Twenty-five miles off the coast of North Carolina, where the Gulf Stream meets the Labrador Current, lies a narrow strip of sand called Hatteras Island. Stretched over 70 miles of barrier islands, Cape Hatteras Seashore is a fascinating combination of natural and cultural resources, and provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Once dubbed the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" for its treacherous currents, shoals, and storms, Cape Hatteras has a wealth of history relating to shipwrecks, lighthouses, and the U.S. Lifesaving Service. This island provides a variety of habitats and is a valuable wintering area for migrating waterfowl. The fishing and surfing are considered the best on the east coast.
There are quite a few things to do in the area even though it's located in a an isolated area. First and foremost the village of Waves is located within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, as are several other villages on the island. While there may be towns, villages, and private property, the beach itself is held under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. And that in itself is the biggest attraction.
Aside from the usual beach activities such was swimming, sun bathing, surfing, and fishing, there are other things to do. Visiting one of the islands lighthouses, including the famous Cape Hatteras Light is usually high on everyone's list. There are plenty of commercial activities near by to keep you busy too.
History of Cape Hatteras and Waves NC
In 1953, a 72-mile stretch of the Outer Banks from Nags Head to Ocracoke Island was set aside as the nation's first National Seashore. Today, most of Hatteras Island remains protected by that designation and is a one of the country's most visited National Parks. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore encompasses some of the most historic and environmentally fragile real estate in the world
Wind and water shape the island's dunes and inlets, and yet a maritime forest at Buxton provides a calm oasis. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, tallest in the nation, was nearly claimed by the Atlantic Ocean but was rescued in the nick of time in 1999 by moving the entire structure away from the sea.
But perhaps most importantly is the fact that Hatteras Island is one of the last places on earth where you can go on a summer holiday weekend and stake out a stretch of beach to call your very own.
These villages maintained seperate and distinct identities and community pride. Like all of the villages of Hatteras, they were very clan-like and independent. In fact, the islanders rejected an early proposal by the State of North Carolina which suggested that the much-needed Highway 12 would be built if the villages would agree on a consolidated school. Highway 12 was eventually built, and the children now attend the same school system.
The whole area was once known as Chicamacomico or Chicamacomico Banks, derivatives of Indian names that date back to the Raleigh colonists and the earliest maps. In 1874 the postal service changed the name of the entire northern end of the island to Rodanthe. Growth in the area continued however, and by the early 1900s, three distinct villages had become established in the broad Rodanthe area. By the 1930s, this village was known as South Rodanthe (Waves), and was the center village between North Rodanthe (now Rodanthe) and Clark, aka Clarksville (now Salvo).
Confused? So was the Postal Service. In 1939, South Rodanthe got its own post office and became Waves. The northernmost village became "Rodanthe," no longer needing the "North" to distinguish it from its sister village, and Clarksville became Salvo.