Buxton is an unincorporated community on Hatteras Island near Cape Hatteras in Dare County, North Carolina. Buxton is linked to other Outer Banks communities such as Avon, Frisco, and Hatteras by the North Carolina Highway 12. Cape Hatteras Light is Buxton’s most recognizable attractions and the tallest brick lighthouse in the country. Hatteras Island Visitor Center and Museum of the Sea is located next to the lighthouse. Shelly Island does not exist anymore, but is famous for being the biggest sand island to disappear in the shortest amount of time in the shifting sandbars off the coast. Hatteras Tours offers island exploration guided by the noted island author, historian and storyteller, Danny Couch. Buxton Village Books is a local bookstore located in a quaint easily recognizable pre-Civil War house in downtown Buxton.


1.Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
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Cape Hatteras Light on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks in the town of Buxton, North Carolina is the tallest brick lighthouse in the States and second tallest in the world. The 210-foot structure is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Outer Banks are barrier islands on the coast of North Carolina between the Atlantic Ocean and the coastal sounds and inlets. The first sandstone lighthouse was authorized in 1794 and completed in 1803, but was found ineffective in protecting ships from the deadly Diamond Shoals, the area of shifting sandbars known for massive storms. The existing Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was first lit in 1870, throwing a beam of light 20 miles into the ocean. Next to the Cape Hatteras Light, in the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Double Keepers' Quarters, is the Hatteras Island Visitor Center and Museum of the Sea, with the exhibits that tell the story of the history, maritime heritage and natural history of the Outer Banks and the lighthouse.

46379 Lighthouse Rd, Buxton, NC 27920

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2.Shelly Island

Shelly Island
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Shelly Island started its life in April 2017 as a sandbank in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Located in Buxton, North Carolina, off the tip of Cape Point, the island was drastically reduced by Hurricane Maria. At its largest, the crescent-shaped island was about one mile long and over 500 feet wide. The locals named it Shelly Island because of the massive quantities of shells on its shore. But, by early 2018, the island completely disappeared. The island was located a few hundred feet from Hatteras Island, in the area known for the huge storms, named the Graveyard of the Atlantic. While small islands often appeared and disappeared in this area, Shelly Island was significant because it was much larger.

Buxton, Hatteras Island, NC

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3.Hatteras Tours

Hatteras Tours
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Hatteras Tours promise to make your exploring of the magnificent Outer Banks comfortable, entertaining and very informative. They will take you along famous Highway 12 from Duck to Ocracoke to see all the top landmarks and most exciting attractions. Your guide will be the noted island author, historian and storyteller, Danny Couch, who knows all there is to know about the unique maritime history, heritage, culture and tradition of Hatteras & Ocracoke on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The Hatteras Tours coaches are air conditioned and spacious with high back seats oriented for comfortable observation. The large tinted glass keeps the sun glare away and intercom system with speakers makes listening to the tour guide pleasant and easy.

Buxton, North Carolina

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4.Buxton Village Books

Buxton Village Books
© Buxton Village Books


For book lovers, visiting Buxton Village Books while visiting Cape Hatteras is a must. Located in a quaint easily recognizable pre-Civil War house in downtown Buxton, its front room still has the shipwreck timbers with which it was originally constructed. Buxton Village Books is an independently owned, full service, coastal bookstore that caters equally to the visitors and their needs and to the locals, supplying them with reading materials. They have a notable section on books about the Outer Banks and especially Hatteras Island with some great titles for all ages and interests. There are books on Hatteras history, Ocracoke, local cookbooks, field guides and books for kids and young adults. In the store, and on their website, they offer all the newest best sellers, contemporary fiction, southern fiction, non-fiction and adventure and young adult titles and more.

47918 NC-12, Buxton, NC 27920, Phone: 252-995-4240

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5.Sunnie's Surf Lessons

Sunnie's Surf Lessons
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If you were always dreaming about learning to surf, why not use the opportunity while visiting beautiful Buxton in North Carolina? Sunnie’s Surf Lessons offer a Beginner Surf Experience, starting with a visit to the beach, where you will practice paddling and standing up on the beach. Then you will take the board in the water and paddle around. This is an easy and slow way to learn surfing if you are insecure. It takes 15 minutes of beach time and 30 minutes of water time. Some students are ready to stand up on the board during the first lesson. Others catch waves on their knees or belly for a while. What matters is that everyone is having fun. The right age for the lessons is from 5 to 90, as long as you are good swimmer.

Buxton, North Carolina, Phone: 252-220-9004

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6.Fox Watersports

Fox Watersports
© Fox Watersports


What started in 1968 in Lantana, Florida as a small space where Ted James was selling his handcrafted surfboards, grew into one of the leaders in the surf industry and a leading manufacturer and retailer of the surfing equipment. Ted moved to Hatteras Islands in 1976 and constructed the building where the Fox Watersports is today. Fox has been the leading source for windsurfing gear on the Outer Banks since the early 80's. They offer not the best windsurfing gear available including the latest from Ezzy, JP Australia, Dakine, Oneill Wetsuits, Chinook and more. Fox has been kitesurfing since the late 90s and designed and built some of the first kiteboards that were able to stay up wind and retrofitted some of the early designs to be more user friendly. They have a great selection of gear from Wainman Hawaii, Dakine, Cabrinha, Aggression and more.

47108 NC-12, Buxton, NC 27920, Phone: 252-995-4102

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7.Orange Blossom Bakery

Orange Blossom Bakery
© Orange Blossom Bakery

You will learn about the famous Uglies before you even arrive in Buxton, North Carolina. This big cinnamon-laced deep fried fritter with apples and oozing glaze is the trademark and the most famous product of the local bakery Orange Blossoms. The bakery is located in a converted motel and serves famous "apple uglies," pastries, organic coffee and delicious breakfast sandwiches on home made Italian bread since 1979. If you, like so many others, come just for one of the “apple uglies’, you will have to stand in a separate line that sometimes goes around the corner, called “ugly line.” The strange misshapen blob of fried dough is worth every minute you wait in the ‘ugly line.” Orange Blossom Bakery also makes special occasion cakes, even cakes made in the shape of fish for someone who has never caught any.

47206 NC-12, Buxton, NC 27920, Phone: 252-995-4109

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8.Sandbar & Grille

Sandbar & Grille
© Sandbar & Grille

Sandbar and Grille is a popular seafood restaurant in Buxton, North Carolina, with 22 years of stormy history, literally. After three hurricanes and numerous storms, they are now operating in the third building, two previous ones being blown away by the winds. Located right on the water, with spectacular views of the sea from the spacious dining room and large deck, Sandbar and Grille specializes in the fresh fish and seafood from the local waters. They also offer sandwiches, steaks, pastas, salads and soups. There is a well-equipped arcade games room and live entertainment weekly.

49252 NC-12, Buxton, NC 27920, Phone: 252-995-3413

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8 Best Things to Do in Buxton, NC