Cape Hatteras National Seashore sets new record for visitation to start 2021

Cape Hatteras National Seashore entrance at Whalebone Junction.

If the first four months of 2021 are any indication, its going to be a banner year for visitation at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

From January through April, the first national seashore in the United States hosted 588,904 visits. That’s the highest level of visitation through the first four months of any year it its 68 year history.

There were 254,366 visits recorded in April alone. That follows a busy winter, with new all-time records for January (86,991) and February (78,269) and March (169,278).

The January through April period of this year broke the previous mark set in 1998 by almost 74,000 visitors, according to Cape Hatteras Natioanl Seashore spokesperson Michael Barber.

Despite almost two months of pandemic-related restricted access to Dare and Hyde counties in 2020, the seashore still experienced 2,645,477 visits, the highest number in 17 years and a 1.49% increase over 2019.

Lifeguards return to the Seashore’s four lifeguarded beaches this Saturday, May 29. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, lifeguards are on duty from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Coquina Beach Access, Old Lighthouse Beach Access, Frisco Beach Access and Ocracoke Beach Access.

And the National Park Service’s expanded ranger-led educational programs and activities also begin on Saturday at various locations throughout the Seashore. More information can be found at and the new National Park Service app.

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Sam Walker was news director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, Big 94.5 WCMS and Z 92.3 from August 2011 to March 2022.