All Seasons Beach - Cape Hatteras Motel

A Beach For All Seasons On Hatteras Island

We are often asked, “What’s it like at other times of the year?”

The majority of our guests visit with us during the peak season between Memorial Day and Labor Day when we have the most cars on the road, the most rooms booked, the most people on the beach, and the hottest days and warmest nights. It is what people want when they think about their summer vacation in all its glory! As we are now about to transition into the fall months with Labor Day just around the corner it’s a good time to let folks know what they might expect during the other seasons. We increasingly have “all seasons” visitors who want to give the fall, winter or spring a try.

The caveat for all of this is the weather. We do live on an island and we do have storms from time to time. But even then, unless it is a very significant storm which causes major damage, storms have their own beauty and power. They are especially magnificent when viewed from the island’s perspective. But let’s assume for the purposes of this blog post that weather, at least severe weather as in a major hurricane or nor’easter, is not a problem.

September is a lovely month. The water is still warm enough to swim in without a wetsuit, the days usually are very comfortable as the humidity begins to drop. For the most part the crowds, such as they are, are individuals without children as school is in session.  Most of the eateries and shops are still open, and have fairly regular hours.

Moving into October the temps are still mild, but the water begins to cool off. This is a big fishing month and there are some tournaments that take place on the weekends, so weekends stay pretty busy. If a restaurant stays open past Labor Day it is usually a good bet it will be open, at least part of the time, through Thanksgiving.  It’s always good to check in with the front desk and we can give you a pretty good idea of who is open and when.

Thanksgiving is really great on the beach. The air is crisp and clear, not usually terribly cold, and the shelling begins to improve as the ocean gets moving a bit more. When the winds are up, the kiteboarders and wind surfers are here, but by November, some sort of wetsuit is usually needed.  Fishing is still very popular through the month.

December brings some folks here for Christmas, more for the week following and into the New Year. Typically it is cooler, but last year we had temps in the 70s at the end of December, so you never know. Birding, shelling, fishing, and beach walking in general are extremely popular. There are fewer eateries and shops open, but our grocery stores are always open and there are a few restaurants that stay open until the New Year.

January and February are the quietest months. We can see snow (truly a beautiful scene) and you often have the beach all to yourself. Valentine’s Day Is becoming more and more popular for a romantic beach get-away. We add some wine and chocolate to make the stay even more enjoyable!

Depending on when Easter falls, the island slowly comes back to life during March and early April. The air temperatures can become quite warm, but the water is still too cold for swimming without a wetsuit of some type. Again, due to the winds, this is prime time for kiteboarding and wind surfing.

As April moves on into May, everything begins to pick up. Shops and restaurants reopen, some families bring their children here during the Easter holidays, and everyone and everything is getting geared up for the summer season. Then, before we all know it, it’s Memorial Day and the cycle begins anew.

We hope to see you sometime during the year – certainly there is a month that is best for you!

Hatteras Colors - Cape Hatteras Motel

All the Colors of a Cape Hatteras Summer

When you dream about your Hatteras vacation, whether it’s a daydream in the office or an actual nighttime version, in all likelihood it’s in color. That’s because the colors of the summer on the Outer Banks are vivid, varied, and truly unforgettable.

The sand is a great place to begin. Whether it’s a golden hue you see or a more reddish tinge near the tide line, the sunlight makes the sand shimmer and the brightness can be overwhelming. Couple that with a beautiful blue sky and the contrast is magical. Near the end of the summer, the sea oats tassel out, and their green and gold colors along the dunes create a waving buffer between sand and sky.

The ubiquitous JoBell flowers combine a dark yellow and deep red to add to the summer landscape. Beach umbrellas and tents provide the frivolity. Every color in the palette can be represented and again, when played up against the sand and sky, they stand out as if placed there like stickers in a child’s sticker book.

The lighthouse stands in stark contrast to everything else with it’s gleaming white and black-as-night stripes. The lighthouse is impressive no matter what the background, but on a day when the sky is bluer than blue and a few big puffy white clouds are around, it is just magnificent. In the early morning, those white stripes can take on a shade of pink and it’s a whole different look.

Which brings us to sunrises and sunsets. Talk about every color! Sometimes the sky is filled with various pastels and other times the sky is on fire. The scene can change from moment to moment on the same night, and especially with sunset, the colors linger long after the sun has actually set with purples and oranges streaking across the sky.

On a sunny day with a storm approaching the clouds can turn a deep, dark violet and the lightening streaks the sky. And of course after the storm, summer rainbows are our reward.

Lastly, there is the ocean. Every shade or blue or green can be seen there depending on the weather, the tide, and the prevailing wind. Sometimes the horizon is a dark navy blue and white ships dot the horizon. Other days the colors can almost be Caribbean and crystal clear. In the waves as they roll and break, there is a lovely seafoam green, one of the most relaxing colors we know.

So as you reflect on vacations past, or dream of future days in Hatteras, may all your dreams be in color, and may all your Hatteras dreams come true!

Big World On the Beach - Cape Hatteras

Small Island – Great Big World, On Hatteras Island

When you come to the Outer Banks, you might not expect to encounter the world. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of international visitors, and there are times at Cape Hatteras Motel when our registry looks like the United Nations! Visibility on the internet and a presence on external booking sites means all of OBX is now “out there” for the world to see, and the world is coming to our door step.

Our neighbors to the north, in Canada, perhaps really started this trend years ago with the strong interest in wind surfing which exploded a few decades back. But now, visitors can and do come from everywhere. This summer our motel has hosted visitors from Canada, England, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, China, Australia and Japan just to name a few. We have enjoyed sharing this part of our country with our visitors. For some of them, this is their first American experience, and we want to be sure they can appreciate not only the beauty of the Outer Banks, but the warmth and friendliness of our hospitality.

Additionally in the summer months you may encounter many internationals who are working in the service industries for the summer. You will meet them in the check-out lines at the grocery stores, serving your meals at local restaurants, assisting you at gift shops, and cleaning rooms and cottages across the island. This is an opportunity for them to not only see a beautiful part of our country, but also to earn money during the summer, and to improve on their English language skills. We have found most of these young people to be unbelievably open and friendly, anxious to learn more about our country and also anxious to share about their homelands.

Hatteras often feels like the end of the earth, people enjoy our remoteness as a great place to get away from it all. But in this age of computers, cell phones, travel websites and review pages, we are no longer a secret – even in the far-flung corners of our globe!

Hurricanes Dog Days - Cape Hatteras Motel

What A Difference A Day Makes On Hatteras Island

As this blog is being written, the calendar says July 31 which means tomorrow begins the dog days of August. It’s just one day, but there is a palpable change in atmosphere on Hatteras Island when we say farewell to July.

Believe it or not, many schools in the South begin their fall terms in August – some as early as August 1. So slowly, but surely, families must turn their attention away from vacation planning and onto books, backpacks and juggling sports and activity schedules. The number of young school-age people on the beach begins to decline. There are just a few fewer cars on the roads, the restaurants are just a bit less frantic (on most nights!) and the parking lots have a few more open spaces.

At Cape Hatteras High School the outdoor sign notes “that other Hurricane season” … that football practice begins on August 1 and cross-country practice is not far behind. An ad looking for school bus drivers was up not long ago. Shops are not purchasing any more summer items, so sales abound – especially for summer clothing and beach items. Entertainment schedules at the local venues are winding down, and “last whatever of the season” ads are popping up here and there.

At the motel, calls for reservations are now focusing on Labor Day weekend, the fall fishing season and bookings for next summer. For everyone working on the island, there is a realization that the busiest part of the season is now behind us and as quickly as it came upon us, Summer 2016 will soon be a memory.

While the days are still very hot, they are getting shorter. After two full months of summer, the ocean temperature is warm. The locusts are singing their songs in the trees and the sea oats are fully tasseled. It’s a lovely time on the beach – a slightly quieter time to enjoy what summer has left to offer!