Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area Beach Run

CORE and Friends made our annual trek to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area over Halloween weekend, Oct 31-Nov 2.

“The moon had set earlier and it was incredibly dark.”

Joining us this time were:

  • Keith and Betty in the ZR2
  • Alex and Laura in Unlimited Rubicon
  • Mike V and Donna in Rubicon
  • Mike K and Debbie and the pups in the Expedition
  • Constituting the “and Friends” this year were:

  • George and Donna plus pup in the Explorer
  • Bruce in the Ranger

As in past years, the weekend was pretty much a laid back trip to the beaches. We agreed to meet there on Friday. Alex and Laura, George and Donna, and Mike and Donna all arrived Thursday with the rest arriving during the day on Friday or wee hours of Saturday morning.

I’ll try to pass along some of the things we did and places we went together but we all had some time to ourselves as well so I’ve asked that the attendees share some of their individual items as well.

Friday evening, we went to a restaurant called the Sandbar Grille which was located on the sound-side. Arriving after dark the exterior view was missed but the company inside was great. As it was also Halloween night, a number of patrons arrived in costume and it was getting livelier as we left. They had plans for a party and we had plans for a trip down the beach. Laura noticed one small group that she wanted to include in her pictures. I think she got her picture but before we left, she had been included in a number of other pictures. We speculated that she may be the source of stories of Halloween ghosts in the Banks as several of those taking pictures appeared to be unlikely to recall many details the morning after.

But we did get to the beach, actually the area called the Point just south of the Hatteras light. The moon had set earlier and it was incredibly dark. Alex’s attempts at pictures showed just how dark it was! After enjoying the breezes and the view of the Milky Way, we moved on around to come back to pavement in Frisco at Ramp 49 and headed in to our motels for the night.

Saturday, we met for breakfast at the Diamond Shoals restaurant then headed down to the vicinity of the Ocracoke ferry landing. We explored the beach in that vicinity for a while on both the sound and ocean side. We found a dead octopus washed up on the beach, watched the fisherman and enjoyed the sunshine and great weather. We also observed the only marked area, presumably for a turtle nest, of the weekend. Then we headed to the ferry and rode over to Ocracoke.

We stayed on the paved NC 12 down to the village for lunch. Many places were closed because we had crossed into November but the signs weren’t real clear. We eventually landed at Howard’s Pub which had been closed for a wedding reception in 2007. The place was terrific! It was big enough they didn’t choke when our crowd arrived, the food was excellent and they even had a rooftop deck where we enjoyed the view. It definitely gets MY recommendation!

After lunch, a couple of side trips were planned so we made plans to meet up on the beach for the trip north back to the ferry but plans don’t always work out and don’t have when you’re on beach time! Bruce, Alex and Laura, George and Donna and Keith and Betty all met up on the beach and the others traveled up the beach together. We all eventually wound up at the ferry with Mike and Donna riding an earlier ferry due to the loading plans with someone taking a huge trailer.

The rest of us went back on the next ferry arriving in Hatteras after dark. We split up for dinner and eventually reconvened with the two Jeeps, the Expedition and the Blazer making one last run to the darkened beach near the Hatteras light. While standing there, we were approached by an NPS ranger who asked us whether we had our passes. We answered in the affirmative but he didn’t check them. Must have been all those honest faces or maybe it was because it was too dark.

This is the first year that passes have been required and only at night. The actual pass includes a map of the Recreation Area beaches as well as the rules for driving.

As always, Sunday morning found some already gone and others still packing depending on their plans.

Definitely a trip to experience and one that will be repeated. There was some discussion that next year’s trip should be earlier in the year?


~Keith Holman

Mike Vincenty’s Write Up

We took in the sunset and watched the western sky change to a beautiful orange/red glow.
This run is always one that we try to make every year. It is one of our favorites because we hang out with our CORE friends for a relaxing weekend of site seeing and mild four wheeling on the Outer Banks beaches; something very special to experience.

This year Donna and I decided to head down to the Outer Banks a day early. We arrived late Thursday evening one day before the rest of our CORE friends. Friday we woke to a picture perfect day. The sun was shining and a mild ocean breeze kept things cool and fresh. We decided to lazily explore the island. Many shops were visited and bargains were easy to find since it was the end of the season.

On our travels we visited the Cape Hatteras light house and then headed to the southernmost road accessible point on Hatteras Island, near the ferry. Here we took a beach access and traveled along the beach for several miles. Here we stopped walk along the beach and take in all that the Outer Banks has to offer. We observed a fishermen (and women) casting their lines in hopes of getting a catch. Being that it was off season there were few people on the beaches. Nice.

One other memorable activity on this trip was on Saturday night. We got back to Hatteras Island just before sunset. We parked the Jeep and found a bench near the water’s edge. We took in the sunset and watched the western sky change to a beautiful orange/red glow.

One over very special activity was riding on the beaches at night time. We parked near the coast line turned out our vehicle lights and admired the billions of stars overhead. Several of us were able to spot shooting stars falling from the sky. The evening was crisp, but the night sky was worth it.

Many thanks to Keith for pulling this event together. If you haven’t yet made this run, it is well worth your time to attend next year.

Mike Vincenty

Trail reports written by Keith Holman and Mike Vincenty. Pictures courtesy of Keith Holman, Mike Vincenty, and Alex Hinson.

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