Buxton NC Visitor Guide
There is so much to see and do in Buxton, NC, this visitor guide will help you plan your trip to this Outer Banks town. If you're looking for more information about this area of North Carolina, we've got it!
Buxton has plenty to offer visitors and residents alike with its history, dining options, and shopping opportunities. Explore our visitor guide for more information about this quaint town!
Best Things to do in Buxton, NC
Buxton is a beautiful place to visit, and there are many things you can do to make your time here more memorable. Whether it’s surfing, kiteboarding or simply relaxing on the beach, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite things to do. We hope that this list will spark ideas for your next trip!
Photo via Flickr @mickitakespictures
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Home to the tallest all-brick lighthouse in the United States, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a must-see attraction for any visitor to Buxton. This beautiful landmark stands at 208-feet-tall and has guided ships home since 1870! Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is open as a museum and visitors can climb to the top of the tower for breathtaking views and Instagram-worthy pictures.
Did you know Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was once moved? That's right, the tallest all-brick lighthouse in the United States was lifted and shifted in order to protect the iconic structure from the ensuing beach erosion!
Authorized in 1794 and completed in 1803, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was found to be not-so-efficient in helping to protect ships from the deadly Diamond Shoals that are known for devastating storm damage. Next to the historic Cape Hatters Lighthouse Double Keepers' Quarters is the Hatters Visitors Center and Museum of Sea with exhibits that tell the tale of the history and maritime life.
Old Lighthouse Beach
One the most popular and well-known beaches in Buxton. The stretch of sand was once the location of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse before it was moved in 1999. Unlike much of Hatteras Island, Old Lighthouse Beach is protected by a lifeguard from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Buxton Woods Preserve
Home to several coastal oaks that date back nearly 500 years along with a myriad of different wildlife including black bears, foxes, and even wild horses. More than 360 species of birds have been spotted in the 1,007-acre Buxton Woods Preserve. Visitors can choose from a number of trails to hike in the preserve! Visitors will also want to check out the Buxton Woods Campground & Cabins where they can spend time with family and friends at this unique camp area that features activities such as hiking, fishing, bird watching, and more. Visitors can hike the Cape Point Trail where they’ll be treated to stunning views of the ocean with colorful sunrises and sunsets as well as spectacular birdwatching opportunities.
Cape Point is a fisherman's dream within a dream! The area is a well-known surf fishing spot that’s a favorite among locals, and it's also a great place to observe migrating shorebirds. Cape Point protrudes into the Atlantic Ocean further than any other point on the Outer Banks, getting you as close to the fish as you can without leaving the shore.
Are you familiar with kiteboarding? It's a popular sport on the Outer Banks that involves strapping yourself to a board while a massive kite pulls you along the water. Buxton is home to a popular spot for kiteboarders called the Canadian Hole. The spot is named after a fellow kiteboarder who was lost at sea in 2005.
Did you know there is a British Cemetery in Buxton? In 1942 a British tanker full of airplane fuel was attacked and sunk with seven torpedo's deployed from a German U-boat. Two individuals from the crew washed ashore and are buried at the cemetery in Buxton. If you travel south along NC 12 and take a 45-minute ferry ride to Ocracoke you can find a much bigger British cemetery on the small island.
Where to eat in Buxton, NC
If you love seafood then you'll be in luck in Buxton, NC. Fresh seafood is brought in daily and there are several restaurants that serve local flavors such as fried oysters or steamed shrimp with hush puppies for the perfect meal any day of your vacation week. It's also not hard to find a great burger at one of these locations if you're looking for something different.
Orange Blossom Bakery produces famous "apple uglies", a cinnamon-laced deep-fried fritter with apples and oozing glaze is a trademark. Orange Blossom Bakery also makes special occasions cakes for the people who haven't yet caught a fish. The odd misshapen piece of fried dough is worth every minute you wait in the ugly line. The bakery is located in a converted motel. It serves pastries, organic coffee, and a delicious breakfast.
If you're looking for some good eats with an ocean view, head on over to the Boathouse Restaurant and Sushi Bar. It's located right on the docks of Hatteras Island and often features live music.
If you 're looking to grab a quick bite, you can also stop by the Surfside Store where they have hot dogs and other snacks.
Another popular restaurant in Buxton is the Village Restaurant. Locally-owned establishment has some great seafood dishes as well as other options on the menu.
One of the most popular places to eat for visitors traveling with pets is Oceanside Waterfront Bistro, located just outside Buxton's town center boundaries. They have an outdoor patio where your best friend can join you while you dine.
Angelo's Pizza in Buxton is another popular spot for visitors with dogs. This casual Italian eatery has great pizza and some pasta dishes that go over well too!
Shelly Island Buxton North Carolina
A large crescent-shaped island that was almost 1.6 miles long and almost 3 kilometers wide. The locals called it "Shelly Island" for the abundance of seashells that continually washed ashore.
There were quite literally thousands of new shells that would appear overnight on Shelly Island. Formed in 2016 and gone in early-2018, the island is a reminder that the Outer Banks are after all simply a narrow strip of barrier islands that are at the mercy of the shifting tides and rising ocean waters.
When to visit Buxton, NC
Photo via Flickr @charlesandmaggie
Most travelers venture to Buxton during the summer months, but if you are looking for a quieter time to visit the area, the winter months are also great. A bit of an off-season, there aren't as many people on vacation in Buxton during January and February so prices aren't inflated as they might be at other times of the year.
It's far less crowded at area attractions and businesses during the offseason, however, you should be mindful that not everything is open year-round.
Where to Stay in Buxton, NC
Buxton boasts two renowned bed and breakfast properties including a nationally recognized and acclaimed B&B sound front The Inn on Pamlico Sound.
The Buxton Woods Campground & Cabins is a great place for families or friends that want an outdoor vacation filled with activities such as hiking, bird watching. The campground run by the United States Parks Service and is within walking distance of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the access ramp to Cape Point hidden behind a line of sand dunes.
There are a variety of vacation rental homes to choose from in Buxton from several reputable companies that have been serving area visitors and homeowners for decades. From three bedroom cottages to large oceanfront estates, there is a rental for every budget and taste.
Midgett Realty has a selection of homes that are mostly within walking distance of the Atlantic Ocean. These rentals can accommodate large groups and families comfortably, yet still afford owners an opportunity to make a little extra income by renting out part or all of their homes during the less busy seasons.
Outer Beaches Realty is another great choice for vacationers searching for a rental property in Buxton. This company operates several full-service rental offices, all equipped with the latest in computerized property management systems that help owners manage their rentals easily and efficiently.
Founded in 1978, Surf or Sound Realty offers both luxury homes and more economical options to accommodate different budgets during all seasons of the year.
Sun Realty manages a portfolio of about a thousand vacation rental homes stretching from Corolla to Hatteras Island. Their selection of homes in Buxton consists of everything from oceanfront properties to homes located in the heart of the shopping areas and marinas.
If you prefer shorter stays, you'll be pleased to learn that Buxton has luxurious inns and affordable motels for any length of time. The closest inns are located in the heart of Buxton that are in close proximity to the beach as well as restaurants and shopping.
Weather in Buxton, NC
Photo via Flicker @smoovey
Buxton is no stranger to hurricanes and tropical storms, so if you are going to visit this area between June and November it is a good idea to check the forecast before making your trip. Temperatures average in the high 70's during summer months, but humidity can be very intense at times. The least amount of precipitation occurs within January and February with only an occasional day where there may be a chance of rain.
History of Buxton, NC
Buxton is rich in maritime history. The town was established in the late-1700's when a man named George Rufus developed a fishing community. By 1901, Buxton had become a thriving area with a post office and schoolhouse. Today you can still visit some of the old buildings that were built during this time period.
How Buxton, NC Got Its Name
There is a lot of speculation on how the town got its name. Some say it was named after Sir Buxton while others think that there was once a family by the same name who lived in an area called Buxton, England.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you drive on the beach in Buxton, NC?
Buxton NC is one of the primarily commercial fishing areas accessible only to off road vehicles. Driving is permitted in many places around Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Some areas of the beach are closed to driving completely or during the birds' feeding and sea turtle nesting seasons. You need a permit before getting a 4WD to the beach. You will not believe how many people actually get shackled in their old cars. Even 4WDs are having trouble with deeper beaches in Buxton. Please look around for information related to navigating in non-traditional vehicles.
Are there lifeguards on Buxton, NC beaches?
Buxton beaches at Hatteras Lighthouse are manned from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The ocean is often rough - it's good to have a trained guard to watch. If you have lots of children with you and you're not a powerful swimmer it will be a good idea for you to head out to this beach to go swimming. The beach is open from 7:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Are there alligators in Buxton, NC?
Even though Buxton is home to an expansive and well-protected nature preserve, there are rarely any alligators spotted in the area. However, if you are taking a boat ride or kayak tour through the nature reserve it is important to be aware of your surroundings in order to avoid an unfortunate accident with one of these large reptiles.
Is Buxton, NC a good place to live?
Yes, absolutely! Buxton is a wonderful place to live and the community has been growing rapidly over recent years. Buxton offers many activities such as fishing, hiking, boating and more! Anyone who loves spending time outside will enjoy living in this beautiful coastal town that also provides plenty of entertainment for those looking for something fun to do indoors on rainy days.
Are there any webcams in Buxton, NC to view?
There are several webcams in Buxton that will allow you to view the amazing nature and beauty of this coastal town.