Family Travel: Outer Banks, NC
By Carissa Hickok
Outer Banks (OBX) is a tourist hub on the North Carolina coast. OBX is 130 miles of peninsulas and barrier islands that separate mainland North Carolina from the Atlantic Ocean. OBX does not have its own airport - the closest airport is probably Norfolk International Airport, which is 82 miles away. If you decide to drive, take US 64 East to Route 12, which connects all the OBX islands. A few of the more popular islands are Duck, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and Cape Hatteras. You may find that lodging are cheaper on some islands than others. Throughout the islands, you will find all types of accommodations from motels to vacation homes perfect for a big group. For many of the vacation home rentals, you will find a peak price and an off-peak price that is significantly cheaper. While the warmer months are the most crowded, it may be worth it to plan your trip for the offseason if possible.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore has three lighthouses, two of which are open to the public, from mid-April to mid-October. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest brick lighthouse on the continent, has 257 steps and the Bodie Island Lighthouse has just over 200 steps. Though the walk up is strenuous, once you reach the top, you will get an unique view of Cape Hatteras and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Wright Brothers are synonymous with North Carolina. At the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, you will get the chance to learn about their life and their achievements and see their actual take-off and landing locations. You will also see an artistic representation of the Wright brothers’ history making day.
A popular activity in OBX is a wild horse tour. There are quite a few tour companies that offer to take you for a tour around OBX and see wild horses. As you tour the beach, you are also likely to find beautiful seashells you can take home as souvenirs or decors.
Duck is located on the northern side of OBX. The Duck Town Park has an amphitheater, kayaks and canoes, boat pier, picnic shelter, playground, gazebo, and walking trails – something for everyone to enjoy in the 11 acres of nature. The park also has access to the boardwalk. The Duck boardwalk has an assortment of retail shops, eateries, and bars for the beachgoers.
The Outer Banks also offer plenty of water activities at the various beaches. Fishing is a popular option with the availability of beaches and piers to pick from. Kayaking, canoeing, and kiteboarding are popular water sports in this area. Dolphin watching is also available for those who want to catch those graceful mammals jumping in and out of the water. If you want to get off the ground but still avoid the water, take a helicopter ride. A helicopter will take you on an aerial tour of the Outer Banks and you may see dolphins, sea turtles, fish, and even whales.
Carissa enjoys traveling so much that she left the corporate world to work as a freelancer, which allows her to up and go on a regular basis. She lives with her dachshund, Daphne in central Florida.
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