A vacation to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands isn’t complete without boarding a boat and setting sail on the rolling waters of the Atlantic Ocean or the peaceful Pamlico Sound. By venturing to a local pier or marina on Hatteras or Ocracoke Islands, you’ll find many options for an exceptional day (or evening) on the water. After all, boating is fun, relaxing, and the perfect thing to do on a beautiful day on the North Carolina coast.
Sitting on the stern of a boat with a fishing pole (and maybe even a cold beer) is a great way to spend a day on the water! And Hatteras and Ocracoke have some of the best fishing around. However, what you catch depends on where you go fishing. If you want to fish for something specific, be sure to communicate that with the captain to see if the excursion offered is appropriate for you.
Many reputable boats including the Cap’n Clam and Miss Hatteras offer great options for full- and half-day fishing trips. Aboard their vessels, you’ll cruise into the deep sea or on calmer, inshore waters on excursions designed for anglers of all ages and skill levels. Flounder, mahi, and wahoo are just a few fish that you might be able to hook. Don’t worry about bringing any equipment or if you aren’t an experienced angler. Most of the local fishing tours provide bait, tackle, rod, reel and expertise.
At sunset, the Miss Hatteras takes passengers on dolphin cruises or sunset cruises with live music. Other companies, such as Drum Stick Charter Fishing, take anglers out on fishing charters during the day, but are available in the evening for private cruises. Maybe some lucky sailors will even see the fabled “green flash” as the day comes to an end and the sun sets over the water.
Rental boats are also available to aspiring captains and their first mates. Take the entire family out for a boating adventure through Hatteras Watersports Rentals, Restless Native Boat Rentals, or any of the reputable companies you’ll find at marinas in the region. They have everything you need for a great day on the water including safety equipment and your choice of boats for rent. And everywhere you look, it’s easy to find jet skiers racing along the waterways. There are quite a few businesses on the islands where you can rent a jet ski and experience the fun for yourself. Whether you opt for a solo jet ski or prefer to team up on a double- or triple-seater, the freedom to explore is in your hands. Zip over waves, swerve around curves, and travel at high speeds on this exhilarating experience.
Perhaps a slower approach is more your speed. If so, try taking out a non-motorized vessel—a kayak—while staying on the Carolina islands. Kayaking gives you and your family the opportunity to discover hidden coves along the sound or natural splendors of the open sea. Kayakers can set their own pace and choose an exhilarating adventure by riding breaking waves in rough waters. Or, they can opt for a more peaceful expedition, exploring pristine sound-side waters alive with wildlife. This environment provides a more controlled way of participating in the sport. Some watersports outfitters offer guided tours where participants can learn about salt marshes, waterfowl, and marine critters as well as history and local legends. Anglers have also adopted kayaks as an efficient, affordable way to seek out secret, productive fishing grounds on both sides of the islands.
Need to rent a kayak? There are plenty of quality outfitters on the Outer Banks, and boats are generally available by the hour, day, and week. You can choose from sit-on-top kayaks or sit-in kayaks, depending upon the intended use. If you want to fish, there are plenty of sit-on-top boats designed just for fishing. If you’re going to be in the surf, you’ll need a sit-on-top, self-bailing boat. These boats are great as a swim platform and for getting in and out of the boat in water over knee-deep. For stability and efficiency in your paddle, go for a sit-in boat. Sit-in recreational kayaks are designed for paddling distances in calm water, plus there’s plenty of room for your extra gear.
In addition to boarding a boat for fishing or touring local waterways, there are other fantastic nautical experiences that visitors may enjoy. Adventurers don’t have to travel far to find excitement at new heights or thrilling speeds. Try parasailing from the back of a boat. You can go by yourself or with one or two other people. A gorgeous vista awaits those brave enough to take to the skies to see the coastline from a different (and higher) perspective. Many companies allow you to stay dry on a parasail ride if that is your preference. However, a quick dip in the ocean after soaring closer to the sun is a lot of fun and quite refreshing!
In the end, it doesn’t matter if you want to set sail for relaxation, sport, sightseeing or entertainment. There is a boat cruise available that can cater to your interests. Enjoy your voyage on the water!