While 2021 was a record-breaking year for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2023 was a popular year on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands as well, with one of the highest numbers of visitors in recent history.
Per statistics from the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) received a total of 2,826,169 visitors in 2023. This makes 2023 the fourth busiest year at the National Seashore on record, behind only 2022, 2021, and 2002.
2021 saw a total of 3,206,056 visitors, which was the highest number of visitors since the National Seashore was established in 1953. 2021 was also the first time that CHNS visitation surpassed the 3 million mark.
2022 had 2,862,844 visitors, which makes 2022 and 2023 virtually a tie in terms of visitation, with just a 36,675 difference between the estimates for the two concurrent years.
For comparison, the CHNS hosted 2,645,377 visitors in 2020, 2,607,632 visitors in 2019, 2,590,388 visitors in 2018, and 2,433,703 visitors in 2017.
Visitor totals for the past five years, per the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau’s statistics, are listed below
Seashore visitation estimates are collected by counting southbound vehicles just north of the Marc Basnight Bridge and using a multiplier to estimate the total number of passengers heading south. Those estimates are added to the number of passengers going to Ocracoke Island from Cedar Island and Swan Quarter.
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