After a few outings on the touring bike, it was time to break out the Aliner and hit the road for a few nights. Originally scheduled for September 29th, Hurricane Ian had other plans so I kept a eye on the weather and, as it turned out, could not have asked for better conditions the following weekend.
Of the 4 National Park Service campgrounds on the Outer Banks, Cape Point was the only one I’d never camped at. The NPS campground at Frisco (only about 2 miles west as the crow flies) is one of my favorites as it has a bit of contour and some of the sites actually have enough elevation to see the ocean over the dunes – a somewhat unusual feature on the Outer Banks. Cape Point, however, is flat as a pool table and makes it a bit more prone to standing water after prolonged rain. This limits the reservation window to only 2 weeks which keeps folks from booking months in advance only to show up and find their site under 6 inches of water. This also means it’s much more likely to be able to get a site on short notice – a nice benefit given the post-pandemic popularity of camping.
Like other NPS campgrounds, Cape Point has a really cool vibe compared to the more popular RV resorts. I always enjoy strolling through the campground checking out the variety of rigs. From the smallest tent to the most elegant Class A motor coach and everything in between – you’ll see it all.
Not knowing what time I’d be able to arrive, I planned for a simple dinner of shrimp and grits. I’m not a particularly huge fan of shrimp and grits and rarely order them in a restaurant – but damn they were good! There’s something about food prepared while camping that just makes everything better. The night culminated with a nice walk out to the beach along with a sighting of the International Space Station passing over the Outer Banks.
Friday began with a little wandering on the bike including a stop a the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Center and Museum. I’m a huge fan of lighthouses so it doesn’t matter how many times I’m here, I rarely pass up an opportunity to drop by. This evening included a pass by both the ISS and the Chinese Space Station (Tiangong). Dinner was my simple version of Jambalaya (red and green peppers, diced shallottes, celery, rice, a half pound of shrimp, and a variety of spices including garlic and Old Bay). What a way to end the day!
Saturday morning brought another beautiful day albeit a bit cooler and windy. I decided to check out a somewhat “off the beaten track” trail that led over to the Salt Pond – a small body of water situated within the Cape Hatteras bight. From there I headed over to the point, up the beach, and cut over to the beach road back to the campground. A nice 2.6 mile trek. The map shown below is a perfect example of how quickly a barrier island can shift. Contrary to the track shown below, I did not walk on water.
I’ll definitely put Cape Point on my rotation of Outer Banks destinations. With it’s limited reservation window, it’s much more accessible for those spontaneous getaways.