Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation spot, a weekend trip with the girls or a romantic destination, the North Carolina Outer Banks can fulfill your every travel need. Separated from the mainland by the Intercoastal Waterway, these islands offer white sand beaches, beautiful wildlife, mysterious history and plenty of adrenaline-pumping water activities.
- Make time to drive to Shackleford Banks to see the banker horses. These feral horses have been living on the Outer Banks since the 16th century when they were brought here on the grand ships of Spanish explorers.
- The Lost Colony is an amazing historical performance put on in Manteo. This mystifying production has used the waterfront as its backdrop for 76 years to re-tell the history and mystery of one of the first settlements of the New World.
- Kite flying is a popular activity on throughout the islands. There are many kite shops and venders in the area.
- For something a bit more out of the ordinary, check out Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head. Here, you’ll find the tallest sand dune system in the Eastern U.S. With very little plant life on the dunes, you’ll feel as if you’re standing in the Sahara in a scene from a movie. With self-guided hiking trails, you and your family can explore these amazing dunes. You can also take a swim or a kayak around the Roanoke Sound to cool off from the heat of the dunes.
- Explore the area and monument honoring the location where Wilbur and Orville Wright managed to successfully control the first airplane flight in 1903.
- The Outer Banks have an impressive display of lighthouses, including: the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla, Raonoke Marshes Lighthouse in Manteo, Bodie Island lighthouse near Oregon Inlet, Okracoke Lighthouse on Okracoke Island and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on Hatteras Island.
Girls’ Getaway and Couples’ Weekend
- SCUBA diving is a popular activity on the islands because of more than 1500 ships that have been lost in the shallow waters surrounding these barrier islands. From Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge to boats which sank during WWII, the Graveyard of the Atlantic draws many diving enthusiasts. A vast wildlife habitat which has developed due to the artificial reefs of the shipwrecks also entices diving fans.
- Take a walk on the wild side! Try something new like: surfing and kayaking, parasailing, and sailing.
- If you’re looking for prime shopping in the Outer Banks, check out Gallery Row on Nags Head. Local artists exhibit jewelry, photography, flower arrangements, paintings and consignment opportunities. His Shells by Brenda is a wonderful shop in Manteo offering handmade nautical goods. If you are looking for beach-themed decor, souvenirs and gifts, definitely pay a visit to this shop!
- After a long day in the sun, head over to Lotus Day Spa & Boutique in Kitty Hawk for a massage. A bit further North, Duck’s Aqua Spa & Restaurant provides the luxury of a spa in addition to the full-service decadence of a restaurant and bar.
- What’s a trip to the beach without seafood and cold drinks? We recommend Blue Moon Beach Grill in Nags Head if you’re looking for sea food and traditional southern fare. For a wonderfully pirate-themed evening, go to Pamlico Jacks in Nags Head where you’ll find a huge assortment of seafood. The Sandbar & Grill in Buxton is a tasty seafood option on Hattaras Island. If you’re in the mood for a classic beach bar, head over to Howard’s Pub in Okracoke to lounge with the locals.
The Outer Banks have so much to offer for anything from an action-packed experience to a laid-back, beach bum vacation. We hope these tips will help you plan your ideal summer getaway!
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