Buxton, NC

Look for the lighthouse

The Village of Buxton is located just off Cape Hatteras, and in fact, used to be called simply "The Cape." It is home to the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, America's tallest brick lighthouse at 208-feet. The National Park Service opens the lighthouse for climbing every spring, and closes it during the winter, though the grounds and museum are accessible year round.

Buxton is home to a nationally popular surf fishing spot known as Cape Point. It is a large sweeping sand bar that stretches farther out into the Atlantic that any other point on the Outer Banks, getting you close to the fish. There is camping available at Buxton as well, and many people enjoy the elementally exposed experience of sleeping under the stars with the gentle pounding of the surf.

Buxton Woods is a large expanse of natural maritime forest that dominates this portion of Hatteras Island. Many white-tail deer call this protected area home, and it is not uncommon to see them in broad daylight while visiting the lighthouse grounds.

The area off Cape Hatteras is referred to as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, because so many ships ran aground along the underwater North Carolina sandbars that constantly shift. At least 3000 shipwrecks line the coast of the Outer Banks between Duck and Hatteras Village, and following strong tides, you may see pieces exposed in the shallow surf, or washed ashore on the dune line.

Buxton has all kinds of accommodations from luxurious inns to affordable motels, and there is plenty to choose from when deciding where to eat. Just north of Buxton is an area along the western edge of Highway 12 known as Canadian Hole, after the area's popularity with visitors from the north. When the lakes of Canada and the northern United States are still frozen in the late winter and early spring, athletes who enjoy kiteboarding and windsurfing flock to the area for some great watersports adventure. It's a hotspot all year round.