More developed than the Tri-Villages, heading south on NC12 will lead you to Avon, the next of Hatteras Island’s villages clustered around the Cape, where the Outer Banks take a turn to the west and where Cape Hatteras Lighthouse guards the coast. From here you can’t see the Lighthouse, but you can see other Hatteras Island landmarks like the Avon Fishing Pier, a water tower that reads “Kinnakeet,” and the island’s biggest grocery store.
Kinnakeet, the former name of Avon, is an Algonquin word that means “that which is mixed.” The “mixing” was the intermingling of Native Tribes and English settlers here, an important mark in the settling of the Outer Banks and the colony of North Carolina. The name was made official in 1873 with the opening of the Kinnakeet Post Office, though in 1883 the name was changed to Avon. Still, locals are proud of their history and heritage and Kinnakeet is still in use today, unofficially.
Like neighboring villages, Avon relied on the waters of the ocean and Sound for a way of life, but rather than fishing, boatbuilding was the main industry. Around Avon, Hatteras Island grows a little fatter and forests of cedar and live oak trees appear. These trees were key in boatbuilding from the Colonial days to the decades after the Civil War. Avon was the economic heart of the island until Hatteras Inlet opened easy access to the Pamlico Sound and Atlantic Ocean, and Hatteras Village began to rise in importance.
Avon has roots in an early boat-building industry tied to cedar trees, and with the introduction of modern materials and techniques, the village still acts as a sort of anchored center for Hatteras Island in terms of geography and amenities. You get a nice mix of casual beach grub, seafood restaurants and some land-loving options in the dozen or so local eateries. There is also a hardware store, several tackle shops, and retail stores selling souvenirs and beach gear. If you’re staying on Hatteras, expect to find yourself in Avon for groceries, lunch and dinner, supply runs and shopping.
The Avon Fishing Pier – one of two wooden fishing piers on Hatteras Island – sees tens of thousands of anglers and sightseers from spring late into fall. Surfers frequent the breaks here and the beach strand is a spacious summertime playground.
Visitors to Avon will find rental homes in standalone neighborhoods and intermixed with full-time residents. There’s also Koru Village, a collection of villas and rental homes (that come with access to the Koru facilities), a beach club and pool, restaurants, a spa, and a raft of activities for kids and adults. There are plenty of restaurants in Avon ranging from fine dining to food trucks, all but guaranteeing that wherever you stay on Hatteras Island, you’ll find yourself here for a meal or two.