Buxton, NC

Buxton, NC is located at the widest part of Hatteras Island, south of the Tri-Villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo along with Avon just to the north. Maritime forests make it a great place to see nature at its finest as it is protected from overdevelopment. Visitors come to see the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Water sports enthusiasts will enjoy the ‘Graveyard of the Atlantic’ where shipwrecks still lie and are accessible by scuba divers. Buxton attracts visitors from all over the world to enjoy its natural beauty and explore its unique lifestyle.


Visitors to Hatteras Island stop by Buxton to escape from the busyness of life but also to try water sports and have adventures. Few places on Outer Banks offer the kind of incredible views experienced from Cape Hatteras Lighthouse or water sports like kiteboarding and windsurfing. The Canadian Hole is a favorite spot for tourists and locals who love being on the water. Mixed in with old motels are rental communities and vacation rental properties. Families who visit Outer Banks fall in love with fishing and other activities. Nearby is the Avon Fishing Pier. Frisco Woods Campgrounds make a great spot right by the sound, which offers a great experience of nature and water activities visitors love.

Along with great sites to visit are places to shop and dine on great food, from American fare to fresh seafood. Traveling in Outer Banks in Buxton offers many opportunities to see the sound and ocean from different vantage points not offered anywhere else on the island.


Buxton on Hatteras Island

Buxton, NC is on Hatteras Island, the southern part of Outer Banks. Named ‘Indian Town’ historically, Buxton was renamed ‘The Cape’ in 1873 and eventually changed to honor a judge named Buxton. Outer Banks is shaped like an arm with Buxton sitting at the ‘elbow.’ Buxton is surrounded by Pamlico Sound on one side and the ocean on the other, which makes it a great destination to enjoy nature on land and in the water.

What to Do in Buxton, NC

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a large tourist attraction and a local gem to explore. See the lighthouse from the outside and enjoy the historic lighthouse or take a tour to learn about its history and even climb up to the top. Tours run every 20 minutes for purchase online. Stop by the visitor’s center or museum for gifts to take home as memorabilia. Nearby is Buxton’s “Turtle Pond,” where turtles visit with people, offering a shaded picnic spot and nature trail. Local deer wander the area in winter, but turtles are mostly found in this area during the spring to fall season.

Buxton Woods

Buxton Woods is a lesser-known maritime forest that is easy to miss but worth a visit. The oceanfront beaches are just yards away, but there is much to see. Hikers and campers love this area because it is an ‘open frontier’ to Hatteras Island, as before loads of development came in. Undeveloped parcels of land are great for exploration and offer historical insight into the island’s geological history. Nearly 1,000 years ago, Native Americans roamed the ground to track game species and fish. Though they disappeared as English settlers came in, some were mixed in with new colonists and formed a new group of people. Preservation efforts have kept the area clear of development so visitors can enjoy trails around ponds, dunes, and unfettered views of the Atlantic. Head down one route by Fish House Restaurant near the edge of town to find parking areas for entry into the maritime forest. Look for red-tailed foxes, river otters, forest-dwelling or marsh-dwelling birds, owls, and American bald eagles. Reptiles are also found here, including Buxton Woods alligators.

Cape Point

Cape Point has a small paved road leading to it which has a 4WD beach access ramp. Many visitors use this ramp for fishing or getting out on the water and catching fish from a boat. They also drive 4WD down the beaches. Be sure to obtain a permit before heading out on a 4WD. 


Surfing in Buxton

Visit Canadian Hole and Kite Point to catch a show or see surfers on the waves. An annual surfing competition is held here at Old Lighthouse Beach, with plenty of parks and a great area to relax or hit the beach when surfers are not using it for competition. Good breaks can be found here, which brings water sports enthusiasts from all over the world. Try some kiteboarding or windsurfing if you wish. Launch onto a kayak or stand-up paddle board to see nature up close and personal.

Shopping In Buxton

Shop until you drop with Buxton Village Books, selling local stories at this coastal bookstore. Stop by Conner’s Supermarket for all your needs like snacks, drinks and more. Frisco Rod and Gun is a tackle shop and market that offers what you need to get out there and go fishing or just grab a nibble. Shopping at seafood markets for fresh fish is a local’s delight, along with home decor shops, seasonal clothing, surf, and water sports shops.

Dining in Buxton, NC

Sandbar and Grille offers fine seafood on the water with beautiful views. Specializing in fish and steaks, pasta, and another fare, they offer weekly live entertainment and an arcade room. Diamond Shoals is family owned and operated for over 25 years. Open every day of the week, they welcome large groups for meals all day long, with their specialty being the award-winning clam chowder and crab bisque. Rusty’s Surf & Turf offers tropical food and flavors made by a native to the island who is inspired by Caribbean, Mexican, and Pacific Rim cuisine. A slice of pizza or pasta at Angelo’s Pizza and enjoy a cool arcade in the back room. Beads and Grinds can meet all your caffeinated needs with their coffee and espresso drinks, or grab some ice cream. Enjoy in or outdoor seating. A beautiful, intimate restaurant for fine dining is Cafe Pamlico at the Inn on Pamlico Sound for the casual fare but a first course view of the water. Sip a cocktail while enjoying the best restaurant in Buxton. There are various ice cream shops, cafes and more to enjoy all around Buxton and nearby Frisco.

Where to Stay in Buxton, NC

Many unique accommodations exist for Buxton visitors. Pick local motels near the beach, inland motels, and campgrounds that border the woods and beach. The campground is run by the National Park Service and is within walking distance of beautiful places like Cape Hatteras Lighthouse or Cape Point. Tent camping is also allowed if you’re brave. Just don’t camp near any places where alligators may roam. Buxton has two famous Bed and Breakfast spots for the quaint charm and local hospitality. The Inn on Pamlico Sound features world-class fine dining right on the premises. If you’re not keen on sharing space with others, grab one of the vacation rental properties dotted around the island and in Buxton. The homes rent weekly for the most part but also include high-quality amenities, like private pools, hot tubs, game rooms, and more.

Buxton, NC FAQ

Buxton is on Hatteras Island, south of the Tri-Villages, and bordered to the south by Frisco. Fives miles away is Avon to the North and it is truly on its little plot of land on the island which offers beautiful nature trails and space to explore ‘old’ Outer Banks with less development. 


Visitors can take NC Highway 12 south from Bonner Bridge to Hatteras Island. The town of Buxton is right over the bridge.

Buxton offers events like the NCBBA Red Drum Tournament and the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Surf Fishing Tournament, held in October. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouses have seasonal programs for visitors and nightlife with live music and events.

Beaches are part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and are open and accessible. Seasonal birding or nesting turtles may have precedent, but otherwise, they are available to anyone. There are two ORV ramps located past the lighthouse for anyone to use. Parking is free, but driving a 4WD on the beach requires a permit.

Surfing can be done in many stops, but the most popular is Old Lighthouse Beach or ‘the jetties.’ The beach offers surf and regional tournaments and good waves for anyone to try out their hand at surfing. Lessons are available from local companies.