Life can get busy, so it’s important to take time out to cherish simple pleasures. Treasured family vacations. Favorite traditions. Conversations that linger. Giggles galore. Whether it’s playing in the waves, savoring our coastal cuisine, exploring our maritime forests, or just soaking up the sun, it’s the experiences that bring us together and keep us coming back to the Outer Banks. It’s the little moments that make life big.
The occasional summer squall can be the perfect excuse to explore the innumerable attractions, shops and restaurants that Hatteras Island has to offer. These Hatteras Island Rainy Day Activities will keep everyone in your vacationing party entertained until the sun starts shining again.
Hatteras Island Historic Sites and Museums
Hatteras Island is steeped in history, and these sites, which are found all along the Hatteras Island shoreline are engaging as well as educational.
Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station - This historic site features two original lifesaving stations, one from 1874 and one from 1910, as well as five authentic outbuildings. The newer of the two stations serves as the site's museum, and features a wealth of exhibits that honor the station's generations of award-winning and nationally recognized crew members. There's also a gift shop on site that's chock full of local books, art, and Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station souvenirs.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse - The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse complex features several original lighthouse keepers' quarters and historic residences, which are home to the lighthouse's charming museum and neighboring bookstore / gift shop. The lighthouse remains seasonally open for climbers when there's a light rain, but does close for imminent thunderstorms in the area.
Frisco Native American Museum - This sprawling museum features a wealth of exhibits that showcase the rich history of local, regional, and even national Native American tribes. There's also a network of nature trails on site, as well as an extensive gift shop with authentic artwork and local books. The Frisco Native American Museum is open year-round, and hosts regular special events and educational programs.
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum - This museum is located at the southern edge of Hatteras Village and is unmistakable for its distinctive ship-like appearance. Free for all visitors, (although donations are encouraged), the museum is home to a wealth of exhibits that have been plucked from the Diamond Shoals' centuries of Outer Banks shipwrecks. The museum also hosts regular educational programs, including guest lecturers, demonstrations, and even craft classes or seminars.
Other Hatteras Island Area Activities
Sign up for a spa treatment, or treat the family to an afternoon of shopping or crafting. No matter where you go, there's plenty of fun activities to do on Hatteras Island to happily pass away a rainy day.
Spa Days - Visitors in dire need of a relaxing massage can head to Spa Koru in Avon, which also features a top-rated beauty salon and a fitness center, or the In Touch Massage and Wellness Center in Frisco, which offers clients a variety of specialized treatments.
Local Arcades and Game Rooms - Spend an afternoon enjoying a few arcade games at local establishments like Frisco Mini Golf and Go Karts and Angelo's Pizza in Buxton, or head over to the Lighthouse Sports Tavern (also in Buxton) to challenge your friends to a game of pool or darts.
Paint-Your-Own Pottery - Spend an afternoon creating your own masterpiece at Studio 12 in Avon, a popular paint-your-own pottery shop that features plenty of pieces to paint, as well as special painting and mosaic tile classes in the summer season.
Beading and Coffee - Avon is home to several beading shops where patrons can grab a hot brew and settle in to create a necklace or bracelet from a selection of thousands of beads. There are also plenty of coffee shops on the island, like Dancing Turtle in Hatteras Village, which features a selection of books and board games for lingering patrons.
Beach Reads - Stop by Buxton Village Books to pick out a new or used beach read. This beloved book store also features a wide selection of children's books, best sellers, and local authors. Visitors can also head south to the Hatteras Library, which features regular book sales and story-time hours for children.
Happy Hour - Many of the restaurants on Hatteras Island that are open for both lunch and dinner feature special Happy Hour deals on brews and seafood, like steamed shrimp and crab legs. Stop by between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to take advantage of the fresh fare and fantastic prices.
Art Galleries - There are more than a dozen art galleries on Hatteras Island, which are scattered from Rodanthe all the way to Hatteras Village. Spend an afternoon touring the island's galleries, and admiring the local and regional artwork that's inspired by the gorgeous Outer Banks environment.
Shopping - There are plenty of surf shops, boutiques, gift stores, and beach stores on Hatteras Island, which are found in virtually every village. Head to the Hatteras Landing Shopping Center next to the ferry docks in Hatteras Village or the Pamlico Station Shopping Center in Rodanthe to sample a wide variety of beach shops in one convenient locale.
Day Trip - A rainy day is the perfect excuse to take the 30 minute -1 hour trip up the beach to visit the array of central Outer Banks attractions. Stop by the North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo, Jennette's Pier in Nags Head, or even the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. All of these popular Outer Banks sites are within a relatively easy drive of every Hatteras Island village.