Did you know the Outer Banks was ranked the number one “Best Family Beach Vacation in the USA”? It’s no surprise to us that our little slice of heaven shines proudly from the top of the list. With clean, white beaches, the scenic byway, enough history to fill 20 textbooks and plenty of ways to keep even the largest thrill seeker happy, it’s kind of a given! Hatteras Island literally has something for every one of every age and trust us; this is one dream destination that you won’t want to miss.
When you do start to pack those bags for your trip to paradise, there are a few things you won’t want to forget to cross off of your checklist. When you're cruising on "island time", don't interrupt your vacation on a hunt for the necessities; come prepared! Below we’ve accumulated a list of things you won't want to forget to bring.
Top 5 Things to Bring on Your Hatteras Island Beach Vacation
1. Sunscreen: The weather on Hatteras Island is more times than not, picture perfect. The sun is shining, the skies are blue and everyone wants to be outside. Whether it’s lying on the beach, swimming in the ocean, kayaking in the sound or hiking through the woods you’re going to need to pile on the sunscreen. Even a couple of hours in the sun means to apply and reapply, because no one wants to spend their vacation inside due to a pesky sunburn. While you can find basic sunscreens in most grocery stores and gas stations, you’ll thank yourself later for making the decision to purchase it ahead of time as it is a bit pricier on the beach. Additionally, there are far more options online and in bigger stores for folks who have skin conditions and allergies.
2. Medications and Prescriptions: There are two local pharmacy locations on Hatteras Island that carry the basic over-the-counter drugs and can fill prescriptions as needed. They are very knowledgeable and easy to work with and 9 times out of 10, can handle any requests that you may have of them. With that, they operate under normal 9-5 business hours and a half day on Saturday. The 24-hour box stores that you’re probably accustomed to don’t exist when you’re on that glorious “island time”. If someone in your party has allergies or an illness, definitely bring a small supply of emergency medications for any situation that might occur during “island after hours” (9pm-9am) and tossing a basic first-aid kit in can never hurt.
3. Proper Identification: Like we all know, emergencies happen when you least expect them, so while it’s nice to empty out the wallet or purse for your trip and strip down to the bare essentials, don’t leave home without your Insurance Card and ID. Anything from a trip to the medical center to purchasing cigarettes at a gas station will require some form of identification. Also, keep in mind when going to a restaurant/bar that the Island was semi-dry just a few years ago and we haven’t had liquor licenses for all that long, so servers and sales associates are freshly trained in North Carolina’s alcohol sales laws and take them seriously. Don’t have your ID? You won’t be served. Avoid the headache for yourself and your server and come prepared with your proper ID.
4. Beauty Products: If you use a product in your daily beauty regimen that you can’t find on the shelf of a Food Lion or very basic grocery store, don’t leave home without enough to get you through your trip thinking you’ll just get it when you get here. You won’t find a Sephora or an Ulta off of Highway 12 and the closest make-up counter you’ll find is at least an hour drive.
5. Flashlight: It seems like a trivial item to bring, but trust us, you’ll be happy you did! While the beach is gorgeous during the daylight hours, it’s still worth visiting at night. Lounging around a bonfire can create some of the best memories while playing games and telling stories. Nighttime visibility is often spotless as you’re miles away from street lights, heavy traffic and tall buildings to block your view, so stargazing is top notch as well! You can even throw a line out and continue the day’s fishing expedition, hoping for a bite. Whichever you choose, when walking to and fro these nighttime adventures, you’ll be thankful for a flashlight that will keep you on a clear path and out of harm’s way. Sure you could buy one, but why spend $15-$20 on something you already have when you could take the whole family out for ice cream instead?!