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Endless Groundswell: The Best Surf on Hatteras Island

The secret is out. North Carolina’s paradisiacal Hatteras Island is home to some of the cleanest waves on the East Coast, mainly a seven-mile stretch of sand between Avon and the picturesque Cape Hatteras Light Station. Surfers of all ages and skill levels can conquer these waves, depending on the tides. Wholly understanding the Atlantic Ocean’s tides is your group’s best bet to find a party wave. The only thing more exhilarating than dropping into a fierce wave is knowing that your luxurious, oceanfront Hatteras Island vacation rental awaits your return.

A Cape Hatteras Surf Guide

While the team here at Shore Details doesn’t pretend to know everything about the world of surfing, several members of our team have spent ample time carving through the eastern shoreline. And we also have a strong relationship with the guys and gals at the Natural Art Surf Shop, your one-stop shop for everything wave-related, particularly if you need a board, gear, or a Hatteras Island surf report. Before charging ahead into the three most popular surf locations in North Carolina, let’s take a moment to reflect on the island’s coastal beauty. Much of this land is preserved, so wildlife continues to thrive. There’s also less square mileage than most nearby beach destinations, meaning fewer tourists and more space for surfing. And the “dawn patrol” won’t find a more heartwarming place to welcome a glorious sunrise.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is home to three distinct surfing locales, namely the acreage near the first old lighthouse jetty. There’s a small parking lot within steps of the beach with plenty of spaces. Surfers, bodyboarders, and sunbathers alike frequent this semi-blustery haven. During high tide, waves often reach approximately five feet. Observing the lineup of surfers sitting patiently in the takeoff zone is always a sight to behold.


Hatteras Island has approximately 50 miles of pristine, sandy coastline. Thus, there’s truly no limit to the number of surf spots in the area. However, you’ll often witness droves of beachgoers gathering near the first turn out in Buxton. Please keep in mind that this area is mostly residential, so parking is limited. Simply find an open spot, and follow the people (or the sounds of the sea).

Avon Pier

Similarly-sized waves form at Avon Pier, about six miles north of Buxton. Because this popular fishing pier is within steps of Highway 12, it sees a lot of foot traffic. But the atmosphere is second to none. There’s just something uplifting about a beach that’s buzzing with energy from surfers, bodyboarders, anglers, and families of sunbathers. Avon Pier is also close to a few restaurants, which is an added perk.

Vacation Rentals in Buxton, Hatteras, and Frisco

The perfect place to start and finish each day of fishing, surfing, and bicycling is inside one of Shore Details’ finest Hatteras vacation rentals, such as the pet-friendly Dolphin’s Reach or Ocean Dream (as pictured). Luckily travelers will instantly fall in love with the island’s nautical charm and natural beauty, which blends flawlessly with many of our on-site amenities, such as private pools, instant beach access, covered decks, and complimentary bicycles. To learn more about our North Carolinian slice of paradise, please visit ShoreDetails.com. Whether you’re hoping to rent a secluded Hatteras beach house or a three-story home in the heart of Avon, you’ll quickly find a rental that suits your group’s size, style, and budget. We hope that you’re as amped as we are for fall—“the best time for surfing” on Hatteras Island!