North Carolina’s Outer Banks historically has been an inexpensive place to park trailers and campers for a weekend, a season or longer. As real estate values skyrocketed, however, bigger developments have replaced some campgrounds and travel trailer parks, according to the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot.
But the pastime isn’t fading away.
The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau reported that people spent $2.6 million on camping here in 2003. Three years later, they spent $4.01 million.
“Campgrounds have had one of the biggest percentages of growth,” said Carolyn McCormick, visitors’ bureau managing director.
Dare County recently approved two new Hatteras Island campgrounds: the 56-site Capt’n B’s in Buxton and the 24-site Midgett Travel Trailer Park in Rodanthe.
That would bring the number of privately run Outer Banks campgrounds to 17. The National Park Service has four, from Oregon Inlet to Ocracoke.
Those who visit for water sports such as kite boarding tend to camp, McCormick said, and the sports are getting more popular. Also, “there’s a big movement out there for getting back to basics,” she said.
“There’s no phone and no TV,” Carole Ward said. “There are packs of kids running around, riding bikes. They’re not just sitting in the house watching TV.”
But it isn’t all rustic, and you can spend a little bit or a lot.
The 38-year-old Hatteras Sands Resort, with spaces for 102 recreational vehicle s, has pools and a hot tub, laundry facilities, and an air-conditioned bathhouse, said manager Paula Bergmann. There’s a snack bar, a small grocery store and planned activities for children.
Many of the same people return year after year, Bergmann said: “Some are bringing their grandchildren.”