September visits to Cape Hatteras National Seashore nearly doubled over last year

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick beacon in the nation. [Sam Walker photo]

Cape Hatteras National Seashore experienced a 42% increase in recreational visits last month compared to September 2019. The 345,249 visits amounted to the second-highest level of September visitation since the establishment of the Seashore in 1953.

Top 5 highest September recreational visits by year:
2002: 466,686
2020: 345,249
2000: 334,909
1997: 300,377
2015: 298,610

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Wright Brothers National Memorial also experienced bumps in visitation, bringing September visitation closer to average September levels.

“These data demonstrate that public lands on the Outer Banks are among our nation’s greatest treasures,” stated David Hallac, Superintendent, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina. “We are proud of our ability to work as a team with our partners in Dare and Hyde Counties to provide exceptional experiences.”

Visitors should continue to practice the Three W’s – Wear a cloth face covering when social distancing cannot be maintained. Wait six feet apart in line. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Seashore visitation estimates are collected by counting southbound vehicles just north of the Marc Basnight Bridge and using a multiplier to estimate the total number of passengers heading south. Those estimates are added to the number of passengers going to Ocracoke Island from Cedar Island and Swan Quarter.