Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Wright Brothers National Memorial are all hosting a wealth of programs during the week of the Fourth of July holiday.
Before heading out, park officials want to remind visitors to be safe if going for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean. Daily rip current forecasts are listed on the Cape Hatteras Facebook and Twitter accounts.
According to the release from National Parks of Eastern North Carolina, the safest places to swim on the national seashore are at the three lifeguard beaches:
- Ocracoke Day Use Beach, 1.5 miles south of the National Park Service campground on Ocracoke.
- Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Beach, adjacent to the Old Cape Hatteras Lighthouse site at Hatteras.
- Coquina Beach, located across from the Bodie Island Lighthouse site at Bodie Island.
The seashore, in addition to the many free programs being hosted, offers a variety of activity options, including beach recreation, off-road vehicle use, fishing, lighthouse climbing, camping, hiking, kayaking, watersports and wildlife viewing.
Visitors can also catch this year’s Fourth of July firework shows on Ocracoke at 9:15 p.m. July 3 from Silver Lake Harbor and at 9:15 p.m. July 4 at Avon Fishing Pier, which will host a fireworks display.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore includes 67 miles of ocean-facing beaches, sound-side recreational areas, three visitor centers and three lighthouses found on Ocracoke, Hatteras and Bodie islands. More details on programs with a park ranger at Cape Hatteras are available on the park calendar.
Ocracoke Island Schedule
- The base of the Ocracoke Lighthouse will be open for viewing 1:45-3:45 p.m. July 1 and 9:30 a.m. to noon July 7. Visitors are encouraged to walk or bike to the lighthouse due to very limited parking.
- Crabbing with a Ranger: 8:30-10 a.m. July 2 and July 4. Register in person at the Ocracoke Visitor Center starting June 30.
- Pirates!: 1-1:30 p.m. July 2 and 2:30-3 p.m. July 4. Learn about Blackbeard and others. Meet at the Ocracoke Visitor Center Amphitheater.
- Barrier Island Nature: 3-3:30 p.m. July 2 and 2:30-3 p.m. July 5. Hear about the wild side of the park. Meet at the Ocracoke Visitor Center Amphitheater.
- Ocracoke After Dark: 8:30-9:30 p.m. July 2. Bring blankets, chairs and bug spray for an evening of stargazing on the beach. Meet at the Ocracoke Day Use Beach.
- Cast Netting: 8:30-10 a.m. July 3. Cast netting is one of the oldest forms of fishing. Pre-register in person at the Ocracoke Visitor Center starting June 30.
- Ocracoke History: 2:30-3 p.m. July 3. Learn about the island’s past. Meet at the Ocracoke Visitor Center Amphitheater.
- All About Sea Turtles: 10:30-11 a.m. July 4 and 2:30-3 p.m. July 6. Activities especially for kids. Meet at the Ocracoke Visitor Center Amphitheater.
- Banker Ponies: 10:30-11 a.m. July 5. The Banker Ponies are an Ocracoke must-see. Bring bug spray. Not recommended for those allergic to horses. Meet at the Ocracoke Pony Pens.
- Outer Banks Bird Walk: 8:30-10 a.m. July 6. Meet winged residents and those traveling the Atlantic Flyway. Bring bug spray. Meet at the ferry parking lot at the north end of the island.
Hatteras Island Schedule
- Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Climbing: Tickets sold from 9 a.m. to 4:25 p.m. daily.
- Barrier Island Dynamics: 10:30 to 11 a.m. daily. How do people, plants and wildlife adapt to barrier island geologic change? Meet at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion.
- Cape Hatteras Light Station Talk: 3:30-4 p.m. daily. Discuss the details and history of this sentinel. Meet at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion.
- Hurricane Alley: 11:30 a.m.-noon June 30, July 1, July 2 and July 7. Learn how powerful storms shaped the Outer Banks. Meet at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion.
- Fish With a Ranger: 8-9:30 a.m. July 2 in Buxton. Bring the bait, poles are available. Pre-register at the Hatteras Island Museum or call 252-475-9622 beginning June 30.
- All About Turtles: 11:30 a.m.-noon July 3, July 4, July 5 and July 6. Meet at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion for the activity-based program on the life and times of the endangered sea turtle.
- Morning Bird Walk: 8-9:30 a.m. July 3. Explore the beach and salt marsh bird habitats. Binoculars are available. Bring bug spray and sunscreen. Meet at the fish cleaning tables near off-road vehicle ramp 44.
- War on Hatteras: 2:30-3 p.m. July 3-5. Learn about the three wars that impacted the island. Meet at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion.
- Night Sky Over Hatteras: 9-10 p.m. July 3. Bring blankets, chairs and bug spray for this evening of stargazing on the beach. Meet at off-road vehicle ramp 43 parking lot.
- Cast Netting: 9:30-11 a.m. July 4. Casting a net from shore is one of the oldest methods of fishing. Pre-register in person at the Hatteras Island Museum starting June 30.
- Dark Skies and Stars: from 9-10 p.m. July 4. Bring blankets, chairs and telescopes for this evening of night sky viewing on the beach, including some distant fireworks. Meet at off-road vehicle ramp 25 parking lot with bug spray.
- Fish with a Ranger): 8:30-10 a.m. July 5 in Rodanthe. Bring the bait, poles are available. Pre-register in person at the Hatteras Island Museum or call 252-475-9622 beginning June 30.
- Soundside Seining: 8:30-10 a.m. July 6. Discover the wildlife of the Pamlico Sound using seining nets. Secure water shoes are required, no flip-flops. Wear clothing you can get wet. Meet at the Sandy Bay soundside parking lot.
Bodie Island Schedule
Bodie Island Lighthouse Climbing: Tickets sold from 9 a.m. to 4:25 p.m. daily.
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site preserves and interprets the site of the first English Colony in the New World, is the site of the theatrical production, The Lost Colony, and interprets historical events of the Native Americans, European Americans, and African-Americans who lived on Roanoke Island. Programs with a Park Ranger details are available on the Park Calendar.
- The Lost Colony: 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. daily. Delve into the history and mystery surrounding England’s first attempt to establish a colony in the new world. Meet at the seating area near the reconstructed earthen fort. Following the morning and 2 p.m. programs from July 3-5, join costumed cast members from The Lost Colony for a backstage tour of the Waterside Theatre.
- Coat of Arms: 1-1:30 p.m. July 3-5. John White and the Roanoke Colony had their own unique coat of arms. Learn about coats of arms and create your own during this program for kids at the reconstructed earthen fort. Immediately following the program, join costumed cast members from The Lost Colony for a backstage tour of the Waterside Theatre.
- Freedmen’s Colony: 3-3:30 p.m. July 3-5. During the American Civil War, Roanoke Island became a safe haven for formerly enslaved people. Discover the successes and failures of the Freedmen’s Colony and its fate after the Civil War. Meet at the seating area near the reconstructed earthen fort.
Wright Brothers National Memorial commemorates the first successful power driven airplane flight made by Wilbur and Orville Wright Dec. 17, 1903. Programs with a Park Ranger details area available on the park calendar.
- The Wright Legacy: 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily. Discover what inspired the Wrights to defy impossibility in their pursuit of flight, what pushed them to keep going, and how they are remembered in the world today. Meet at the white tent near temporary visitor center.
- Wind & Sand: 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. Step back in history during this short walk to the site of the Wright brothers’ first powered flights. Learn about the events that lead to the first powered flight on that cold December day. Meet at the Camp Buildings.
- Wright Kite: 9:30-11:30 a.m. July 3-5. Use kites to test the winds of Kitty Hawk just like Wilbur and Orville. Bring one or fly one of the park’s. Recommended for 6 and older, children must be accompanied by an adult.