Top 10 Things to do in The Outer Banks, North Carolina

Beautiful skies in The OBX
You can't help but be in awe of every view, structure or piece of history left over in this small piece of paradise. But most of all you can't help but notice the pride the towns people have in residing in one of the most beautiful areas in the country. I have to admit, I shed a tear or two the day Kathleen and I left. We were absolutely enthralled with this place, and look forward to going back. But make sure you do within the next 40 years. Thanks to its ever changing coast lines, parts of the OBX (Outer Banks) will not be there in 50 years.
So I created a list of 10 of my favorite things to do in the Outer Banks. Sure there are plenty more to add and please feel free to do so in the comments.

1. The Lost Colony Re-enactment- If you paid attention in history class you might remember the story of the first English settlers and how they vanished centuries ago. On the island you'll find re-enactments, museums and loads of information on what life was like back then. Even on how the islands got their Native American names. You can even hop aboard the Queen Elizabeth II, a replica of the ship the English settlers set sail on.
Blue crab at I Got Your Crabs! in Kitty Hawk
2. I Got Your Crabs!- This restaurant with all you can eat blue crab specials has a funny story behind the name. Each day when the owner's son returned home from crabbing, he would walk in holding up his catch of the day chanting, Mom! I got your crabs! We dined there with the locals who told us about the best places to view shipwrecks, the best seafood buffets in town and much more, all while enjoying an endless amount of blue crab, an ice cold brew while listening to live music, just a man with a powerful voice and his guitar.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla
3. Lighthouses!- We were only able to climb to the top of one lighthouse, Currituck Beach Lightouse which was built in 1857. But the views are incredible! With a mini museum inside loaded with information about what went on in and around the historic brick walls, you will leave with a new found respect for the place.
Elizabethan Gardens within Forth Raleigh
4. Elizabethan Gardens- Only yards away from where the first English settlers arrived, within these walls are Elizabethan era statues as well as native Roanoke Island species of plants and flowers. Although many of the bright colors have faded by Winter, they are adorned with a spectacular light show for the holidays.
Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills
5. Wright Brothers National Memorial- It's no secret North Carolina is where the Wilbur and Orville Wright flew for the first time successfully, but to stand in the exact location where history took place over a century ago is more than awe inspiring. You can view replicas of what their bunks looked like, giggle at a few of their failed contraptions and be completely flabbergasted at where time and innovation have brought us today. And you get to stand where it all began. The memorial also houses a small museum with replicas and portraits of aviators who made history in our great nation. A walk to the enormous memorial leads to a bronze replica of what the first flight looked like, and makes for a great photo op!
Wild Mustang spotted on Mustang Jeep Tour
6. Mustang Jeep Tours- Back in the 1600's when the Spanish ships came to the OBX, unaware of its rocky shores and Graveyard of the Atlantic nickname, their purebred horses were tossed into the ocean and swam to shore. Now, centuries later, you can hop on a jeep where the tour guide drives you to the best destinations on the island for viewing the mustangs in their natural habitat, running on the beach, grazing in the dunes, unaware that we were so enthralled with them. The law of the land is a 50 foot distance since these wild mustangs are not tamed and will defend their territory. But when you spot them make sure to have a camera handy!
Ocracoke Island Lighthouse
7. Ocracoke-  If you're touring the Outer Banks from top to bottom, historic Ocracoke will most likely be your final stop. To get there, you must take a short and entertaining ferry ride with breath taking views of the Atlantic. You might even see a few dolphins on your way there. On the island you'll find some historic cemeteries with headstones that date back to the 1500's, small restaurants and even a Native American museum. It is basically like stepping back in time, everything is intact, restored or left as is from centuries ago.
Kathleen protecting her eyes from the windy dunes
8. Jockey's Ridge- Also home to a parasailing school, here you have the chance to climb the largest sand dunes in the east coast. With strong winds constantly changing the coast of the banks, as well as shifting the dunes, you'll get incredible views of the OBX while standing atop these enormous sandy hills. Make sure to wear sunglasses on extra windy days, or you'll end up like Kathleen in this picture!
Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve, end of the trail...
9. Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve- This nature trail makes for a lovely afternoon hike. With incredible views, enormous trees creating a canopy to protect you from the sun and more opportunities to see creatures such as a two foot red crested wood pecker that Kathleen and I chased until it magnificently soared away. You'll trail across marshes, wetlands and be able to identify all sorts of plants around you. Follow the marked trail that will lead you into the Roanoke Sound, which is swarming with hundreds of swan settling in for the evening.
A horseshoe crab spotted on the beach
10. A Walk on America's #1 Beach- Sure this includes the entire length of the coast of the Atlantic side of the OBX, but a walk on what was once named the #1 beach in America is unlike any beach walk I've ever take on the East Coast. There are countless intact seashells, horseshoe crabs, sea glass and other marine wonders that wash ashore. You can fish or swim here in these calm waters, and even get a view of ship and submarine wrecks that are now a part of the coast line. Make sure you know which direction you're going, especially at night. Kathleen and I were once so busy soaking up the sights around us, we didnt realize how dark it was getting and did end up getting lost on the beach for the better part of two hours. Something I can look back on now and simply chuckle at. Everything you experience in the Outer Banks will be etched in your memory forever. =]

3 comments:

  1. Beautiful! Thanks for taking the time to share your great tips on visiting the Outer Banks. Loved it.

    Velva

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    1. Thank you so much! It was my pleasure! I think about going back nearly every day, it was the best and most memorable vacation I've ever had. The epitomy of relaxation =]

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  2. I love this part of the country. I have a friend who teaches at the school in Kitty Hawk and I loved visiting her. Great photos!

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