Oregon Inlet Campground – Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Finally – after 24 years – we’ve made it back to our favorite place – ever!!!! It’s beautiful, magical,…Breathtaking – the Outer Banks (OBX). They are a 200-mile string of barrier islands and spits off the coast of North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. They line most of the North Carolina coastline, separating Currituck Sound, Albemarle Sound, and Pamlico Sound – from the Atlantic Ocean. It’s such gorgeous natural beauty that can’t be explained, if you’ve never been. We hope that everyone that reads this will experience the OBX at some point in your life.
We could feel the excitement building as we drove the short distance from our previous stay in Currituck Sound. Alas – we see the sign for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore!!!!!
Within a few minutes we were pulling into that beautiful Oregon Inlet Campground….oh there are the dunes!! Little paths thru the dunes just a short walk from our site. We couldn’t wait to put those beach sandals on…..but alas………..we would have to wait….
Ya know – Mother Nature has a way – or it’s just our luck – it might be sunny, but the WIND made for a non-beach time for our first few days.
Our first outing was taking the free ferry from Cape Hatteras to a place we hold close to our hearts – our first camping experience on the beach was Ocracoke Island. Off we went for the day. Up at the crack of dawn for an hour’s drive south, to wait in line for the first come/first serve ferry. We waited about an hour (not so bad). The ferry ride takes about 70 minutes even though it’s only about 9 nautical miles from Cape Hatteras to Ocracoke. The ever-shifting currents are constantly shifting the ocean floor, so the ferry has to maneuver well out into the sound to miss all the sand bars.
Oh, it looks just like it did 24 years ago! Golf carts and bicycles in abundance. Vehicle parking is limited but we managed to find a spot for Journey while we covered every square inch we could, on foot. Neat little shops keeping the small economy going. Years ago we had talked about buying a place and living on the quaint island…..Most of the restaurants were closed for the season, but one of our favorites – Howards Pub was still open. It was packed and we happily sat at the outside patio and enjoyed our meal….
The island boasts so much history, it’s worth reading about. Lots of pirate stories (many true). Several historical cemeteries on the island including a British one. Ocracoke – a true gift from the sea……………….
While poking in and out of all the beach towns/shops up and down the OBX, we stopped at the Wright Brothers Memorial. The park service has done a great job at preserving the land with a nice memorial and visitor’s center.
Jockey’s Ridge State Park was another cool stop. It is home to the tallest living sand dune system on the Atlantic coast and provides an ideal location for kite flying, watching sunsets, and hang gliding – which they teach on site.
Alligator River Wildlife Refuge was a place one of our neighbors told us about. Lots of wildlife including bears to be seen, best in the early morning or dusk. We made 3 trips out and finally got lucky the 3rd evening with some bears.
Speaking of neighbors! We had been out running errands – got back to the campground and as we rounded the corner to The Sandman, we see a vehicle parked in front of it. What the heck??? Who does that??? We get closer and see no one in the car but we see feet by the door. Hum??? What the heck? We park Journey and around the front comes this adorable, older than us couple, who live in Southern VA – we had met them when we camped at Hagan-Stone Park a few weeks ago. OMG!!!!! They remembered we were coming to the OBX. Their son lives in Kill Devil Hills (a local town) and they were visiting. They drove to Oregon Inlet on the chance they would find us! We had dinner with them and went with them on our 3rd and lucky adventure to the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge. Now, how cool is that????????????
Pea Island Wildlife Refuge is another great little stop along the OBX. Nice visitor’s center and places to park along the highway to get to the beach. One day we had the beach all to ourselves……….
Of course we looked for seashells and sea glass. We found 4 beautiful pieces of sea glass which we will cherish for years to come!!
We visited all of the OBX Lighthouses – Currituck, Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, Ocracoke, and Roanoke Marshes. All, breathtaking in their own way!!
A wonderful 2 weeks……….we were sad to be leaving but more adventures to come…..