Hello everyone and thanks for lending your time, experiences, and expertise! :)
A couple of questions regarding our first trip to Hatteras Island:
A) I've read about remote hiking trails "south of Salvo", but can't locate any more info. Can anyone tell me more? Are there trail-heads leading out of the parking lot at the Salvo Day Use area just south of town? Farther south down NC-12 where we'd look for a trail-head?
B) I've done some reading about the trails in the Buxton/Frisco area. We're a nature-loving family, but a bit limited hiking-wise because of the preschool/elementary ages of our children. We can manage a nice 1-2 mile loop, but any more than that would be too much for us in the July heat. Any recommendations for a safe, predictable (missing a connector trail or popping out 4 miles from the trail-head would pose a problem and make for an unhappy wife and kids) hike in that area?
C) In July, would there be any (privacy & space) benefit to driving a few miles south of Salvo down to one of the 4x4 beach access points? It looks like there are sizable parking lots in at least 2-3 different, remote locations. That time of year, if we were to load up a beach cart and pull it out onto the beach, would we find ourselves a remote, little private spot? Too many trucks coming and going onto the beach ramp? Too many fishermen for it to be quiet and private?
D) What should our expectations be for the Salvo beach in mid-July? I realize that this is a busy time of year, but I'm not sure what to expect. Growing up, the beach that time of year in Ocean City, MD wouldn't be literally towel-to-towel, but at times it was difficult to find an unoccupied spot large enough for a family of 4 to put down blankets and a beach bag. Are we talking "15-20 small family groups as far as the eye can see either way on the beach"? "A family 10 feet away on all 4 sides"? Etc
E) I've found lots of places that let your purchase and either take out or steam-and-take your own seafood. By "steam and carry"...does that imply that a box of crabs would/could be steamed and seasoned?
F) It would have been my strong preference to have gone down in less-populated June, but that didn't work out for us logistically. Any advice/recommendations for people going to Hatteras Island in July - and who value tranquility and privacy?