Why The Outer Banks is Special

Bodie Island Lighthouse Nags Head, NC

The Outer Banks is a place unlike any other. Once you cross over the Wright Memorial Bridge that connects Kitty Hawk to mainland North Carolina it's an immediate mood booster, despite how far you had to drive to get here.

Outer Banks are a thriving chain of barrier islands that are ever shifting with the wind and waves. Hundreds of thousands of visitors predominantly from the Midwest and Northeast flock to the islands each summer to enjoy a week of relaxation and excitement. 

From our perspective, here are 16 reasons why the Outer Banks is so very special. And yes, this list could be longer!

Plentiful fresh seafood in the area grocery stores and restaurants. You can buy shrimp, crabs, oysters and fish that was just caught earlier in the day.

Award-winning beaches await you and your group of family and friends. The central beaches of Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head have numerous public beach accesses, each with an ample amount of parking. All 200-miles of coastline are free game as there are no private beaches.

Home to some of the best surfing spots on the East Coast! Thanks in part to the many sandbars and the way the islands jut out into the Atlantic Ocean, many days out of the calendar year are ideal for surfing. 

Jockey's Ridge State Park in Nags Head is the tallest natural sand dune system in the eastern United States. It's 100% free to climb the dunes, stop in at the visitor center and peruse the on-site museum. Be sure to bring a kite!

Towering at 208 feet from the bottom of the foundation, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton, NC is the tallest all-brick lighthouse in the United States. To reach the top you'll have to hike up some 268 steps. Is the trek to the top worth it? You better believe it!

Speaking of lighthouses, the Outer Banks has five of them that you can visit and a few of which that the public can climb to the top of. View our map of where each Outer Banks lighthouse is located.

Spanish mustang horses can be spotted literally roaming the beaches and subdivisions of Corolla, NC.

Ever hear about the "Lost Colony" in grade school? That happened here on Roanoke Island. There's an ongoing outdoor drama depicting the story and characters that sells out on many nights during the summer.

The Outer Banks Brewing Station in Nags Head is the world's very first wind-powered brewery. The restaurant is open daily and yes, the craft beer is delicious!

There's about 200-miles of pristine beaches to enjoy. Isn't that reason enough to visit the Outer Banks?

Many, many lodging options to choose from. Anything from a 20 bedroom oceanfront estate to a two bedroom condo on the soundfront, there's something for every family.

From oceanfront piers to offshore charters, the Outer Banks is a fisherman's paradise. Chartered fishing tours are available at Pirate's Cove Marina and Oregon Inlet Fishing Center.

There are about a handful of piers along the coast - Jennette's Pier in Nags Head and Avalon Fishing Pier in Kill Devil Hills are two of the more popular ones. Soft shell crabs are caught locally and an absolute delicacy. If you've never had one between two pieces of bread with a little bit of tartar sauce and some tomato and lettuce you're missing out!

In 1902 the Wright brothers put Kitty Hawk, NC in the history books forever when they successfully built and flew the world's first motor-operated airplane from a sand dune on the Outer Banks. You can visit the spot where it all took place year-round at the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

Want to see a black bear? Travel inland a few miles to Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, home to a sizable population of bears. Head over to the Park just before dark and drive around in your car with a good pair of binoculars nearby. If you're lucky, you'll see a couple bears scurrying across the gravel road in front of you in search of something to eat before bed.

Many winding waterways on the soundside to paddle board or kayak along. If you don't have a watercraft of your own, there are many places to rent one by the hour, day or week. Be sure to wear a life jacket.

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