Home Blog What To Pack For Your Shoulder Season Beach Vacation


In your pre-arrival emails, we send you a list of items to bring with you such as paper products, toiletries and so on. When the seasons shift, you’ll still want to bring those items, but it can be a little more difficult to know what clothes to pack, because the temperatures are different and it can be a bit of a guessing game as to what’s too much and what’s too little. Now that Labor Day has come and gone, we’re here to help you determine what to bring on your Hatteras Island shoulder season beach vacation.




Remember the Blessed Heat

We understand that our friends to the north are waking up to some pretty chilly temps this time of year. For some of you that light morning frost is covering the front lawn when you’re grabbing your first cup of joe, but I assure you friends, unless there is an uncharacteristically brisk cold front coming through, please be advised that #sweaterweather has not hit Hatteras Island just quite yet. While light layers are advised for any kind of traveling, you probably don’t need anything stronger than a light hoodie and/or a pair of jeans for these fall nights. Days are still hot so pack the tees and 100% bring your bathing suit, and get a few more wears out of that summer cover-up!

Standard Rules Don’t Apply

How do you dress for the beach if you can’t wear white after Labor Day? Well for starters, that rule has been kicked to the curb. Fall and winter whites are definitely a thing anywhere you are, and it’s still hot here, so no one is going to look at you crazy if you go around town in white shorts or grab a nice dinner in white jeans. Same goes for sandals and flip flops. Your piggies will be baked alive in those cute little booties. Save the room in your suitcase. We just aren’t there yet.

Sunscreen, Creams and Everything For Your Skin

It may not be peak season, but the sun is still no joke. You can certainly grab a tube of sunscreen from one of our local grocers, but if you have sensitive skin or require a certain SPF, I would say bring it with you. You won’t find an Ulta or department store make-up counter on our sweet little stretch of sand, so in addition to sunscreen, remember your moisturizers, creams and all that jazz when you’re packing your suitcase for some fun in the sun. A hat and umbrella aren’t the worst ideas either.

Don’t Forget the Camera

Fall on Hatteras Island is also known as “sunset season”. That being said, yes, your iPhone will capture some glorious shots, but if you use an actual camera at all and are debating on whether to lug it all of the way here or not, do it. Use the room that was once reserved for those fall booties, and pack the camera instead. There are some subtleties in color and light that a phone camera just can’t grab, so you won’t regret it.

Spice It Up

Because the seafood is so fresh and the meals are so unique, we would certainly encourage you to frequent the local eateries as often as your budget will allow. That being said, particularly in the later part of fall, the season will start to slow down a bit and some of the local businesses will start to cut back on their hours, so you may want to prepare to cook a meal or two in that fancy kitchen in your vacation rental home. Spices and condiments are obviously not provided, so if there is something fancy like saffron or lavender that you just can’t live without, bring it.

Something to Fill Your Downtime

Whether it be the moments before bed, or snuggling up on the couch for a rest, or laying on the beach in the sun, it’s always great to have something to fill the blank spaces to help you relax. A good book is always a great place to start. If you don’t already have one in your arsenal, we have a lovely little book store called Buxton Village Books which is packed to the brim with great reads!

An Itinerary-ish

One part of coming to the beach is settling into island time and going with the flow to actually vacation—you know, rest, enjoy your surroundings, enjoy your family and loved ones and so on. But with that, you don’t want to miss out on what this unique little island has to offer. Pick two or three must-tries such as a pottery class or checking out an art gallery or trying a recommended dish at a local eatery. Call ahead to check hours and/or make reservations to ensure that you experience a taste of the local culture.