4th of July holds a significant meaning for all of us, and Hatteras Island loves to celebrate accordingly! For those of you who will be joining us for the first time over the holiday, we wanted to share some safety reminders as well as some island tips and tricks!
It is important to note that the island is generally at it's peak max capacity during 4th of July week, so while we want the fun to continue, we also want everyone to be mindful of the safety of themselves and others.
Don't Drink & Drive:
This is an obvious no brainer, but it still goes without saying, do not drink and drive. And that goes for on the beach as well! No one wants a DUI, injury, or even worse, death on their hands. Keep the party going, but make sure there is a designated driver or have alternate transportation plans in place.
Hydrate, and Then Hydrate Some More:
Sun-related illnesses are not uncommon, because it's easy to forget to drink water when you're swimming in it for hours and hours. And it's good to acknowledge that you can get both overheated and/or dehydrated in the comfort of shade, such as an umbrella. Rule of thumb: if you think you have had enough water to drink, drink some more!
Double Down on Swim Safety:
Swim safety is important for even the strongest of swimmers. Ocean swimming isn't the same as swimming in a pool or lake. It can be physically taxing and take all of your energy without realizing it, or before you may actually need it. Never swim alone, be conscious of rip currents and make sure all members of your party, children and adults, are familiar with ocean safety and rip current awareness before you ever get to the beach. Learn more.
Don't Forget Your Permit(s):
It is important to remember that Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a national park that is policed by the National Park Service (in addition to regular law enforcement). If you want to fish, drive on the beach or have a bonfire on the beach, it is important to know you need a permit for that. It is even more important to know, that you will get a ticket if you partake in one of those activities without having the proper permit. Learn more.
Don't Pass on The Right:
Pedestrians are everywhere, soaking up the sun and enjoying the island as best they can. While passing on the right is acceptable and even encouraged in some states to increase the flow of traffic, North Carolina is not one of those states, and it is a major no-no on Hatteras Island! Tons of folks utilize the bike lane (that's the space on the right side of the white line) not only for biking, but for walking, jogging, skateboarding, strolling their nuggets from Point A to Point B, and so on. While some villages have designated bike paths off the highway, not every village does and not everyone utilizes them, particularly avid cyclists who prefer to be on the road. That being said, passing on the right is a great way to unintentionally injure someone, and no one wants that, so please, PLEASE refrain from impulsively passing on the right, no matter how pressing you feel you need to get somewhere.
Stop At The Crosswalk:
Again, this goes without saying, follow the traffic laws because pedestrians are all over, particularly kids. And with that, they are on vacation and not always quite as mindful of their surroundings, so be alert. Remember crosswalks are particularly important, especially on the night of July 4th when folks are frequently crossing Highway 12 to get to the beach for the big fireworks show.
Be Mindful of Leash Laws:
While your safety is important, so is the safety of your pets! We want the whole family in on the party, so your dogs are welcome at the beach, BUT they must be on a 6' (or less) leash at all times. And it goes without saying, they are always prohibited from entering any resource closure (think bird nesting area). While it's hard not to let them run free in such an open space, the leash law is for their protection to make sure they stay out of harms way and any sticky situations that can potentially arise.
Tips & Tricks
Beach driving isn't like driving in the snow. All Wheel Drive and 4 Wheel Drive aren't the same thing, and if the sand is really soft, it is often necessary to take air out of your tires to avoid getting stuck. Many local gas stations have air pumps for you to use when you come off, so throw a tire gauge in the glove box and you should be good to go!
Be Mindful of Holiday Hours:
On the 4th of July holiday itself, a little planning is advised. A lot of businesses will observe holiday hours (Midgett Realty will be closed that day, but you can find us online 24/7), and many restaurants will close for the dinner shift so that they can partake in the holiday fun with their families. If you intend to eat out, you may want to call ahead to see what the various restaurant's dining hours will be. And most places don't take reservations, so plan accordingly and anticipate a wait time.
All fireworks are illegal and prohibited on Hatteras Island. Learn more. So while you can't light fireworks off of the deck of your rental home (please never do that), Avon Fishing Pier does offer their annual fireworks show, which is both free and open to the public. Now, there are a few very important things to know here. The show starts at 9:15. Traffic is a BEAR both before and after, so plan to park it early and stay for awhile. Parking can be tough. The pier has a good amount of parking, but you may have to find alternative parking and walkover. Don't fret, you don't have to be at the pier to see the show. You can really see if from anywhere on the Avon oceanfront, and most of the roads have a walkover. Just be conscious of the residences. Don't park in/walk through someone else's yard. Stick to places designated for public use. Again, go early to make sure you have that worked out.