Thanks everyone for your contributions to the forum...your expertise...and your time. We were able to use so much of the information you provided in order to make our trip to Salvo so fun and memorable for our family.
I'd like to learn more about several local norms/customs/regulations and would really appreciate your input.
(Please understand that some of these items are seasonal/change and could be confusing to an out-of-towner not accustomed to a coastal area.)
A) From Nags Head down to Frisco, there are lots of areas where you can just "tell" that you cannot and/or may not pull your car off of NC-12 and walk up over the dune to see (presumably isolated) beaches.
We observed (in July) lots of vehicles, however, pulled off to one side of the highway or another (where there wasn't turtle or bird nesting roped off) where people appeared to have parked just off the highway, carried beach/fishing equipment up and over, and to the beach. Is this a "stay off the dunes" faux pas? Something that's acceptable if there's an existing foot path? People who "know the ropes" and are trying to get into a less crowded spot?
B) Next year, we're interested in doing one nice, small (responsible) campfire on the beach. This year, we observed lots of folks setting up to do so...but most of them appeared to be above the high-tide water line. I've read that you're supposed to be below that line, which actually puts you pretty close to the water. We did pass the remnants of some fires that were not 100% burnt down, but reasonably well gone. What's the real scoop regarding campfires? We'd like to do one, but not at the expense of regulations, the beach, and the ecosystem.
C) Our kids LOVED the Manteo aquarium. It was well worth the 45-minute or so trip up from Salvo. Is there anywhere else you'd recommend that's a similar distance from Salvo? (They would not like to see the pony "pens" on Ocracoke...we have entirely too many pens/cages/fences where we live and our kids would not delight in seeing that.)
D) I kind of felt "lost" regarding Pea Island. I did see the one visitor center on our right as we were headed down South-12, but the area seemed quite expansive. Is the "thing to do" to park at the visitor center and to walk the "loop"(s) available?
E) We ended up not using the "day use" area...it seemed more busy than the beach near our rental home, but perhaps that was because of the string of unfortunate shark encounters leading up to our trip? If we were to try out that area next time, does anyone fish there? Is it fruitless because of all the kiteboard activity?
F) Does anyone ever seem to get caught/fined for fireworks on the beach? It was upsetting to us to have numerous loud, lengthy shows going off close to 11 PM (the big, obnoxiously loud aerial stuff) about 2 weeks after the 4th when there were active "turtle" areas roped off nearby. Anything that folks can do about that to enable the authorities to help out...without getting into a "situation" on their vacation?
G) Does anyone in the Salvo area do the Bay-seasoned blue crabs? We did a partial bushel of them from a seafood place up in Corolla a few years back...but I didn't really see such an opportunity down our way. Lots of fried seafood...which was great...but we were hoping to find a place with the butcher paper on the table, mallets, corn, and crabs. Any local places?
Thanks so much for any info you can provide. We really enjoyed our time in Salvo and hope to keep learning more about Hatteras Island. :)