Rodanthe (pronounced roh-DAN-thee) is the northernmost of the Outer Banks’ “tri-villages,” which also includes Salvo and Waves, North Carolina. The town sits on Hatteras Island, approximately 23 miles to the south of Whalebone Junction. Rodanthe is bordered by Waves to the south and the Pea Island National wildlife Refuge to the north.
Rodanthe was once part of the unincorporated community known for centuries as “Chicamacomico,” a name referring to the Native Americans that originally inhabited the region. The town’s first United States Post Office was established in 1874, after which the the town was renamed Rodanthe. Even before the post office was established, however, Rodanthe was considered one of the most important lifesaving stations on the East Coast of the U.S. and has served as the backdrop of some of the country’s most incredible rescue stories. One of the most well-known rescues involved the imperiled British tanker, the Mirlo, which was hit with torpedoes by a passing German U-Boat in 1918. Six Chicamacomico lifesavers jumped into the water and rescued 47 of the 57 passengers on board the Mirlo, earning the team the Grand Cross of the American Cross of Homer from the United States as well as the Gold Life Saving Medal from the United Kingdom. While the original Chcacomico Lifesaving Station has not been used since 1954, visitors to Rodanthe can still tour the original structure, which has been preserved and now serves as one of the area’s most well-known landmarks.
Today, visitors to Rodanthe will find a quaint, secluded village, dotted with coastal cottages and modern amenities like gift shops, restaurants, kiteboarding schools, and launching points. The town’s main attraction, however, remains the Rodanthe Fishing Pier, which offers excellent cobra, drum, mullet, pompano, and even shark angling opportunities. The secluded beaches and soundside marshlands just north of Rodanthe also attract a large number of outdoor enthusiasts – particularly birders and surfers.