Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Cape Point Campground

Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Cape Point Campground

Martha and I moved from Assateague Island National Seashore to Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the 25th.  The new campground is one hundred and ninety sites strong. None of them have water, sewer or electric. They do however, have paved pads.  Our 40' Coach, tow dolly (tucked under the front)  and our car parked sideways across the the front all fits but just barely.

Our Campground Review

Cape Hatteras National Seashore - Cape Point Campground - RATING - 5.5

AT&T - Yes
SERVICES - No Electrical Service National Park Generator Rules, No Sewer Hook Up, No Water Hook up. Sites are almost level so setting up is easy.

COST - $10 Nightly with my Access Pass  -

DISCOUNTS - 1/2 price with "Access Pass", "America the Beautiful Senior Pass" and the "America the Beautiful Pass" provides free access into the park.

REVIEW - 190 sites with picnic tables and fire pits (you can only cook in the fire pit and extinguish upon completion. Not open fires for any other purpose). Dump and fresh water are about a mile North of Cape Point Campground. Dump and fill water on your way into Cape Point. Do not attempt to fill up at the bath house spigots, the Camper Host will immediately intervene (He's a crabby old bastard). Also, be aware that your car, RV and trailer (if any) must all fit on your RV pad.

The beach is spectacular and if you pick the right spot (Off season) you will have it to yourself. Kitty Hawk, The Wright Brothers Museum are nearby,

There is fresh water in the campground but all spigots have the screw end cut off them to keep people from connecting a hose taking water from them (nothing in the park rules state you cannot take water from these spigots). I was about to use my water bandit to fill our water tank and an over zealous park host volunteer came over to insure that I had to go out to the sewage dump where I could use the fresh water spigot there to fill our tank. The dump and fresh water are nearly a mile from the campsite...ugh. Oh well, we turned around and got water and then came back.

(Click on any photo to enlarge it and to be taken to a slide show of the photos in this blog entry)

All around us is vegetation that anchor the nearby dunes. There is abronia, red verbena, beach bur, salt bush and sea oats.

We have seen deer and have seen the tracks of some very large deer. I saw a couple of rabbits this afternoon but other than that the place is inhabited by crabs and sea birds.

Yesterday we visited the Cape Hatteras Visitors Center and saw the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse then went to the Graveyard of The Atlantic Museum in Hatteras.  The museum is a very interesting place. I pride myself on know a lot more than most people about WWII, but I learned at the museum that battles that took place just offshore from Hatteras.

World War II was fought off the coast of the OBX (Outer banks) Islands.  A German U-boat  torpedoed the 337-foot-long U.S. freighter, City of Atlanta, sinking the ship and killing all but three of the 47 men aboard. 

The same U-boat attacked two more ships just hours later. Less than six weeks after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the hostilities of the Second World War had arrived on America’s East Coast and North Carolina’s beaches. This was not the first time that German U-boats had come to United States waters. During World War I, three U-boats sank ten ships off the Tar Heel coast in what primarily was considered a demonstration of German naval power. But by 1942, U-boats had become bigger, faster, and more deadly. Their presence in American waters was not intended for “show” but to help win World War II for Germany.

German U-boats also plied the waters off the Cape during WWI sinking at least ten ships.

You can see a listing of the ships that have sunk off the coast by by nature and war by clicking this link: List of ships sunk off the North Carolina Coast.

The Windswept and Beautiful Shores of the Atlantic.

We continue to like this place and this campground even though we are boondocking. We have no power, no water or sewer hookups. We came here four days ago with 105 gallons of water on board and we are getting so good at military showers and scant water usage that we still have three quarters of a tank of fresh water. I will eventually have to take grey water to the dump site but I think fresh water will hold out for the full seven days and black water will be close but doable.

Sunsets here are rather spectacular even a half mile inland.
                    (click on any photo for a larger image) 
There is a quiet about this place that sort of rattles you. It is desolate and unoccupied at this time of year. 

There are over 190 campsites at Cape Point Campground and there have only been 6 or 7 other campers here on and off the entire time we've been here. 

It is interesting to feel this kind of isolation knowing that only 4 miles away is a thriving tourist mecca.

The dunes make this place special. We are situated on a thin thread of land that defends the North Carolina mainland from total destruction during a hurricane. It puts conservation of the dunes out there in full frontal view for you to ponder. It makes you understand how this complex eco-system works. It drives home the threat of global warming and the threat that sea poses on the land and its occupants. 

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Here on Hatteras they call the lighthouse "The Sentinel." It protects mariners from the treacherous shifting sands of Cape Hatteras and marks the way back to civilization for the landlubbers. 

This the second location for the same Hatteras Lighthouse.  The brick structure was moved 2900 feet from it's former location due to the sea encroaching on it's foundations. The US Coast Guard decided it was more fiscally feasible to move the lighthouse than to build a new one. In Hatteras they say that it was "rescued from the edge."  Indeed it was on the edge of collapse if it hadn't been moved. The lighthouse was built in 1878 from more than one million bricks.  In 1999 engineers and contractors moved it to it's present location to take it away from the edge of the sea.  

It is the tallest lighthouse in North America and stands an impressive  208' and weighing 5,000 tons.

The Day we Arrived at Cape Point the ocean seemed angry but it was still quite beautiful

The sea is always there. It is relentless, restless, beautiful, bountiful and dangerous 

We are insignificant in comparison

We are at the edge of it's vastness  

"Graveyard of the Atlantic" Museum in Hatteras. 

This museum is about the shipwrecks that are just offshore of the barrier Islands. Many famous ships were sunk here because of running aground on the shifting sands off Hatteras and through the actions of warfare during the Civil War, WWI and WWII.

Among those stories and exhibits  were historic tales such as the sinking of the Monitor (nicknamed "cheesecake on a raft") during the civil war. It was found in 2000.  Two years later its gun turret was brought to the surface and is undergoing conservation.  It's a lengthy process and is still in progress.  You can learn about it and the rest of the Monitor here.

The Battle of "Hampton Roads"

The battle of "Hampton Roads" was significant because it was the first time the Monitor and the Merrimac had met in battle. Both Ironclads fought a valiant battle but neither vessel had the advantage and they pounded each other for about three hours before nightfall and low tide intervened. They would never meet again in battle but the confrontation had worldwide impact. The worlds Navies knew that the Monitor's turret and heavy guns allowed them to fire in all directions. This allowed a better offense and defense This innovation affected how war ships were built for a hundred years.

The confederacy called the monitor "Cheesecake on a Raft"

Sources  NCPedia, "Graveyard of the Atlantic Outer Banks"

The museum had other artifacts  and information to view as well.

Life Saving Service were  used by the US Coast Guard Life Saving Stations from 1878 to roughly 1900. These brave men would row to the aid of sinking ships and pick up survivors.

If you ever get near Cape Hatteras do yourself a favor and just go. It is too beautiful to describe, it's towns are tourist traps that most will willfully give into, yet the national park is isolated and disconnected from the touristy part of Hatteras.  The island is too interesting to ignore, it is worth every ounce of the energy, money and time that it takes to come here. 


  1. Gorgeous pictures and wonderful commentary about the history and the area. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sheri M, Thanks for letting us know. We appreciate hearing from the people that read the blog. We work hard to provide the best information about the places we visit.


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