Exploring the Bonner Bridge Pier

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A sign that reads Welcome to the Bonner Bridge PierPlease don’t take this the wrong way, but we suggest that you take a long walk on a short pier. The Bonner Bridge Pier, that is.

A pier under a large bridge.In 2019, the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge was replaced with the Marc Basnight Bridge. Which leaves one to ponder: what exactly do you do with a leftover bridge? In this case, a section of the Bonner Bridge was transformed into a 1,046-foot pier. The pier opened in 2021 and lies on the Hatteras side, jutting into the Pamlico Sound at Oregon Inlet, where it is available for recreational fishing, a stroll, or simply taking in the breathtaking 360-degree view of the surrounding area.

We recently took a leisurely walk on the Bonner Pier and were awestruck by the panoramic scene unfolding around us under a classic Outer Banks blue sky: cottony clouds layered above the horizon like snow-capped mountains; salt-scented breezes; rays of sunlight shimmering across the expanse of blue-green water; pelicans, cormorants, and seagulls effortlessly gliding and swooping; frothy white caps breaking in the distance where the sound surrenders to the ocean; hearty souls with fishing poles patiently awaiting a tug on their line; the sound of vehicles A house on the shore as viewed from a pier.crossing the new bridge, its engineering marvelousness on full display; and the weathered facade of the Oregon Inlet Life-Saving station, a steadfast witness to the beauty and history of the place.

Ready to explore the Bonner Bridge Pier? Managed by the National Park Service, the pier is open 24 hours and there is no admission fee. A generously sized parking lot is available as well as portable restroom facilities. Time your visit for the late afternoon and watch with wonder as the fleet of charter boats, trawlers, and recreational vessels return through the inlet from offshore fishing. A rock covered shore.

For 56 years the Bonner Bridge connected Hatteras Island to the rest of the Outer Banks. And now, a portion of that well-traveled bridge lives on, providing a space for both solitude and a sense of community, connecting us to our past, to one another, and to nature.

A pier under a large bridge.Open water from a pier.

A rocky shore with a bridge in the background.