Canadian Hole delights kids, wind surfers on OBX

Posted July 23, 2010
Updated July 24, 2010

— On the narrowest stretch of the Outer Banks lies a peaceful, sound-side nook where, just across the highway, the Atlantic Ocean roars.

The National Park Service gave the spot its official name of the Haulover Day Use Area. Locals call it Canadian Hole.

Visitor Megan Hilliard calls it "paradise."

"I'm almost 30, and I think I've been coming down here since I was 15," she said.

Hilliard was accompanied by her grandmother, mother, sister and daughter to Canadian Hole, which is off N.C. Highway 12, just north of Buxton in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

"To me, it's just peaceful," she said. "Look around, we're the only ones here. It's great."

candian hole Canadian Hole delights kids

Hilliard said the waters of the Pamlico Sound are good for her 2½-year-old daughter. "I don't have to worry about her being swept up in waves," she said.

Not every day at Canadian Hole is so peaceful.

In the spring and fall, the winds kick up, and Canadian Hole becomes home to some of the world's best kite-surfing.

Hilliard's mother, Katie Bernstein, said she prefers it when the waters spread out in a flat sheen.

"It almost looks like infinity. It looks like it just goes on and on," Bernstein said.


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  • arak76473 Jul 23, 2010

    A beautiful story, nicely told. Seeing 4 generations sharing a relaxing vacation is good to see in these days of stress-filled weeks.

    Since the area is clearly marked by a large NPS sign, I doubt WRAL has given away any secrets. Maybe this story will encourage other people to visit, and teach them how precious our Outer Banks truly are.

    This Nooks and Crannies series of stories has been a wonderful adventure through our great state.

  • geosol Jul 23, 2010

    CH is truly one of the greatest places for speed sailing in the US. I was told the name came from the large # of Canadians who used to congregate there a couple of decades ago, but i've never seen that. Relax, chill out, and enjoy a North Carolina treasure. So many boogeymen, so little time......

  • Cricket at the lake Jul 23, 2010

    Paradise is truly the word but Hatteras isn't for everyone, thank goodness.

  • briathar626 Jul 23, 2010

    unclegrits is right. It got its name from the large number of Canadian windsurfers who flock there. Growing up near the Outer Banks, my parents always preferred for us to play in the soundside waters due to the horrible riptides on the oceanside. That's what you get with a Coast Guardsman for a father.

  • pappy1 Jul 23, 2010

    Asking why it's called "Canadian Hole" is asking for in-depth reporting. :^)

  • josep4567 Jul 23, 2010

    We will have to move to Canada to find "Peace" soon!

  • TriangleMommy Jul 23, 2010

    oh please, a kitzy little WRAL article isn't going to send a boom to that spot on the OBX. As soon as folks discover how remote it is, and they don't have all the nightlife amenities of Wilmington or Myrtle Beach they won't return. Most families could not begin to handle the laid back lifestyle on Hatteras (not fast enough for them).

    And the article is kinda funny in one regard - when is it NOT windy out there? Now maybe as a spring or fall visitor I'm used to catching it when its the worst (so sue me that I don't know the annual wind forecast) - but getting sandblasted just to enjoy a walk on the beach is normal fare out there.

  • unclegrits Jul 23, 2010

    "Why do they call it Canadian Hole?"

    Almost every car in the parking lot is from Canada during good wind surfing/kite boarding days.

  • outdoors2008 Jul 23, 2010

    Please. No one reads this stuff anyway. The place is safe.

  • edits Jul 23, 2010

    Why do they call it Canadian Hole? Did I miss that in the article?