The North Carolina Coast: Places to Explore

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Photo: Peter Guttman/PeterGuttman.com

Hatteras Island

The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge arches for 3 miles over Oregon Inlet and carries traffic to Hatteras Island, a 42-mile-long curved ribbon of sand jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. At its most distant point (Cape Hatteras), the island is 25 miles from the mainland. About 85% of the island belongs to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and the remainder is privately owned in seven small, quaint villages strung along Route 12, the island's fragile lifeline to points north. Among its nicknames, Hatteras is known as the blue marlin (or billfish) capital of the world. The fishing's so great here because the Continental Shelf is 40 miles offshore, and its current, combined with the nearby Gulf Stream and Deep West Boundary Current, create an unparalleled fish habitat. The total population of the towns—Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras Village—is around 3,000, according to the 2010 Census.

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