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Old 02-15-2009, 06:05 AM
 
492 posts, read 1,947,288 times
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Hey there --

We're thinking of running over to the OBX from the Triangle next weekend, having not yet explored there.

Are any public campgrounds open? We're pretty basic car-camping tent camper hiking types, not big RV folks!

Also, do you need ferry reservations on weekends in February? I'm thinking we should do a clockwise loop, Triangle to the north end of the OBX, wander down the OBX, and then ferry back across for the return home.

Thoughts?
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:16 AM
 
Location: Asheville
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If memory serves me, the campground I remember is in the south. If you come to the Outer Banks via 264 and into Manteo, you'll then cross over a bridge to get to the southern outer strand. If you bear left heading north, you'll end up in Nags Head and all the fun stuff. If you go right heading south, then just after you go over another bridge, there's a campground on the left. Pull up online a KOA or campground map of the Outer Banks, it'll show you where that one is and you can make sure it'll be open. Plus an online site would tell you about camping in the northern outer strand, if you approach Nags Head via Elizabeth City. Sorry, I just don't know off the top of my head if the one I know about is still open, don't camp much anymore.

You can't and won't need to make a reservation on the ferries. They hold a lot of cars, plus this time of year it won't be busy. Just check ahead that they're not running on account of weather or something. Also be aware that some of those rides are rather long, an hour or two each. Again, see if you can pull up a detailed online ferry map and/or schedule. I only used to take ferries in the summertime, so not sure about winter travel.
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:20 AM
 
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Thanks, gigimac.

"Nags Head and all the fun stuff."
what do you recommend that we see/do?
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Cape Carteret, NC
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Smile Couple thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by NC_newcomer View Post
Hey there --

We're thinking of running over to the OBX from the Triangle next weekend, having not yet explored there.

Are any public campgrounds open? We're pretty basic car-camping tent camper hiking types, not big RV folks!

Also, do you need ferry reservations on weekends in February? I'm thinking we should do a clockwise loop, Triangle to the north end of the OBX, wander down the OBX, and then ferry back across for the return home.

Thoughts?
Before you go, you should know that the farther out in the water you get this time of year, the cooler it will be. The water has cooled, and it will be a while before it warms up. Given this has been a cool year, you might well see temperatures in the upper forties and low fifties. We live inland just a couple of miles and the temperature difference is sometimes ten degrees or more this time of year.

It takes longer than you think to get to the Outer Banks and from one end of the Outer Banks to the other. You will find a fair amount of stuff closed this time of year.

I don't know if you have explored the Southern Outer Banks, but it would be a shorter drive. I know the Croatan National Forest Campground in Cedar Point is open. We drove through it last Wednesday. There were two or three large campers and three or four small ones along with one tent. The campground is in the woods so it is sheltered but still on a bay of the White Oak River and only three miles from the beach. There are pictures of the Tideland Trails which are near the campground at this website.

You get the benefit of the woods and the beaches of Emerald Isle plus it is only 2.5 hours from Raleigh.

If you end up on the Northern Outer Banks, you might want to check to see if you can find a campground that is sheltered. The beach ones that I have been in are great in the summer, not so great in the winter.

There is good kayaking and some nice hiking trails in the Croatan-Emerald Isle area. Map of the area.

Last edited by dsobotta; 02-15-2009 at 03:02 PM.. Reason: left out word
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Old 02-16-2009, 05:40 AM
 
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Thanks. Sounds like winter in the OBX is like a summer day on the Oregon coast -- wear your sweatshirt, vest and windbreaker.

Thanks for pointing us to the Croatan NF campground. Of couse, since it's a national forest, you're not limited to camping in established campgrounds, but that's a nice option. I don't understand why the National seashore campgrounds all close during the winter -- maybe folks in the east don't camp year round?

And finally, thanks for the links -- very helpful!
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Cape Carteret, NC
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Smile East coast camping

Quote:
Originally Posted by NC_newcomer View Post
Thanks. Sounds like winter in the OBX is like a summer day on the Oregon coast -- wear your sweatshirt, vest and windbreaker.

Thanks for pointing us to the Croatan NF campground. Of couse, since it's a national forest, you're not limited to camping in established campgrounds, but that's a nice option. I don't understand why the National seashore campgrounds all close during the winter -- maybe folks in the east don't camp year round?

And finally, thanks for the links -- very helpful!
I think it is just a matter of budget and maybe too small a demand to justify the beach campgrounds staying open. There's always someone camping in the Croatan spot. Usually they have kayaks or canoes with them even in winter. Sometimes during the winter Croatan fills up. When we have a normal winter, the weather is perfect for camping, and you have the added benefit of no bugs.

Having camped a lot in my youth out on Ocracoke Island, I am not sure that I would want to be caught in a Nor'easter out there. We got caught in a summer storm once. I was surprised we did not lose our tents. We have a lady in our office who was born on Hatteras Island. She has told us some stories about winter storms when the wind was blowing so strong that you did not dare take your car out because the paint would get sand blasted off the car.

In that kind of weather, I would rather be in a nice National Forest with a few trees to break the wind.

In January 2007, we had eleven days with highs over seventy. This winter has been much cooler, but it is still not really cold. After all we will be seeing ripe strawberries down here sometime between the last week of March and the second week of April.

Good luck on your trip, and if you need more info or an accurate local weather reading just let me know.

I often recommend people go from Nags Head down through Pea Island to Hatteras, spend the night, then catch the ferry,drive down Ocracoke, and take the ferry to Cedar Island. It is then just a nice ride to Beaufort and another 35 minutes to our area. The ride from Cedar Island to Beaufort is very unique. Here is a slide show from a trip to Cedar Island and some Outer Banks & Ocracoke Island shots.
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Old 02-18-2009, 06:14 PM
 
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Thanks, dsobotta! Those are really nice photos in your links.

It's now just a matter of keeping an eye on the weekend weather before making some sort of plan.
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:43 AM
 
Location: Asheville
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Hi NC Newcomer,
Dsobotta is right on! Gosh, I think I'd go with what Dsobotta is saying about Cedar Island, what wonderful advice, and great luck getting such a great tip. If you go the route they suggest, when you're in Hatteras, take a moment to get out on the beach where the Outer Banks sticks out the farthest into the ocean on a map... two ocean currents meet right there, and it is absolutely fantastic to see, unforgettable wildness. Sometimes you'll see fisherman out there braving the whole thing. Also, when you get off the ferry in Ocracoke, go down to the ocean real close to there, and where the inlet to the sound comes thru, you will find some amazing seashells, that was my fav spot on the whole Outer Banks to collect.

You asked what fun stuff in Nags Head should you do, and that would be Jockey's Ridge, a huge sand dune that hang gliders like to jump off, there's a state parking lot just north of it. There's a hang glider shop across the street from the dune. Also, I think the Galleon shopping "mall" is still active near there, unique place. All seafood restaurants are FRESH. Also, if you go to Nags Head, find the pier, and go up there, altho if the surf is rough, the ocean will slosh right over the pier. Of course beach access is right where the pier is, also. Anyhow, what I meant was, that's where the beach is all built up with stuff to do.

But I think I'd seriously consider going on down to Cedar Point, print out what Dsobotta said about it, so you'll have you a little guide and know what stuff to look for, especially the drive to Beaufort. And I also remember camping down at the Outer Banks, and it was in early spring, not even winter, and our tent near 'bout blew into the ocean, too!!! I just figured you knew what you were doing to want to camp out near the beach in winter. Yup, it's brisk and windy, no swimming, and you'll need more than a windbreaker... I've worn a heavy coat and hat and gloves to walk along the water.

Take lots of pictures of the surf and beach when you go, folks here will enjoy seeing them when you get back. Ain't nothing like the Atlantic in winter.
GG
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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Hey all. I'm new to here, but I had a question. I'm planning on tent camping around Nags Head this weekend and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations. It certainly bums me that the NPS site is closed. I'm looking for the closest possible place as I wanna be around for sunrise without having to get up real real early. I've considered camping on a public beach, but I'm not sure on the regulations on that or where the tide goes, etc. Wind's not too big of a deal for me as I've done worse (Kansas in a thunderstorm with 20-30mph steady winds). Any recommendations are appreciated.
Reed
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