Cape Hatteras is a cape on the coast of North Carolina. It is the point that protrudes the furthest to the southeast along the northeast-to-southwest line of the Atlantic coast of North America, making it a key point for navigation along the eastern seaboard. So many ships have been lost around it that the area is known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic".
The cape is actually a bend in Hatteras Island, one of the long thin barrier islands that make up the Outer Banks. The first lighthouse at the cape was built in 1803; it was replaced by the current Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in 1870, which at 208 ft is the tallest in the United States.
Oceanographically, it is of interest because it's a point of confluence for two opposing currents: the warm Gulf Stream moving north, and a cold Virginian current moving south. Somewhat analogous to Point Conception in Southern California, this on-the-edge placement leads to unusually diverse biological assemblages. Many species' ranges have either a southern or northern terminus at the cape.