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!

Angling Guests - Cape Hatteras Motel

Lessons from our Angling Guests

This past weekend we had a full house as we were one of the sponsors of the annual “4 Plus” Fishing Tournament. For many of you who vacation with us during the summer, you may not know how busy we can be in April, October and November for these large tournaments. The spring tournament has a special energy as the island is waking up from winter. Men and women who enjoy surf fishing come from central and northern Virginia to see what’s biting – and what they can catch. These events have gone on continuously for more than 30 years now and some very strong friendships have grown out of spending time together on the beach. The anglers generally come in on Friday (although some are able to sneak down a day before) and the fishing begins on Saturday morning after a meeting with all of the officials. This year Saturday began with some heavy rain, but the skies cleared quickly for a really pretty afternoon of fishing. Then the wind shifted and we had a stiff NE breeze and some cool temperatures for those hardy folks who decided to fish overnight! The catches this year were small – mostly sea mullet (or whiting as it is sometimes called), blow toads, and a few blues. On Sunday morning the fishing concluded, and winners were announced and prizes awarded at an early morning session at the Fesseden Center. But despite the fact that the catches were small, and few if any of the big drum made an appearance, all of the guests we served left with smiles on their faces and many have already booked for the fall tournament and even next April! The lesson here from behind the desk is that being at the beach can be anything you want it to be. For these folks, while they come to fish in a tournament, the fishing (and catching) is really secondary to the fun and fellowship they have at one of the most beautiful coastlines in America. Rain, wind, fish size, numbers of fish – they don’t let anything get in the way of their relaxation and enjoyment. We all want our beach vacations to be filled with blue skies, sunny days, and light breezes. But the joy of just being at the ocean, the smell of the salt, the crash of the waves, being with friends or family – those things all exist no matter what the weather and no matter what else is happening around us. Allow your vacation to be the break it was intended to be and don’t let outside circumstances interfere with your special time. The “4 Plus” fishermen and women have learned that lesson well!

PS: If you have never fished on your OBX vacation, why not give it a try this year? Many people do and get “hooked” for life!

Bonner Bridge Alerts - Cape Hatteras Motel

Important Bridge Updates For Hatteras Island Travelers

If you’re headed this way, these updates provide important travel information.

File this under “Know before you go!”.

See Video on YouTube

• Expect Daytime Lane Closures Monday – Friday until June 13*

One lane will remain open during these lane closures, but motorists are advised to allow extra travel time. From time to time, nighttime road closures may lasting up to 30 minutes.

Bridge Alerts - Cape Hatteras Motel

Big World On the Beach - Cape Hatteras

On the Beach – Out and About

You’re all settled into your room and now the real vacation can begin! For first-time visitors to the ocean and the Outer Banks (and even for repeat visitors), the variety of things to do and places to visit can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to enjoy your visit to the fullest. Just please remember, the beach environment is unique and can bring you challenges you don’t deal with at home. Use a lot of common sense and heed all posted warnings of any kind related to beach access and use. We are surrounded by national park land and there are rules and guidelines to follow.

1.       No doubt you are anxious to see the beach and maybe you want to drive along the beach like you’ve seen them do in other places. First rule is: if you do not have a four-wheel drive vehicle, DON’T. Do not attempt to even pull off the side of the road as the shoulders are soft sand and you may very easily get stuck. A tow is not inexpensive, and we have seen this happen time and time again. You can rent a four wheel drive vehicle if you want to do some off-roading. Even if you have four wheel drive during the dryer summer months you will want to slack your tires. You do need an off-road permit which you can obtain at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor’s Center. Be careful of the tides – we always post the tide times outside the office along with the weather forecast. An incoming tide can catch you off guard if you have taken a long beach walk. Also, beach ramp access changes regularly and due to bird and turtle nesting, some areas are off limits. Check access information regularly.

2.       Speaking of driving, the posted speed limit signs in the villages are for real – yes, that includes 25 mph in Buxton. Don’t ruin your vacation with a ticket. It’s vacation time – relax and just go slowly. Nothing here is going anywhere!

3.       Let’s spend a moment on the beach itself. When the sun is shining brightly, you need sunscreen – a good high number. When the day is partly cloudy with nice, billowing clouds, you need sunscreen – a good high number. And when the day is overcast with no sun, you need sunscreen – a good high number. Especially in the summer, but actually all year, the sun is intense and a bad burn is no way to spend a vacation.  Protect yourself! A beach umbrella is a fine investment!

4.       The ocean is amazingly beautiful but it is the ocean. Currents can be strong, waves can be rough, and the water clarity and temperature can vary. Never, ever swim alone.  Watch your children. Knowing how to swim in a pool is not a indicator of swimming ability in the ocean.  On really rough days, stay along the water’s edge and enjoy the magnificence of mother nature. If you want to swim at a guarded beach, there is one provided by the Park Service near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Of course, you can also enjoy our pool but the same rules apply – watch your children and don’t swim alone!

5.       There are fish, jelly fish and other creatures in the sea. 99.9% of the time you will not encounter a jelly but if you do, over the counter remedies will help ease the sting. If you see a lot of jellies on a particular day, you may want to simply stay out of the water or go to a different stretch of beach. The north beach and the south beach can vary tremendously on any given day, and the sound side can be different still. More and more people like the sound side especially if they have small children. The water is calmer and very shallow and often warmer.

6.       Beach fires are a vacation tradition. There are rules to follow. We have copies of the guidelines from the NPS in the office.

7.       Shelling is a wonderful past time here. We have found great shells at all times of the tide, although low tide does give you some advantages. The biggest rule of thumb is to get up early and be the first one out. If we have a day of stormy conditions, often shelling improves a bit on the day following as interesting things get churned up from the bottom and tossed on the shore. We can help you identify your shells, and if you haven’t found anything by the time you leave, check out our shell buckets for a treat to take home. All are OBX shells we collected during the winter months.

8.       Many people love to spend a day shelling and sightseeing in Ocracoke. We have ferry schedules in the office. Tip:  if you want to spend your day on Ocracoke and not in a line for a ferry plan to leave as early in the morning as you can. You will get there ahead of the crowds, have time to enjoy the beaches, catch a bite to eat and head home easily. The ferry lines are not where you want to spend your time.

9.       We love fishing – it’s what we are famous for along with the beautiful beaches. A license is required for surf fishing, which includes the beach at our motel. There is no license required at a pier. The nearest pier to us at CHM is in Avon about 7 miles away. There are tackle shops galore and plenty of fishermen and women who can give you advice on what’s biting and how to catch them. Talking to locals is truly your best bet for fishing information as they fish all year and have been fishing for many years. You can also rent charters for inshore or off shore fishing for a half day or a full day. There are also head boats (party boats) where your whole family can enjoy an outing. Check in at the harbors in Hatteras Village for information on any of these options. You can keep your catch in our freezer. Some of the local restaurants will prepare your catch for you if you bring it along.

10.   Speaking of restaurants, there are some fine choices here on Hatteras Island. We have restaurants serving breakfast, lunch and dinner at every price point from family casual to special event evenings out. We keep many menus in the office for your review, and since we have eaten at all of them we can give you some firsthand information. During the summer months, most restaurants open at 5pm and close by 9 pm for dinner.  A few places stay open after 9 if it is really busy. During the non-peak season, hours and closings vary widely so check in the office for who’s open and when.

As always, if you have questions on anything covered here, or something we missed, just stop by the office or call us ahead of your travels. We want you to have the best OBX vacation ever here with us at Cape Hatteras Motel.

Next up:  Checking Out and Heading Home

USA Today Travel 10 Best - Cape Hatteras

USA Today’s Readers Choose Cape Hatteras In “10 Best East Coast Beaches”

From Maine all the way down to Florida, America’s eastern shores are home to a diverse collection of beautiful beaches perfect for your next summer vacation. A panel of Beach and East Coast Local Experts were chosen based on their extensive beach knowledge and experience to pick their top 20 Atlantic and Gulf beaches.  Of these 20 nominations, 10Best readers voted online for their very favorites.

From the list of nominations, Ocracoke Island Beach ranked #3 and Cape Hatteras ranked #6. Not a bad showing for the Outer Banks of North Carolina!

Read more.

Checking In - Cape Hatteras Motel

Checking In

Probably nothing sets a positive tone for your vacation more than an easy, welcoming check-in process. There’s no question that your hosts bear a significant amount of that responsibility. But there are some important things you can do as the guest to make it all work out smoothly and efficiently.

1.       Please be sure you are checking in to the correct property. As strange as this may sound, it happens more than you might imagine. In many beach and resort areas properties have similar sounding names. Double check your confirmation letter. Print out a copy and have it with you so that if there’s a question about where you are staying, you will have the information right in front of you.

2.       Know when check-in time is and try to understand that sometimes a room can be ready for an early arrival and sometimes it can’t. Our check-in time is 3:00. At Cape Hatteras Motel we try to work with early arrivals as much as possible. If the room you are checking into was not rented the night before, then you usually can go right in. If it was rented, we can try to work with our housekeeping staff to push it up on the cleaning list.  In the busy season when we are constantly turning over a large number of rooms, it may not be possible to get you in until check-in time. However, you can always park in the lot, head to the beach, use the pool, or grab a bite to eat next door while you wait.

3.       Let us know, if you can, if you will be a late check-in (after business hours which vary from season to season). When you arrive you will find a packet on the office door with information on your room, directions to your room, and any other information you may need at that time. Your door will be unlocked and the keys will be inside your room. There will also be an emergency number if for some reason you have any problems. We ask that you come by the office as soon as possible the following morning to let us know you have arrived, and so that you can fill out the check-in forms.

4.       Please try to listen to any information provided by the desk clerk during the check-in process. While everyone is excited to get into their room and attention spans may wane after a long drive, often important information that is time-sensitive may be shared during check-in. Similarly take a moment when you get into your room to read the helpful information sheet provided. We have tried to anticipate most questions our guests have and provide you details which will make your stay even more enjoyable. If you have any questions about anything, don’t hesitate to come back and ask us.

5.       If there is anything wrong with your room, let us know right away. Some things are very easy fixes (i.e. something forgotten during housekeeping, a light bulb burns out, etc.) Other issues may require more attention. If you let us know right away we can make arrangements to get it fixed, we can assign you to another room, or make some other adjustment.  By you letting us know, not only can we make things right for you, but we can also insure that the room is right for future check-ins.

6.       Breathe deeply and let your hard-earned vacation begin!

Cape Hatteras Makes Dr Beach Top 10 For 2015

Dr. Beach issues his annual list on the basis of 50 criteria, including water and sand quality. He recently began including beach safety, environmental management and bonus points for no-smoking policies. This is the 25th anniversary for Dr. Beach, also known as coastal expert and Florida International University professor Stephen P. Leatherman.

Established in 1937, Cape Hatteras National Seashore was the very first National Seashore designated to preserve our precious barrier islands on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Home to quaint historic fishing villages and the nation’s tallest plus most famous lighthouse, Cape Hatteras made #5 on Dr. Beach’s list for 2015.

Read More at CNN Travel online.

2014 Cape Hatteras Wave Classic, September 20-26th

Real Kites, presents the Cape Hatteras Wave classis, an OPEN kitesurfing competition focused solely on kitesurfing in ocean waves.  Come stay with Cape Hatteras Motel and join in the fun at REAL watersports!  Starting this  Saturday, September 20th.

CNN Travel Article Says “Life is a beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore”

CNN Travel Article Says “Life is a beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore”

Preview 12 diversions that are really “Far out on the Outer Banks” and learn even more about the “hidden wonders” within Cape Hatteras National Seashore!

  1- Summer in the Park
  2- Sea Turtle Nesting
  3- Brown Pelicans
  4- Bodie Island Lighthouse
  5- Barrier Island Dunes
  6- Ocracoke Island Lighthouse
  7- Wildlife Habitat
  8- Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
  9- Pamlico Sound Sunsets
10- Ghost Crabs
11- Freshwater Marshlands
12- Ocracoke-Hatteras Ferry

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CNN Travel Article Recommends “Escape to the Outer Banks”

Learn about Cape Hatteras Lighthouse that is nearly 200ft tall and open to climb as well as the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras Village, plus a whole lot more!

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