Discover the Best Museums on Hatteras Island

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Discover the Best Museums on Hatteras Island

Located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Hatteras Island is literally a gold mine for history enthusiasts. From the past of exploration, shipwrecks, to its mighty maritime heritage, this island is laden with rich tales. The best museums on Hatteras Island that you and your group can explore for its history are as follows:

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

Anyone with an affinity for maritime history has to visit the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. This museum in Hatteras Village showcases many treacherous waters in which hundreds of ships were lost over the course of centuries. Exhibits include shipwreck artifacts such as cannons, anchors, and sundry personal sailors' articles. The museum also commemorates the legendary pirate Blackbeard with displays related to him. He met his final rest near Ocracoke Island, just south of Hatteras. Its employees have access to the maritime stories of the island and are enthusiastic in spreading the tales, thus it is an educational and amusing experience.

Frisco Native American Museum

The Frisco Native American Museum portrays the ways and lifestyles of the earliest inhabitants of the island. After gaining knowledge of the shipping history one can proceed to this museum in Frisco to understand the lives and traditions of the tribe of Native Americans, which resided in the island before the coming of the European colonizers. It exhibits old tools, pottery, and art. There are close-by nature trails around the site of traditional craft and old tales. Nature trails offer a quiet reflective place in the rich history of the area.

Bodie & Cape Hatteras Lighthouses and Museums

Bodie Lighthouse

The island's most signature site is Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, with Bodie Lighthouse located just on the other side of Oregon Inlet. This lighthouse has guided sailors safely for over a century. Inside the same compound, visitors have the opportunity to explore the construction and operation of the adjacent museum. At the same time, these exhibits also display the hardship life of the lighthouse keepers and the technological changes in the area of maritime navigation. Climbing up to the top of the lighthouse offers a breathtaking view of the island and the Atlantic Ocean, making it a memorable experience for all visitors.

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site & Museum

History lovers will also find the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station in Rodanthe an interesting place to visit. This was one of the original stations developed along the coast to save sailors and ships that foundered in the surf. Exhibits center around actual restored buildings, documents, and lifesaving apparatuses used by surfmen in hair-raising rescues. Displays also tell the harrowing stories of the men who risked their lives to save others. Demonstrations and reenactments that happen throughout the year bring these stories to life as visitors admire the courage and dedication of the life-savers.


Hatteras Island is a place not to be missed by any history buff. The museums here are diversified and rich in insight toward the past on this island, from shipwrecks and pirates to Native American culture and lighthouse history. Because each museum looks at its exhibits from a different perspective, visitors always leave with a better appreciation for the heritage of the island. Whether you are an enthusiastic historian or simply curious about the past, these museums will make your trip to this beautiful island special.