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Cape Hatteras

Cape on the shoreline of Hatteras Island, North Carolina, United States / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Cape Hatteras /ˈhætərəs/ is a cape located at a pronounced bend in Hatteras Island, one of the barrier islands of North Carolina.

Quick facts: Cape Hatteras, Location...
Cape Hatteras
An aerial view of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse prior to its 1999 relocation
An aerial view of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse prior to its 1999 relocation
Coordinates: 35°13′21″N 75°31′48″W
LocationHatteras Island, Dare County, North Carolina, United States
Cape Hatteras from space, October 1989. Image orientated with North to the left and East pointing up.

Long stretches of beach, sand dunes, marshes, and maritime forests create a unique environment where wind and waves shape the topography. A large area of the Outer Banks is part of a National Park, called the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It is also the nearest landmass on the North American mainland to Bermuda, which is about 563 nautical miles (648 mi; 1,043 km) to the east-southeast.

The treacherous waters off the coast of the Outer Banks are known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Over 600 ships wrecked here as victims of shallow shoals, storms, and war. Diamond Shoals, a bank of shifting sand ridges hidden beneath the turbulent sea off Cape Hatteras, has never promised safe passage for ships. In the past 400 years, the graveyard has claimed many lives, but island villagers saved many. As early as the 1870s, villagers served in the United States Life-Saving Service. Others staffed lighthouses built to guide mariners. Few ships wreck today, but storms still uncover the ruins of the old wrecks that lie along the beaches of the Outer Banks.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore protects parts of three barrier islands: Bodie Island, Hatteras Island, and Ocracoke Island. Beach and sound access ramps, campgrounds, nature trails, and lighthouses can be found and explored on all three islands.[1]

The community of Buxton lies on the inland side of the Cape itself, at the widest part of Hatteras Island. It is the largest community on the island, and is home to the governmental offices and schools for the island.