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Hatteras Inlet facts for kids

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NPS cape-hatteras-map
Map of the Outer Banks showing location of Hatteras Inlet

Hatteras Inlet is an estuary in North Carolina, located along the Outer Banks, separating Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island. It connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pamlico Sound. Hatteras Inlet is located entirely within Hyde County.


The first "Hatteras Inlet" was formed south of the current inlet, but closed around 1764. The modern "Hatteras Inlet" was formed on September 7, 1846 by a violent gale. This was the same storm that opened present-day Oregon Inlet to the north. This became a profitable inlet, because it gave the Inner Banks, NC a quicker and easier way to travel to and from the Gulf Stream. It was easier to come into this inlet from the north. Because of the increase of commerce, Hatteras Village Post Office was established in 1858. The initial invasion of the North Carolina coast, on Hatteras Island, during the Civil War called Battle of Hatteras Inlet Batteries came from Hatteras Inlet. The two Confederate forts guarding the inlet quickly fell.

Hatteras Inlet today

The inlet today is approximately two miles across, but this distance changes daily because of the convection of brackish water. No bridge runs across Hatteras Inlet. A fleet of eight ferries, owned by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, provides a free 60-minute ride year round to people who want to traverse the inlet. These ferries connect North Carolina State Highway 12 between the two islands.


Google Maps - Hatteras Inlet

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