Cape Point Campground (Cape Hatteras, NC)


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.

International Space Station passing over the Outer Banks

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.

Aliner and Star Trails.mp4

This is “Aliner and Star Trails.mp4” by Emmett Pate on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

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.

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