Located on Bogue Banks which is part of the Outer Banks chain along the North Carolina coast, the little town of Indian Beach has a population of 92 permanent residents. This swells greatly in the summer months when tourists and second home owners come for the season. It is thought that the name Indian Beach came about because of Indian Burial mounds that were discovered there.
Indian Beach is in fact divided by the unincorporated area of Salter Path. Highway 58 winds through Indian Beach for a little over a mile and then you come to the town of Salter Path. If you continue down the highway, in less than a mile you will again find yourself in Indian Beach.
Indian Beach has a turtle program staffed by volunteers who work in conjunction with the North Carolina Aquarium at nearby Pine Knoll Shores as well as the Bogue Banks Sea Turtle Project. The Bogue Banks Sea Turtle Project is a branch of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and is dedicated to studying and protecting the nesting population of sea turtles on Bogue Banks.
Indian Beach accommodations include resort condominiums, motels and campgrounds on the ocean and sound shaded by flourishing maritime forest. The public beach access offers showers and bathrooms along with picnic tables where you can enjoy your picnic lunch. The wooden walkway out to the beach leads over white sand dunes onto soft sandy beach and beautiful crystal clear waters.
The community of Salter Path is believed to be named after Owen Salter or possibly Riley Salter. Schools of mullets that ran close to the ocean shorelines were the primary source of food and income for many of the natives. These fishermen would quickly move from the sound to the ocean, beating a path in front of a Salter household, hence the name Salter Path. Many of the families who moved to Salter Path from Diamond City on Shakleford Banks in the late 19th century and early 20th century established their residences without deeds. The area of Salter Path subsequently became known as a squatter’s community.
Salter Path was passed from John A. Royal to Alice Green Hoffman, a distant relative of Theodore Roosevelt and daughter of Alfred Green, a former governor of New Jersey. Alice Hoffman developed an estate and sued the residents of Salter Path in 1923 because their cows were wandering onto her estate. A subsequent court decision permitted the residents of Salter Path to remain, but the cows were not allowed to graze on the Hoffman Estate. The village was restricted to 81 acres that the squatters occupied, and direct ownership of the beachfront was granted to the village to use collectively. This ruling further stated that only current residents and descendents could occupy the property, but it did not give any individuals title to the land. This ruling remained intact until 1979 when a legal settlement permitted Salter Path residents to hold a title to their property and for Carteret County to levy taxes on the former squatter’s village.
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