(28) The Tourism Era

Post-war prosperity expanded personal leisure and travel. Seaside resorts along the Outer Banks offered a wide variety of opportunities, with the vacation industry growing to become the leading economic resource in the region after agriculture. While seaside resorts had existed since the 1840s, the establishment of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area by the federal government in 1953 ensured the protection of much of the area’s natural beauty. The region’s long and varied history itself became destinations for education and recreation, with sites of historical and natural interests being established in every county. 

Motion pictures, organized and recreational sports (especially baseball), and automobile driving remained favorites for personal and family activities. Another popular activity was frequenting a variety of restaurants, with favorites existing in every town and crossroads. Some became local meeting places, much like the old general store, where one gathered not just for lunch but also to catch up with local news.