Take some time to get away this summer. Enjoy time with loved ones surrounded by plenty of sand, sun, water, and fun. North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and especially Cape Hatteras, have something for everyone. There are plenty of things to see and do while you’re here, including budget-friendly ones, that are fun for the whole family. Consider these fun activities to plan a cheap Outer Banks vacation.

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An island escape means time on the beach. The warm weather and water mean you can spend a little extra time out in the sun on your beach days. Lay out and sunbathe, get some exercise, watch the kids play on the sand, or splash around in the ocean for a swim. Make sure to pack plenty of sun protection, beach snacks, and all the other gear you’ll need for a fun day on the sand or water. Some beaches may have parking fees, or access fees for piers, but they are nominal and won’t break the budget.

Escape Hatteras

The activity has been growing in popularity, and you’ll want to add it to your Cape Hatteras To Do List. Located in Frisco, you can challenge yourself to stories like “The Crazy Keeper,” “The Spanish Flu,” and more. Each room is rated by difficulty and an ideal group is 2-6 participants. While they are open during the off-season, hours may vary. Advanced reservations need to be made online. The best part? The experience is less than $40 per group.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

The iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse officially opens for the season on the third Friday in April. It’s a great way to step inside and beat the heat. The majestic black and white structure towers over and protects one of the most hazardous sections of the whole Atlantic Coast.

The lighthouse is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Unfortunately, the popular stair climb of the 248-stair iron spiral staircase will not be available due to restoration efforts. You can still stop by to see renovations so far, including brick dating back to 1873 revealed by recently stripped paint. The Museum of the Sea and Park Store will be open, too. If you want to “experience” the climb, there is a virtual tour and live webcam available for viewing through the National Park Service website for the lighthouse.

Hatteras Island Ocean Center

The center stretches across Bodie, Hatteras, and Ocracoke Islands, Down East, and the Pamlico Sound and is part of the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway. It’s a must-do for nature lovers of all ages and is within walking distance of central Hatteras Village.

Explore on a kayak nature tour, go on “Turtle Patrol” and learn about the area’s sea turtles and see active nests, or learn about birding in the barrier islands. The center’s full schedule of programs is available during the summer months. Activity fees are as low as $10/person to $40/person, and some programs are free!

Hatteras Weather Bureau Station

There’s another historic building to include in your ‘beat the heat’ itinerary aside from the lighthouse. The wood-frame building was built in 1901 and served as a weather station from 1902 to 1946. During that time, it provided data on conditions in the Atlantic Ocean from a fixed location farther into the ocean environment than any other on the Atlantic Coast.

Once it was decommissioned as a weather station, it became living quarters for Weather Bureau personnel, and has since been used as a research station by the many universities in North Carolina studying marine invertebrates and other species.

Water Activities

In addition to the many beach activities that attracted you to Cape Hatteras, there are water activities to experience while you’re here, too. Paddle your way through calmer waters on a stand up paddleboard, kayak, or canoe through the pristine marshes and wildlife sanctuary of the area. Prices vary depending on the rental company or activity provider. You can just take a dip, too.


For the anglers of the group, there are plenty of places and ways to drop a line and try their luck during spring break. Charter a boat, stick to shore, or head to the Avon Fishing Pier to see what’s biting. The pier is open 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. and wanders 665 feet out into the Atlantic – fishing off the end will no doubt net some interesting catches that you won’t find if you stay closer to shore. Fishing passes are $8-12 a day per person, depending on age. Sightseeing is just $1/person.

Another great spot is Rodanthe Pier, where you’ll cast a line in search of sea mullet, spot, bluefish, trout, and many others. The pier is open daily 6 a.m. – 12 a.m. Daily fishing passes range from $10-15, and sightseeing is just $2/day.

An Island Retreat on a Budget

While planning all the budget-friendly fun activities and adventures for your Cape Hatteras getaway, make booking comfortable and affordable accommodations a priority and book a vacation rental with Lighthouse View Oceanfront Lodging.

Prepare and serve delicious home-cooked meals in the fully equipped kitchen. Spread out in an open living space or soak up the sun and sea air on a private patio or balcony.

We have accommodations as small as one-bedroom, all the way up to a six-bedroom single-family home so you and all your loved ones can enjoy an island adventure.

Contact us today!