We stay on the sound side of Camp Hatteras, usually right next to the sound.
I wouldn't sweat the campfire thing, I too seem to think local ordinances do not allow them.
Be sure to go to the Pea Island Ranger station just before dusk. (A handfull of miles south of the Bonner Bridge, the big one in the photo above). Take the pathway just past the restrooms that turns west for a quarter mile or so. At the end of the walk you will see a platform with steps that is 15 or so feet off the ground. Set up there and watch nature 'happen'! You will thank me for it!
PS, get there early and walk across the dunes to the ocean, look just to the south a couple hundred yards from the beach and you will see the boiler from a shipwreck that has been there over a hundred fifty years!
Here is a link to the 'Oriental' shipwreck.