ‘sinking down sand.’ In 1874, the same year
the lifesaving station was established, the U.S. Post Office changed the name to Rodanthe, and later
renamed the southern part of Rodanthe to “Waves”.
Legend has it that during the Civil War, a Union ship sailed past neighboring Clarksville, and the captain
asked the name of the village. No one knew, so the captain asked the crew to give them a “cannon salvo,”
or a cannon salute. The Salvo name stuck, and in 1901, the village officially changed the name. For
decades, Salvo was also known as being home to the smallest U.S. Post office in the country. The building
was built in 1901 and destroyed by a fire in 1992. An exact replica still stands in Salvo for visitors to enjoy.
Besides proximity to the busier central Outer Banks attractions, these villages also border the Pea Island
National Wildlife Refuge, which runs between Rodanthe and the Bonner Bridge. The refuge has over 13
miles of wetlands, marshes, and beaches, and over 360 species of migrating birds flock to this area annually.
Perhaps most important, the tri-villages offer exceptional water access. In the vacation rental homes in this
area, it is not uncommon to stand on a top level deck and enjoy picturesque views of both the ocean and
sound. As such, this area has become renowned for water sports enthusiasts, such as kiteboarders and
windsurfers, who enjoy exceptional sound access and numerous launching points, sometimes right from
the backyard of a soundfront rental home. Surfers and ocean lovers can also enjoy some of the best
waves on the East Coast.
With a few shops and restaurants, but no major chain grocery stores, Rodanthe Waves and Salvo visitors
enjoy a picturesque small town feeling, with miles of water, and plenty of outdoor entertainment. For water
and nature lovers who enjoy a little peace and quiet from the comfort of a beautiful vacation rental home,
Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo is the place to be.
Nags Head, NC ~ A Fun Day Trip!!!
For a fun excursion off the island, many visitors enjoy a day exploring Hatteras Island’s northern neighbors,
the towns of Nags Head, Manteo, Kill Devil Hills, and Kitty Hawk. This collection of towns known as the
Central Outer Banks offer plenty of family friendly activities for young and young at heart, and is an
enjoyable day trip for Hatteras Island vacationers. If you decide to go, there is a collection of “must-see”
attractions just waiting to be discovered.
Shopping and Dining:
With a variety of stores and restaurants, you can spend your entire day trip with a little bit of shopping
therapy, a quick meal and an evening of fine dining. Bargain hunters will love the Tanger Outlet Center,
located at the southern end of Nags Head (known as South Nags Head) and with dozens of local and family-
owned restaurants to choose from, there’s ample opportunity to sample North Carolina seafood.
Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head:
This 426-acre park in Nags Head is hard to miss, as it is home to the largest natural living sand dune on the
East Coast. There are two self-guided trails and nature programs available year-round, and adventurous
visitors can try hang gliding and kite flying, thanks to Kitty Hawk Kites’ flagship store just across the street.
Bodie Island Lighthouse:
The Bodie Island lighthouse is located just north of the Bonner Bridge, and the 156-foot tall horizontally-
striped lighthouse is definitely worth a visit. While not open for climbing, the lighthouse grounds feature a
visitor's center in the old keeper's quarters with exhibits, an Eastern National Bookstore, and a self-guided
nature trail that winds through the soundside forests and marshes.
The Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills:
The statuesque monument that towers over the town of Kill Devil Hills marks the site of the Wright
Brothers' first controlled powered flight on December 17, 1903. Climb to the top of the hill for an up close
look at the pylon, or explore the neighboring Visitors’ Center, which features full-scale reproductions of the
1903 Wright Flyer and interpretive presentations. A pavilion boasts an exhibit hall with special exhibits,
including a replica of the 1902 Wright Glider. This is also the site of the Centennial of Flight celebration in
2003 that was attended by President George W. Bush and saluted by a wing-dipping flyover of Air Force
The North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo:
The theme of this aquarium, the "Waters of The Outer Banks," allows visitors to journey from coastal
freshwaters to the deep Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy watching river otters play, American alligators lounge, and
stingrays glide in the aquarium’s “touch tank.” Of course, one of the largest attractions, (literally), is the
285,000-gallon "Graveyard of the Atlantic" tank containing a one-third scale replica of the USS Monitor, and
dozens of large marine residents, including a variety of sharks.
Roanoke Island Festival Park on Roanoke Island:
Discover this interactive family attraction that celebrates the first English settlement in America. Located
adjacent to Manteo, the 25-acre island park features plenty of waterfront strolling opportunities, and the
Elizabeth II, a representation of one of the seven English ships from the Roanoke Voyage of 1585. Tour the
ship, and be greeted by Costumed Elizabethan sailors who introduce visitors to sixteenth century seafaring
life. The park's stage is also host to many outdoor concerts and a summer performance series by the
North Carolina School of the Arts.
The Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island:
Located just north of Manteo and adjacent to Fort Raleigh National Historic Park, this 16th century pleasure
garden was created by The Garden Club of North Carolina as a living memorial to the original Lost Colonists.
A perfect attraction for spring and summer visitors, the Elizabethan Gardens feature a thatched gazebo,
Shakespearean herb garden, flower bordered walkways, antique garden statuary, and formal sunken
While Hatteras Island visitors love the fact that the hustle and bustle of the Northern Outer Banks feels
worlds away, an excursion to these attractions is just a short drive up the beach, and definitely well worth
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse ~ America's Lighthouse
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on Hatteras Island, North Carolina, enjoys the distinction of being the tallest
lighthouse in the country, and one of the most recognized lighthouses in the world thanks to its pattern of
black and white candy cane stripes. Often referred to as America's Lighthouse, the fully-functioning
lighthouse still flashes a nightly beacon that rotates every 7 seconds and can be seen up to 20 miles out to
sea. Chances are, if you look closely from the deck of your vacation rental home, you’ll be able to catch the
rotation of the beam of light as it circles Hatteras Island.
Quick Lighthouse Facts
- The lighthouse is the tallest in America, at 210 ft. tall
- It was designed to assist sailors navigating the treacherous Diamond Shoals
- There are 269 steps to climb
- The lighthouse was moved in 1999 to avoid erosion
Because of the treacherous Diamond Shoals, the intersecting and ever-changing currents off of Buxton’s
Cape Point, a lighthouse was imperative for ships passing this stretch of the Outer Banks. Hundreds and
possibly thousands of shipwrecks in this area have given it the nickname of “Graveyard of the Atlantic”. In
1797, Congress responded and authorized the building of a lighthouse. This first lighthouse was completed
in 1803, and was considered poorly constructed from its first day of service. At only 90 feet, the beacon’s
reach and visibility were simply inadequate.
In 1854, the original lighthouse was renovated to stand 150 feet tall, and a Fresnel lens, one of the best at
the time, was installed. This did little good, as the lighthouse, (constructed out of sandstone), continued to
get cracks, and an entirely new lighthouse was recommended.
Legend has it that during the design process of the new lighthouse, an engineer in charge of the lighthouse’
s design had originally intended to give it a black diamond print, as an indication of the dangerous Diamond
Shoals it bordered. Instead, the engineer accidentally mixed up the plans, and Cape Lookout’s lighthouse
now sports the black diamond design. Hatteras Island’s lighthouse received the black and white candy cane
The new Hatteras lighthouse, the one that stands today, was activated in December 1870. Towering at
210 ft and located 1,500 ft from the water’s edge, it served as an imperative navigational aid for ships for
decades. Comprised of 1,250,000 bricks with an iron infrastructure, the lighthouse has withstood
generations of hurricanes with minimal damage.
Erosion, however, was one weather phenomenon that even the lighthouse could not withstand. In the
summer of 1999, the Cape Hatteras Light was moved from its original location 2900 ft. back into Buxton
woods to its present location. The move took a total of 23 days (including 2 days when there was no
forward progress) reaching its new home on July 9th. Despite both local and visitor concerns, the move
resulted in no significant damage to the well-loved national landmark.
Today, visitors are welcome to make the long 269 step climb (the equivalent of a 12 story building) to the
very top of the lighthouse, where they are greeted with phenomenal bird’s eye views of Hatteras Island and
the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse is open for climbing daily from April through October, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30
a.m. Tickets are available at the lighthouse ticket booth and can be purchased on the day of your climb. An
adjacent visitor’s center, museum and gift shop allows visitors to learn more about both the lighthouse and
the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and the park also has nearby picnic areas and self-guided walking trails
through Buxton’s maritime forest. Visit the National Park Service official Cape Hatteras Lighthouse website
for information about climbing the lighthouse.
As one of the 4 remarkable lighthouses that dot the landscape of the Outer Banks, the Cape Hatteras Light
simply stands out for its size, its notoriety, and its amazing views that can be explored and enjoyed by all
Hatteras Island visitors.
HATTERAS ISLAND VILLAGES
Anglers flock to Cape Hatteras from all over the globe for our world-class fishing. The proximity of the Gulf
Stream makes Hatteras Island home to a fleet of offshore charter boats as well as some of the best pier and
surf fishing around.
WINDSPORTS & WATERSPORTS
Surfers, kiteboarders and windsurfers find the conditions on Cape Hatteras to be the best on the East
coast. Popular spots are Kite Point, Canadian Hole and Mirlo Beach along with other ocean and sound
ENJOYING THE NATIONAL SEASHORE
Cape Hatteras visitors enjoy Pea Island National Wildlife refuge within the nation's first national seashore
which means that most of the island is protected and home to hundreds of species of waterfowl and other
types of birds and wildlife.
OUTER BANKS ATTRACTIONS
The Outer Banks is rich in history and folklore including the origins of the nation's Coast Guard, the Wright
Brothers' historic flight and the nation's first English colony. Below is a small selection of attractions to enjoy
on your family vacation.
HATTERAS VACATION GUIDE
Unsure about what Hatteras Island has to offer your family? Take a look through the guide below to help
plan your next Hatteras Island Vacation.
26136 Otter Way ~ Salvo, North Carolina 27972 Give us a call Today! (800) 237-1138