Morning on Hatteras Island: An Early Bird Guide

Activities for the early risers on vacation

The early bird catches the worm. It is a phrase often associated with early risers and productive people. Personally, I can live without the worm. I would rather tell myself: just five more minutes. On vacation that changes, I am motivated to make the most of my time. My favorite morning activities are either solo or in a small group. They give me time to clear my head before a long day.

Hatteras Island is full of worms, (metaphorical of course) each day there is something new to experience. So how will you spend your mornings on Hatteras Island?

morning on hatteras island at the buxton jetty
Jetty in Buxton at Old Lighthouse Beach

Hatteras Island Sunrises

Sunrise watching is one of the easiest and most fulfilling morning activities on the Outer Banks. Oceanfront homes are the best places to watch the sunrise. Wake up and look out your window for a breathtaking view. If you aren’t staying on the oceanfront, any beach will be just as lovely.

OBR Pro Tip: Try paddling out on a surfboard to admire the sun in its entirety.
morning surf on hatteras island
Surfing at Sunrise on a perfect wave

OBX Beaches

Speaking of water, surfing is another popular morning endeavor. The crowds are minimal, the air is crisp, the wind is calm, and the waves are clean. Ride some waves or pick up the sport during your stay.

Not the surfing type? Bring out your best rod and fishing hat. Catch your next island meal while your surfer friends catch waves.

morning stop at the orange blossom bakery in buxton
Orange Blossom Bakery in Buxton – Home of the famous Apple Ugly

Morning Fuel

Sometimes getting up for the beach is too much work. You have to have coffee and music to get your morning on Hatteras Island started. So where is the nearest coffee shop? Chances are, right around the corner! You can find a list at the bottom of this post or browse our favorite coffee shops, bakeries, and breakfast spots in our post, “6 Can’t Miss OBX Coffee Shops on Hatteras Island.

No doubt the family will be ready to leave as soon as you finish your coffee. Start your time together with breakfast, in your home or one of the many restaurants in the area.

morning run on the beach of hatteras island
Woman out for a morning run on the beach in Hatteras Island at sunrise


Put on your headphones and running shoes, and prepare for a journey through paradise. Let your mind free to reflect and let go of life’s stress. If you brought your pup on vacation, take them with you! The morning is the best time to take them out for exercise.

Get your morning started with our Guest and Staff picked playlists on Spotify!

egret flying overhead in the morning on hatteras island
Egret flying overhead

Nature Trails

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge has the most beautiful soundside trails and marshes on Hatteras Island. Pea Island is known for its wildlife conservation efforts and bird watching on Hatteras Island. Start at the visitor center and head out over the Pamlico wildlife trails for the best views of the sound and surrounding wildlife.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in the morning on Hatteras Island

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is fascinating in the soft morning sunlight. Capture the black and white lighthouse against the orange-red sunrise.

OBR Pro Tip: See our recent post “Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Fun Facts” before your next visit and be the most knowledgeable member on your next trip
A morning ride over to Ocracoke from Hatteras Island


Early starters, Ocracoke is the place for you. Take a day trip to the Island-town of Ocracoke on the Hatteras-Ocracoke car or passenger ferry. The journey there is just as memorable as the island itself. From there you see the whole magnificence of the barrier islands. Feel the breeze in your hair and the pounding of the ocean. Try and spot dolphins on the way!
Find breakfast or a beach and begin the next part of your day on Ocracoke visiting shops.

Sleeping-in on vacation sounds like a dream come true, but think of all the opportunities you’ll miss! Hatteras Island has all you need for fans of the sunrise, sand, and the sea. Seize the day and get the full Outer Banks vacation experience!

Go ahead, fly the coop and start your next Hatteras Island early-bird journey today!

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