Camp Hatteras – Outer Banks NC

Three days visiting the Outer Banks in North Carolina



Our first tire blowout experience(s)!

We were just outside of Springfield, Virginia when we heard the gunshot.  I always wondered what a blowout sounded like, and now we know!  Funnily enough, I think we both knew what it was pretty much instantly.  
I didn’t notice any change in handling – no pulling to one side or swerving. 
We have heard the horror stories of RV tire blowouts, but still never expected it with less than 6,000 miles on the trailer!

Fortunately, we were on an off-ramp that split, and were able to immediately pull off between the ramps where there was a fair bit of room to work on it without being too close to traffic.

We called Forest River Roadside Assistance right away (one year free with purchase of the RV) and they took down all our information. 

I figured I may as well start on it — at least get the spare unmounted and stuff.  I just kept “picking at it” while waiting for the repair vehicle and (fast forward 2 hours) I ended up finishing it myself – they were never able to locate someone to dispatch to us.  🙁

Somewhere around 4 hours later, the second tire on the same side blew!  This time the highway shoulder only left me a couple of feet of workspace (guardrail), and the driver side was scary close to traffic – as in tires less than a foot from the white line close.  This time Forest River didn’t have anyone in their network anywhere close to us, so they couldn’t even attempt to dispatch.  Thankfully there was a tire store that agreed to stay open a few minutes late for us.  We grabbed the two shredded tires, unhooked the trailer and flew down to the shop.

Lessons learned: 

  • Carry a better jack – I used the bottle jack from the truck
  • Be sure I have the correct lug wrench (I used a socket set)
  • Don’t pay for Forest River Roadside Assistance

Two things that helped: I had wood blocks that I was able to use under the jack so I didn’t have to crank it up very far, and I lowered the stabilizer jacks to keep the trailer from swaying so much (from passing trucks).

The campground

You can search online and check reviews, but since everyone has different wants/needs/opinions, even a well rated campground may not be exactly what you want.  In this case, it was everything we wanted!   

I have to admit I was [pleasantly] surprised.  I assumed anything on the beach and with concrete pads wasn’t going to be my cup of tea.  I like trees and campgrounds that feel like you are in the woods.  I don’t think there is a tree here (though for completeness I probably should step outside the camper and check…  Nah, I’m too much in vacation mode for that level of effort).
And yet I really like the campground!   I was also wrong about the length of stay.  Originally we planned only half the vacation here, the other half in the woods on the way home.  Now that we are here and see how much there is to do, we extended our stay and cancelled reservations at another campground further inland.

The first sunset (left) was taken from the west side of the campground (it extends to both the east and west sides of the road).  
The middle picture was taken from the east side, facing west into the campground.
The last (right) sunset was taken from just down the road, maybe 1/4 mile or so?

Wild horse on the beach
Wild dog on the beach
Wild truck on the beach

We visited Carolla (pronounced Co-rah-la, not Co-roll-la) where you can drive on the beach and where the wild horses run free.  
Note:  You need 4 wheel drive and MUST air down your tires – they can actually fine you for not doing so.  Some good info here.

We bought kites at Kitty Hawk Kites (there is a shop very close to Camp Hatteras) on the way, and we packed a small lunch to eat on the beach.  Parking/driving on the beach is free off season, but I think maybe $50(?) during the summer.

You can stop at Historic Corolla Park to air down your tires just under 2 miles from the beach (it seems to be one of the last places to do so). 
They have four (free) air stations there to re-inflate on your way back out as well.  

On the way back south we stopped in Duck for some chow.  Even pre-season the restaurants were pretty busy.  We ended up at Duck Deli and thought it was pretty good.  The seating inside was sparse or nonexistent (can’t recall now) due to Covid, but there were some picnic tables outside we ate at.  

After dinner we parked at the Duck Town Park Boardwalk and strolled the boardwalk to watch the sunset.  Looks like a great place to eat ice cream and walk around!  (there were a few ice cream shops right next to it).

Other notes:

We took the bikes on the (free) ferry over to Ocracoke but were a little disappointed.  The ferry was great – staff were very friendly and the hour long ride passed pretty quickly.   They have a separate spot for bikes to wait so we didn’t have to crawl along in the line of cars, which was super welcome on a hot day!  I think at noon we waited for 30-40 minutes (pre-season) but that had more to do with being down a boat (staff shortages) than anything.
Note:  on the return trip cars just line up in their lane on the road.  Not sure if it is a regular/normal thing or not, but they let us park the bikes up near the loading ramp again so we didn’t have to do that stop & go thing in the line of cars.

Maybe it would have been more fun during regular season?

This was taken just south (1/4 mile?) from the campground, where a fair number of people were gathering to watch the sunset.  Still not sure if it is a public area or not, but we pulled in on a whim to catch it.  Entrance sits between Atlantic Coast Cafe and St. Clair Landing Family Camground.

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