NC12 as it passes thought Pea Island on Hatteras Island.

NC12 as it passes thought Pea Island on Hatteras Island.

NC12 is the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway. The road that connects Hatteras Island and Ocracoke with the rest of the world was just awarded a 2021 Community Byway Award.

The award from the National Scenic Byway Foundation went to to eight byways this year. There are 184 byways recognized across the United States so winning the award is quite prestigious.

The award is given for the interpretive signs that line the highway. The signs along NC12 are distinct from the NCDOT highway markers. The Byway signs have more information ad are typically a kiosk design.

Although NC12 begins at the north end of Corolla, the scenic byway starts at Whalebone Junction in Nags Head. It includes all of Hatteras Island and Ocracoke and continue south into Carteret County.

Creating the signs and information for the award was truly a cooperative effort. The Outer Banks Byway Commission worked with the Federal Highway Administration, the NCDOT, the county governments of Dare, Hyde and Carteret, the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as community representatives.

What Makes NC12 So Wonderful

It is a unique road and byway. A road that includes 138 miles of driving and 25 miles of ferry travel.

The road sometimes seems to skirt the very edge of the Atlantic Ocean. At other times the waves from the Pamlico salt marsh seem to lap on the shoulder of the road. It is in some ways, a subtle beauty. Yet the beauty is there and cannot be denied.

In addition to the natural beauty of the road, NC12 in Dare and Hyde Counties include three lighthouses—Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke.

It’s a great award and another reminder of how beautiful the Outer Banks is. Spend some time exploring the wonders of this sandbar by the sea with a stay at a Brindley Beach Vacations home.