Buxton, located at the widest point of Hatteras Island, is home of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the islands only school. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was erected in 1870 to help steer passing ships out away from treacherous Diamond Shoals near Buxton, NC. The lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in America. Visitors can enjoy the small museum and visitor’s center after climbing the 256 steps. Surfers come from all over the surf the waves near the structure. Each year you can watch championship surfers complete near the lighthouse. A Buxton visit is not complete though until you visit Cape Point, the point of land that juts farthest east into the ocean.
Each year, thousands of tourists visit the beaches of Buxton. High winds make it a popular vacation spot for wind surfers and kite boarders. It also lends a different atmosphere than the other towns since it sits among the Buxton Woods Maritime Forest.
Rich with history, Buxton was once a main stopping point for European explorers. It became a place for castoffs and animals such as the ponies at Ocracoke. Hatteras even once had a train track running the length of the island to haul out its huge supply of cut lumber mostly from the Buxton Woods. You can still see the remnants of an old trestle on the sound side as you pass an area called “New Inlet.” Yep, that was once an inlet that eventually filled back in. That’s why you will see signs entering the island from the north that refer to Pea Island which was once a separate island from Hatteras Island. Atlantic storms and the ever shifting sands of this island are constantly slowly changing its location similar to the slow turning of the tracks on a tank.