Our mission is to revitalize Hatteras Island economically in a way that is sustainable, without changing the basic character of the area, thereby making Hatteras Island a better place to live and visit. We will accomplish this by facilitating improved use of the Island’s natural, cultural, and historic resources, and the result will be a Hatteras Island with a vibrant multi-season economy.

This mission is important because there are two Hatteras Islands:  the one most summer visitors experience and the one where most residents live. Summer visitors see a prosperous Hatteras, full of people living in beautiful rental homes, spending freely in shops and restaurants, hiring charter fishing boats, etc. Beneath the facade of a prosperous economy lies the struggle for many residents to earn a living wage.

At the Ocean Center, we think that the key to economic viability of Hatteras Island is to extend the visiting season well beyond the traditional summer season. Hatteras Island, with its fascinating ecosystem, incredibly rich history, natural beauty, and wonderful weather is an ideal place to become an important ecotourism destination most of the year. We are working hard to lay the foundation for this transition.  Please support our efforts by visiting our exhibits, using our facilities, attending our programs and events, and donating generously.