Salvo, NC — Laid Back Like the Outer Banks of Old
Salvo, NC, is the quietest of the three villages of Rodanthe/Waves/Salvo, known locally as the Tri-Villages. Salvo Outer Banks is predominantly residential and perfect for a quiet vacation. Originally known as Clarks or Clarksville, this village’s name was changed to Salvo, NC, when the post office was opened here in 1901. There’s a legend as to how the name Salvo came about. It’s said that a Union ship proceeding north from Fort Hatteras sailed by this village during the Civil War and that the commander of the ship inquired about its name. He was informed that the village had no name on the Union charts. The commander reportedly told the assistant to “give it a salvo (a firing of the cannon) anyway,” and the name Salvo was marked onto the Union charts. The name was apparently perpetuated on other maps as well so that when the postal service was looking for a name other than South Rodanthe, it chose Salvo, NC. Gull Shoal Life-Saving Station was located in Salvo Outer Banks from 1878 to 1940 and was known for many heroic rescues, especially when Rasmus Midget single-handedly rescued 10 people from the sinking Priscilla in 1899.
Though Salvo, NC, has grown like every other area of the Outer Banks over the past few decades, it hasn’t really lost its center. Salvo Outer Banks of present day feels a whole lot like the Salvo Outer Banks of three decades ago. Sure, there are more vacation rental houses, but they’re generally in keeping with the size and scale of the village. Yes, there is more Salvo shopping now than 30 years ago, but these places, too, remind you of the mom and pops that kept locals and visitors satisfied way back then. The Salvo restaurant scene hasn’t changed much at all; unless you’re looking for ice cream or something quick from The Blue Whale, you head a few miles south or north to other Hatteras Island towns. The real focus is Salvo recreation — water sports and outfitters, car and jeep rentals, fishing and, of course, the wide-open beaches.