Hatteras Village is located on Hatteras Island, part of North Carolina's Outer Banks, and was first settled in the 1780s. Given its location, water and weather have been central to the community's history. In 1846, a hurricane created a new inlet between the Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound, leading to new prosperity for nearby Hatteras Village as a fishing and shipping hub.
Beginning in the early 20th century, tourism began to increase, first with sportsmen coming to hunt waterfowl and fisherman seeking large gamefish. In the 1950s and 1960s, opening of a bridge to Hatteras Island and creation of Cape Hatteras National Seashore encouraged vacationers to come to the island, and seasonal tourism continues today as a growing industry.
The tourists who visit Hatteras Village are usually seeking sun and sand, not history, but the Village is working to promote appreciation of its historic assets among both residents and visitors.
A 1999 survey identified 119 historic resources in Hatteras Village, including five historic vessels, and a self-guided tour has been developed. Sites include the location of two Civil War forts, which are also highlighted on the North Carolina Civil War Trail.
A new attraction is the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. Taking its name from the numerous shipwrecks along the Outer Banks, the museum interprets the maritime history of Hatteras Village and the Outer Banks.
Created through a partnership between local government and non-profit groups, State agencies, the National Park Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the museum is a major new heritage tourism destination.
Designated a Preserve America Community in April 2005.