The Ultimate Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide

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What is that?

Also known as OBX, young people may recognize the name as a teenage drama series on Netflix, but the history of the Outer Banks dates back to the 16th century, when European settlers attempted to establish a colony, under orders from Sir Walter Raleigh. . Since then, the Outer Banks have been the site of significant historical events.

Pirates began to flock to the shore of the Outer Banks along with the English, one of them being the legendary Blackbeard whose favorite haunt was Ocracoke Island in the southern part of the Outer Banks. This is also the place where Orville and Wilbur Wright realized their dream of piloting their 700-pound glider up the windy hill of Kill Devil Hills.

The Outer Banks, which earned the ominous nickname “Graveyard of the Atlantic” due to frequent shipwrecks, later became the winter retreat and waterfowl hunting ground for wealthy East Coast industrialists in the early 1900s. 20th century. Nowadays, it’s a popular destination for families and anyone who wants a low-key, slow-paced vacation with no frills.

Activities such as fishing, kayaking, jet-skiing, surfing, and sailing are widely available while the rich wildlife population and migrating birds attract naturalists.

Here are some of the best things to do while in the Outer Banks.

What has to be done?

The Outer Banks are a chain of barrier islands, a thin elongated strip of land formed mostly of deposited sand, parallel to mainland North Carolina. This geometric formation of the region naturally makes beaches the main attraction, but there are small towns, historic sites and natural wonders that are easy to drive along North Carolina Highway 12 (NC12), the main road that crosses the mountains. he is.

1. Arrange a tour to see wild horses on Carova Beach in Corolla. Confident drivers can try driving their own 4×4 vehicles on the white sand beach, but keep in mind that a permit is required to park on the beach during peak season. These wild Spanish mustangs will mostly be spotted grazing on the grass in residential areas near the shore – instead of galloping up and down the beach like in Hollywood movies – but it’s still worth the drive on this virtually unspoiled beach.

Wild Horse Adventure Tours (252) 489-2020

Bob’s Wild Horse Tours (252) 453-8602

2. Spend an afternoon in the Corolla Historical Park in the heart of the Corolla. This Currituck County public park is home to Whalehead, an imposing 1920s house set on 39 acres of land. The property that belonged to Edward Collings Knight Jr., heir to a railroad fortune, and his wife is a testament to the area’s fame as a bird-hunting ground for the wealthy. After falling into oblivion for many years after the couple’s death, the house has been painstakingly restored to find the original American Art Nouveau ornamentation.

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse in the same park has operated continuously since its first illumination in 1875. This distinctive red brick lighthouse is one of the few lighthouses in the country with the original first-rate fresnel lens. The entrance fee is $ 10 for those who wish to climb 220 steps to the top to enjoy the view of the Currituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

Before leaving the historic park, take a stroll through the historic Corolla Village where historic houses have been restored and refurbished to house retail stores. Stop by Island Bookstore, a quaint bookstore with a good selection, including children’s books. The nearby Corolla Village Market sells paintings, woodwork and jewelry by local artists. It also has a nice cafe, The Kind Cup Coffee House.

3. Duck is a small town, but it combines fun, good taste and beautiful nature. The 11-acre Duck Town Park offers an abundance of natural beauty and outdoor spaces for viewing birds and other wildlife with the Currituck Sound as a backdrop. Take a mile-long stroll along the bay promenade to enjoy the sunset, peace and shopping at the local stores. Some of the best restaurants and cafes on the island can be found here.

4. The scenery changes as you drive south through Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills. This middle part of the islands is commercial with fast food restaurants, pawn shops, and shopping malls everywhere. For aviation or history buffs, it’s worth stopping by at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hill.

5. Visit Jockey’s Ridge State Park at Nags Head to see the tallest natural sand dunes on the East Coast. It is a grandiose place where you can go kite flying, hang gliding lessons or just have a moment of reflection at sunrise or sunset.

6. The Outer Banks have no shortage of lighthouses, but if you head south towards Hatteras Island, pass the Bodie Island Lighthouse, a black and white lighthouse built in 1871. There is also a walk on the freshwater marsh which gives convenient angles for instagrammable photos of the lighthouse.

7. Further south on NC 12 in Rodanthe, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is a must-see for bird watchers or bird watchers. This temporary stopover point for nearly 400 migratory birds is located along the 13-mile-long Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Depending on the season, large groups of geese, egrets and Canada ducks can be spotted.

Where to eat?

For those who don’t want an endless feast of fried foods served at many of the Outer Banks restaurants, it’s best to rent a house and cook your own meals. There are many fish markets across the island that sell freshly caught seafood and ready-to-cook meals, such as steam kettles.

The best restaurants and cafes can be found mainly in the town of Duck. Reserve a table in advance at Blue Point and request an outdoor table. Located on the peaceful side of the bay, with a beautiful view of the water, this duck institution which has been in existence since 1989 offers refined southern cuisine without fuss. The solid menu includes dishes such as giant crab cakes, grilled pork chops, and fried green tomatoes, available seasonally. For the ultimate comforting desserts, order a warm pecan pie with bourbon ice cream and a peach and blueberry cobbler. They also offer simple meals for children.

Try Treehouse Coffee for breakfast in the pretty Scarborough Shopping Village. It is popular with locals who like to sit on one of the wooden benches in the courtyard surrounded by shady oak trees. The coffee beans come from Counter Culture Cafe, Durham, NC, and the breakfast menu ranges from omelet to French toast, but the most popular items are southern cookies, plain or in all forms. sandwiches. It is only open for breakfast from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

Duck’s Cottage is the locals’ favorite cafe. Housed in the former Powder Ridge Gun Club built in 1921 by Wall Street brokers, this cute little cafe doubles as a bookstore and gift shop. Their coffee beans come from a small artisanal roaster and they serve a variety of muffins and biscotti.

Duck Donuts is now largely franchised in the United States, but Duck is where it all began. There is often a line of people outside waiting to buy these sugary treats with all kinds of decadent coatings and toppings, including chopped bits of bacon. Custom donuts are also available.

Where to stay

One of the best things about the Outer Banks is how easy it is to get to the beach no matter where you stay.

Renting a home is the way to go for a most relaxing vacation. There is a wide variety of homes of different sizes and prices, including those with over 20 bedrooms, making it ideal for gathering with family or friends. The northern part of the Outer Banks is home to charming towns such as Corolla and Duck.

Corolla is home to some of the area’s most exclusive homes, while Duck is a better option for adults and teens who want to be near restaurants and shopping.

For last minute travelers, the best hotel is Sanderling Resort, which is rather dated and drab but clean and friendly and, more importantly, convenient as it has all the amenities of large hotels. The resort has direct access to the beach, indoor and outdoor pools and restaurants. Golf and tennis can also be arranged at the nearby facilities.


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