50 BEST Things to Do in the Outer Banks (OBX)

The Outer Banks is a beloved stretch of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina and Virginia. They’re famed for their natural beauty, deep sea fishing, surf spots, and the birth of the airplane. The chain of islands cup the coast of North Carolinas and has a storied past.

Home to some of the nation’s best beaches, the windswept islands feature 200 miles of sandy shore that wait to be explored. Along the barrier islands are 15 seaside towns that range from sleepy fishing ports to commercial resorts ready to host visitors every season.

There’s no shortage of seashore or things to do in the Outer Banks. In this post, we hope to share some of our favorites to help with your trip or convince you to add them to your bucket list.

What Are The Outer Banks?

Cape Hatteras Behind Some Sands Dunes and Grass

The Outer Banks is a gorgeous stretch of barrier islands and spits off the coast of North Carolina and Southeastern Virginia. They stretch for 200 miles and comprise most of North Carolina’s coastline. The islands form a natural barrier between the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck, Albermarle, and Pamlico Sounds.

Several were the first sites of English Settlements in North America and were used to explore the new continent’s coast. Now they are connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries. Most notable is State Highway 12, which runs the length of the island chain from Corolla to Ocracoke. The infrastructure allows the islands to serve as popular tourist destinations along the East Coast.

Treacherous waters and shifting sands have earned them the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” As barrier islands, they are primarily sand that shifts with the wind, currents, and storms over the years. Hurricanes are a common threat to the islands, which serve are an essential buffer for the mainland.

Barrier islands are essential for natural biomes. Marshlands are important ecological homes for many marine life, birds, and plants. North Carolina has exceptionally preserved barrier islands thanks to state regulations that inhibit artificial reinforcement.

When Is The Best Time To Visit The Outer Banks?

A pier on Roanoke overlooks a marshland

Average Temperature By Season

Spring: 65°- 75° | Summer: 75°- 85° | Fall: 65°- 75° | Winter: 50°- 60°

The Outer Banks is a summertime destination, and many businesses shut during the winter. However, ask any local, and they’ll tell you Fall is the best time to visit.

Crowds thin out after labor day, but the days are still warm enough for a swim, fish are biting, and the winds ensure decent surfing. As long-time residents of coastal Carolina, we can attest that Fall is our favorite time of year.

Late spring can also be a decent time to visit OBX, but the water remains cool, and not all businesses will be open. Memorial Day traditionally marks the start of the summer season.

Map Of Things to Do in the Outer Banks

The Best Things to Do in the Outer Banks (OBX)

Climb to The Top Of Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Jockey Ridge is the tallest living dune system, an otherworldly experience. The dune offers sweeping views of the sea and the Roanoke Sound. It’s widely viewed as one of the top destinations and things to do in the Outer Banks.

If you stroll along the boardwalk and nature trail, it will take you through the ethereal ecology of the area as you explore wetlands and maritime thickets. You can take in some of the most spectacular sunsets from the top of these dunes.

Feeling nostalgic? This is one of the best North Carolina state parks to relive simpler times and fly a kite. For a bit more adventurous, fly with the kite and ride through the sky by hang gliding or a board to soar down the sandy dunes.

Find Inspiration At The Wright Brothers National Memorial

Wright Brothers National Memorial

This historic monument is a celebration of the first-ever successful airplane flight. Whether you’re an aviation aficionado or just a supporter of dreams, the Wright Brothers National Memorial site offers some beautiful inspiration to all. Visit the site where the Wright Brothers achieved a sustained, powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine and changed the world forever.

You’ll find to-scale replicas and reproductions of the famed flyers themselves, the hangar where these dedicated self-taught inventors lived, and the wind tunnel they used for testing in their years of attempts before the triumph.

Walk Along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Behind A Sand Dune On The Outer Banks

70 miles of protected coastline preserve the natural wonders of these beautiful barrier islands. This is the best stretch of shore to enjoy the beaches of the Outer Banks. Search for the perfect seashell, bask in the warm Carolina sunshine, cool off in the salty waters, or walk endless miles.

The picturesque landscape offers thriving and undisturbed habitats for native wildlife. It extends from the low tide line to the borders of the actual towns. This prevents commercial and private development, meaning pristine public beach miles. It’s a national treasure and a highlight of the Outer Banks, the perfect place to lose oneself.

Visit Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

This iconic NC lighthouse is located in the small OBX town of Corolla. The stalwart structure stands tall at 162 feet and still works to aid in navigation. Its light shines bright, stretching miles into the sea. It’s known for its distinctive red brick exterior – try to count how many were used.

It was built in 1872 and first went electric with a fresnel in 1933. You can view educational exhibits on the lighthouse and the Victorian-era renovated keeper’s quarters. If you climb all 220 steps, you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled views of the Currituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

Fish From Jennette’s Pier

Jennette’s Pier

Pier fishing is a bastion of culture on the coast of the Carolinas. Jennette’s Pier is a favorite feature of Nags Head and one of the oldest attractions in the Outer Banks. If you’re looking for good views and great fishing, you’ve found the right place. It was built in the 1930s and has been a hotspot for local and visiting anglers.

The entire pier has a blanket fishing license and a conveniently located tackle shop, so everything you need for a day of fishing. The ocean views are also stunning, so feel free to sit and settle in to watch the waves and wait for the catch of the day.

Search For The Lost Colony

Sir Walter Raleigh

The Lost Colony is an outdoor performing arts theater famous for celebrating the mystery and history of the Outer Banks. You can find it in the charming town of Manteo, where a play has been put on every summer since 1933, the second longest-running outdoor drama ever.

It’s a masterful musical theater piece about Sir Walter Raliegh’s attempt to establish an English colony on Roanoke Island in 1508 and its subsequent disappearance. It’s an elaborate and high-quality production spanning over three stages and over 200 actors and technicians.

Snap A Photo of The Wild Horses of Corolla

Wild Horses of Corolla

The natural wonders and native wildlife of the Outer Banks are exceptional, and one of the most magical features is the roaming herds of wild horses. This population began in the 1500s when Spanish explorers brought them to these shores. The wild ponies can be found in Corolla or Ocracoke. However, Corolla is the far more famous wild equine.

They are currently preserved and protected by a local non-profit organization. You can take a guided tour to learn more about these unique residents or wander the landscape and hope to get a glimpse. Check out their website to learn more about visiting the horses. Just remember they are genuinely untamed, so admire their wild and free beauty from afar.

Stroll The Duck Boardwalk

A stroll along this mile-long wooden structure is a great way to spend the day exploring local storefronts. Duck is an upscale enclave of the Outer Banks, and its waterfront shopping is spectacular.

You’ll find an array of fine retail establishments and eateries. Appreciate the stunning scenery of the sound as you browse boutiques. Stop into Duck Cottage Coffee and Bookstore for a quick bite or beverage. Nearby you’ll find Duck Town Park, offering 11 acres of natural beauty to bask in nature. 

Surf The S-Curves


There are dozens and dozens of surf spots along the coast of the Outer Banks, but the most famous break is likely S-Curves. It’s located near the village of Rodanthe, and its name comes from the twists and turns of Highway 12.

If you’re a surfer, you’ll want to bring your board along the OBX, or you can rent a board in hot spots such as Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Rodanthe, and Duck. There aren’t as many services at the S-Curves, so it’s best to leave the break for more experienced surfers.

Have A Pint At a Local Brewery

Outer Banks Brewing Station is a vision of sustainable craft beer creation and one of the best breweries in North Carolina. Powered entirely by a wind turbine in their backyard beer garden, this brewery is the country’s first one of its kind.

Their taps provide a range of styles and always use seasonal ingredients to create a rotating roster. They also offer upscale pub grub and live music to pair with your pints. 

Lost Colony provides delicious craft creations in a charming and cool streetscape setting. They focus on British-style beers, using imported English malt, hops, and yeast to concoct authentic and inventive flavors. They serve eclectic gastropub fares featuring fresh seafood.  

Eat Your Way Across The Islands

Southern Harvest Soul Food

Plenty of local restaurants are well worth a stop across the Outer Banks. The Blue Point is a laidback local haunt in Duck, serving fresh seasonal and sustainable southern seafood favorites. Set right on the sound, the restaurant has a scenic view.

Tortuga’s Lie is famous among inhabitants and visitors alike. Creating classic Caribbean cuisines in Nags Head – the atmosphere and the food are bright, vibrant, and beachy. 

Kill Devil Grill makes traditional American dishes with an upscale twist. Dine out on derivatives of diner delicacies such as the cheesesteak eggrolls. It’s a foodie favorite of the area, for sure. There are so many OBX restaurants you must try multiple when visiting!

Visit The Roanoke Island Maritime Museum

The Roaknoke Marshes Lighthouse
The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

Set in the downtown waterfront of Manteo, this maritime museum focuses on the nautical heritage of the Carolina coast. It’s a functional boat shop that restores, preserves, and constructs historic ships. 

There are many educational and interpretive exhibits to engage with, such as a replica of the vessel that brought the Lost Colony to Roanoke Island in 1587. It’s a quaint museum celebrating the town’s spirit and boasting beautiful bay views. 

Walk Through The Elizabethan Gardens

The Elizabethan Gardens

These enchanting and elaborate gardens were designed in the English Elizabethan style to honor the colonists of centuries ago. You’ll find native and ornamental plants, perennials, and historic herbs as you wander these lush-walled landscapes. 

They host many seasonal events and festivals and house an indoor butterfly garden. The grounds cover over 10 acres. See if you can spot the ancient live oak and find a gazebo for a relaxing respite amongst the roses. This is one of the most romantic places to visit in North Carolina.

Explore The Graveyard of the Atlantic

Rough Waters Of Outer Banks

The Outer Banks has been the host of over 3,000 shipwrecks. The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is set in Hatteras village and pays homage to these disasters throughout maritime history. Extensive displays of artifacts recovered from these events, often caused by piracy, war, or weather. 

You’ll enjoy unique and enthralling exhibits such as the Evolution of Diving or one detailing the dramatic incident when a massive container washed ashore, spilling thousands of Dorito bags onto the shores of Frisco. 

Climb The Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Lighthouse

This OBX lighthouse is a historic structure built in 1872 and has since undergone three iterations. It’s surrounded by gorgeous marshland and maritime forest, making it a beautiful land to meander. Its frame is 156 feet tall with a light that reaches 19 miles out to sea. 

You can climb to the top to take in sweeping panoramas of the Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound. The keeper’s quarters remain intact and now function as a ranger station and information center. Its striped black and white exterior has become a symbol of the area.

Book A Fishing Charter From Oregon Inlet Marina

Fishing Charter At Sunrise

The Gulf Stream is only 15 miles out to sea from the Outer Banks and offers superb fishing. It’s argued that some of the best sport fishing in the world lies in these waters, and some monster fish are hooked yearly. Commercial and sport fishermen catch everything from Blue Fin Tuna to Sailfish.

The Oregon Inlet Marina in Nags Head is a hub for fishing charters. Visitors will find over 50 ships ready to tackle the open ocean. Various charters are available, from Gulf Stream fishing to sound fishing and full-day or half-day charters.

Depending on the season, you can hook various species, and anglers travel from all over to test their skills in these parts. With a charter, you do not need a saltwater fishing license, as it operates under the boat’s license. The full service will provide you with everything and expert advice for a fun day.

Book a Fishing Charter!

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

This is a protected 13-mile stretch of pristine barrier island shoreline. The Pea Island visitors’ center gives an excellent overview of the area’s ecology and the best ways to traverse the trails. Enjoy the serene seclusion of the beaches here. 

There is a lot of local wildlife, providing plenty of places perfect for birdwatching. Partake in other eco-friendly outdoor activities such as paddling. Enjoy the picturesque views overlooking the North Pond and the Salt Flats. 

Step Back In Time At The Whalehead Club

This expansive estate in historic Corolla overlooks the sparkling Currituck Sound and covers 39 acres. It’s a 1920s mansion admired for its art, nouveau architecture, and period decor. Restored to its former glory, it is a museum representing a bygone era. 

You’ll find opulent furnishings like Tiffany lights, a Steinway piano, and other antiques. Some even say the grounds are haunted, so take a self-guided tour at your own risk. It’s also a beautiful way to enjoy a sunset on the waterfront.

Marvel At the Ocracoke Lighthouse

Ocracoke Lighthouse

This is the oldest lighthouse still operating in the whole state. Constructed in 1823, its walls are five feet thick and reach 75 feet above sea level. Though you cannot climb it, it’s still an exciting piece of Outer Banks’ history.

Its unique white color sets it apart, and is made from a combination of lime, salt, rice, water, and glue. It’s a beautiful backdrop for some charming photo ops. 

Learn More At Frisco Native American Museum

Frisco Native American Museum

The Frisco Native American Museum is an educational space to honor the original inhabitants of the Outer Banks. It serves to preserve art and artifacts of local indigenous culture. You’ll discover baskets, headdresses, jewelry, and more. 

They often host community events to teach about or engage with the practices of this heritage. The grounds feature several acres of nature trails that wind through maritime forests, streams, and ponds. The gift shop is filled with unique handmade crafts you won’t find anywhere else. 

Go Surfing at Kitty Hawk

Surf At Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk is among the best spots for surfing on the East Coast. There are swells for seasoned surfers reaching heights up to four feet and those just beginning to learn. One such spot is locally known as Laundromat, most likely for its rough waves, which break closer to shore, sending surfers into the wash.

Check near the Avalon Pier for some sweet barrels when conditions are right. If you don’t feel brave enough to paddle out, grab a sandy spot and watch the surfers in action. Check out Kitty Hawk Kayak & Surf School or Outer Surf for those looking to learn

Family Fun At The Island Farm

A Sheep Looking Down

Island Farm is a living museum that offers many immersive attractions, from live interpreters to period costumes and hands-on skills workshops. Take a trip back to the mid-1800s and peek at what life was like back then.

They lived on the bounty of the surrounding waters and often farmed to feed their families. It was a simple existence for these hardy islanders. Enjoy demonstrations of traditional blacksmithing, weaving, and cooking. 

Peruse The Galleries

Aerial Photo Of Kill Devil Hills

In art galleries of the Outer Banks, an eclectic selection of art is available, from high-end oil paintings to handcrafted jewelry. Hang 12 Art offers open studio space for engagement through various workshops. 

Kill Devil Hills Co-op is an artist-operated gallery featuring works in various mediums, from metal to acrylic. Sea Green Gallery in Nags Head is chock full of funky art recycled from antiques and found objects. 

Sip Some Wine In Manteo

This is believed to be the oldest grapevine in all of North America. Estimated at 400 years old, it’s a twisted knot of tangled branches that takes up 120 feet. Probably planted by Croatian Native Americans or the settlers of the Lost Colony, it’s often referred to as the origin for all Scuppernong Grapes, the state fruit helping to produce wine for centuries. It’s one of the unique historic attractions on the banks. 

You can visit a wine-tasting room in downtown Manteo at Vineyards On the Scuppernong as well to enjoy a glass of sweet yet mildly acidic red made from this majestic mother vine.

Try Some Watersports in Waves

Waves is one of the small villages on the northern end of Hatteras Island and a haven for getting active out on the water. It offers the largest selection of watersports in the area. It’s a great way to enjoy the natural playground of the Outer Banks.

Kitty Hawk Kites and REAL Watersports are just a couple of the more prominent outlets available to get you equipped and enjoying the waves. Try stand-up paddleboarding, jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking, sailing, diving, windsurfing, or kiteboarding. 

Visit Portsmouth Island

Portsmouth Island

This uninhabited island is a rugged and remote escape from reality. Wander the secluded shores for a slice of pristine wilderness. It’s one of the last undeveloped islands along this coast and one of the best spots for shelling. 

The village is a ghost town, once a thriving community in the 1700s and since abandoned over hundreds of years as the economy shifted. Get a taste of old island life by visiting the restored church, schoolhouse, and coast guard station.

You can only reach the uninhabited island by boat, so you’ll need to bring your own or charter a small Carolina Skiff. There are a couple of operators that rent boats on Ocracoke Island. It’s best to reach the island across the Ocracoke Inlet, but it’s also possible from Cedar Island.

Find some Shipwrecks

Metropolis Shipwreck in Corolla
Metropolis Shipwreck in Corolla-Image by C Watts via Flickr / More Things To Do In The Outer Banks

Few things are as fascinating as shipwrecks and plenty of places to explore the nautical remains of a few marine disasters when visiting the Outer Banks. These treacherous waters have been the site of many disasters over the years, and the carnage is still visible today if you know where to look.

Among the most popular to discover are the Metropolis Shipwreck in Corolla, the Huron Shipwreck in Nags Head, and the Oriental Shipwreck in Pea Island.

Walk Through The Nags Head Woods Preserve

The Nags Head Woods Preserve
Photo Courtesy of Nags Head Woods Preserve

The Nags Head Woods Preserve is a great place to spend a day in the Outer Banks. There are miles of trails to explore, and you can see a variety of species of plant and animal life. You can also learn about the area’s history and see how the natural environment has changed over time. 

The preserve is open year-round, and there is no entrance fee. The preserve is well-maintained, and the staff is always happy to answer any questions you may have. So whether you’re looking for a place to hike, bird watch, or enjoy nature, the Nags Head Woods Preserve is worth a stop.

  • Address: 701 W Ocean Acres Dr, Kill Devil Hills (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday :6:00 am – 6:30 pm

Visit the North Carolina Aquarium On Roanoke Island

Kid In Aquarium

The North Carolina Aquarium is a great place to go for a fun-filled day of learning. There are plenty of exhibits to explore, including a coral reef, a shipwreck, and a touch tank where you can get up close and personal with some of the resident creatures. 

In addition, there are daily programs and events, such as animal feedings and behind-the-scenes tours, that offer a unique opportunity to learn about these adorable and fascinating marine inhabitants. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop on your way out; it’s stocked with souvenirs and educational materials that are sure to please any fish enthusiast.

Check Out The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum 

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
Photo Courtesy of Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum investigates the history of all the infamous shipwrecks in the Outer Banks over the years. There are a wide variety of exhibits to explore, including a diving bell, rescued artifacts from the wrecks, and a working lighthouse. 

The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, including classes on maritime history and boatbuilding. There is also a research center that’s open to the public with a library, archives, and a laboratory.

  • Address: 59200 Museum Dr, Hatteras (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Snap A Photo Of Futuro House

Futuro House
Photo Courtesy of The Futuro House

If you’ve never seen a house that looks exactly like a UFO, this is the stop for you. The Futuro House is a unique structure designed in the 1960s by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen as a winter ski chalet. However, its popularity waned in the 1970s, and today there are only a handful of these abodes remain in the world. 

This rare structure is just off Route 12 and offers visitors a chance to step back in time and experience a fascinating piece of architecture. You can explore the interior and learn about its history on a guided tour. There’s also a tiny gift shop on site selling souvenirs and local handicrafts.

  • Address: 52186 Morriss Ln, Frisco (GPS)

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
Image By Ken Lund via Flickr

Set in Manteo, the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is an ideal attraction for both nature lovers and history buffs. It’s located on the scenic and culturally significant Roanoke Island. The site is home to the remains of the first English settlement in America, which infamously existed from 1584 to 1590. 

Visitors can explore the archaeological remains of the fort, visit the on-site museum, and even take a ranger-led tour. The grounds also feature a beautiful nature trail, making it the perfect place to enjoy the fresh air and the stunning seafront scenery.

  • Address: 1401 National Park Dr, Manteo (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am -5:00 pm
  • Cost of Admission: Opens 24 hrs

See The Iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse 

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse 

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of many iconic nautical structures in the Outer Banks. If you can, it’s best to see them all! This is one of the tallest lighthouses in the entire country, standing over 200 feet high. It was first built in 1803 to help guide ships through the dangerous waters off the enchanting coast of North Carolina. 

Today, it is a popular tourist spot to visit and take photos. There are also several hiking trails nearby, as well as a museum that tells the history of the lighthouse and its keepers. You can even climb to the top of the lighthouse for a fantastic view of the surrounding area.

  • Address: 46379 Lighthouse Rd, Buxton (GPS)
  • Hours: 24 hrs

Visit The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is situated on the edge of the eponymous Sound. This towering seaside facade offers stunning panoramas overlooking the water and marshes. There are also a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy, such as hiking, biking, and kayaking. 

In addition, the lighthouse is home to several historical sites, including the remains of a Civil War fort. The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is a must-see for anyone in the Outer Banks.

  • Address: 104 Fernando St, Manteo (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Saturday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm | Saturday – Sunday: Closed

Find Wildlife in The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge 

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to visit if you want to see some of the state’s unique wildlife. The refuge is full of natural wonders and is home to various native fauna, including alligators, bears, deer, and otters. 

You can also go kayaking, fishing, and hiking in the refuge. The best time to visit Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is between March and November since the weather is cooler and the animals are more active.

  • Address: 100 conservation Way, Manteo (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9:00 am, Sunday: 12:00 pm -4:00 pm,

Pioneer Theater

Pioneer Theatre Manteo, NC
photo courtesy of Pioneer Theater  / Best Things To Do In The Outer Banks

The Pioneer Theater is widely considered to be a historic landmark in the Outer Banks. This hidden gem in Manteo boasts a retro old-school charm that’s hard to find elsewhere. It’s the oldest family-operated theater in the whole country! 

The English Tudor-style architecture makes it way more interesting than your average cinema-going experience. Some of the interiors have been remodeled in recent years, and you can see modern flicks at an affordable price.

  • Address: 113 Budleigh St, Manteo (GPS)
  • Hours: Starts at 7:00 pm per event schedule
  • Cost of Admission: $7 each

Fish from The Avalon Pier

Avalon Pier
Beautiful sunrise at Avalon Pier

The Avalon Pier is another historic OBX attraction. The charming wooden structure was built back in the early 20th century. Today it’s a popular spot for fishing, swimming, and enjoying the stunning views. It is also one of the best spots on the Outer Banks for watching the sunset! 

The pier is located in Avalon, just a short drive from the main town of Duck. It provides a fun and relaxing way to spend a day on the Outer Banks.

  • Address: 2111 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 6:00 am – 12:00 am

Laugh At Gutbusters Outer Banks Comedy Club

The Outer Banks Comedy Club is a great place to check out when looking for a good laugh. Located in Kill Devil Hills, the club features a variety of comedians who will have you rolling in the aisle. In addition to the comedy shows, the club hosts several special events throughout the year, including open mic nights and charity fundraisers. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the club’s history, check out the on-site museum, which contains a wealth of information about the club’s founding and early years, plus all the most famous performers that have graced their historic stage.

  • Address: 1601 S Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills (GPS)

Explore The Currituck Banks Reserve

Currituck Banks Reserve

If you’re searching for the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy some natural beauty, the Currituck Banks Reserve is worth a visit. This reserve is home to miles of sandy beaches, dunes, marshes, and maritime forests. 

There’s plenty to see and do here, from exploring the nature trails to indulging in a picnic on the beach. If you’re interested in the area’s history, you can discover more about its unique maritime culture at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education.

  • Address: Corolla, NC (GPS)
  • Hours: Year-round

Get Wet At The H2OBX Waterpark

H2OBX Waterpark
Photo Courtesy of H2OBX Waterpark

For some fun in the sun, away from the sand and the waves, head to the iconic H2OBX Waterpark. It’s a great place to cool off and go on a thrill ride. Daredevils and leisure seekers can rejoice with over 30 rides and attractions, including a wave pool, lazy river, and wild water slides. 

There are also a variety of food options available, as well as a gift shop. It’s an affordable way to entertain the whole family while in the Outer Banks.

  • Address: 8526 Caratoke Hwy, Powells Point (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday : 10:00 am- 6:00 pm
  • Cost of Admission: For tickets and passes information, click here.

Hang Out On The Rodanthe Pier

Rodanthe Pier 
Photo Courtesy of Rodanthe Pier

The Rodanthe Pier is a popular pick for both tourists and locals in the Outer Banks. It is located on the sound side of the island and offers stunning views of sparkling waterways everywhere you look. 

Visitors can wander the pier, relax on the beach, or sit back and watch the waves. The pier also has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s, when it was built as a wharf for loading and unloading ships. Today, it is one of the most popular spots for general fishing, which includes catching flounder, bluefish, and stripers.

  • Address: 24251 Atlantic Dr, Rodanthe (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday :6:00 am – 12:00 am

Play A Round of Mini Golf

Mini Golf

If you’re looking for a fun activity to do while you’re in the Outer Banks, consider playing putt putt! Mini golf is a great way to have outdoor fun with friends or family, and there are plenty of kitschy courses to choose from. Each spot has its unique beachy character, full of whimsical artwork, elaborate themes, and delicious concession stands. 

Whether you’re staying in Nags Head or Kill Devil Hills, there’s sure to be a mini golf course nearby. Lost Treasure Golf and Mutiny Bay Adventure Golf are a couple of our favorites to check out. 

  • Address: Lost Treasure Golf- 1600 N Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday : 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
  • Cost of Admission: For ticket prices, click here.

Drive The Outer Banks Scenic Byway 

Outer Banks Scenic Byway 
photo courtesy of Outer Banks Scenic Byway  / Best Things To Do In The Outer Banks

Whether you’re coming, going, or hopping from town to town, there’s no better way to travel than the Outer Banks Scenic Byway. It’s a 2.5-mile winding road that takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery on the East Coast. You’ll see the Atlantic Ocean on the east side and the spectacular Pamlico Sound on the west. 

In the north, it starts at Whalebone Junction and ends on NC 12 in Nags Head. Along the byway, you’ll see stunning views of the ocean, marshes, and dunes. You’ll also have the opportunity to stop at several different parks, nature reserves, golf courses, or scenic overlooks while driving all your worries away.

  • Address: North Carolina (GPS)

Catch One of Many Festivals 

Duck Jazz Festival
Duck Jazz Festival — Photo courtesy of Duck Jazz Festival

The Outer Banks is often a popular vacation destination because there’s always something to do here! Each year a variety of festivals take place to celebrate local coastal culture, including everything from fresh seafood to maritime history. Crowds flock from all over to participate in these annual events. 

There’s always an elaborate community party for every holiday, plus quirkier gatherings such as the Ocracoke Fig Festival, Duck Jazz Festival, or the OBX Brewtag. For a truly unique experience, check out the Blackbeard Festival. Named for the notorious pirate who called the Outer Banks home, the festival features a reenactment of Blackbeard’s final battle, as well as several other pirate-themed activities.

  • Address: 1200 Duck Rd, Kitty Hawk (GPS)

Have A Drink At The Outer Banks Distillery

Outer Banks Distillery
Photo Courtesy Of Outer Banks Distillery

The Outer Banks Distillery is located in Manteo, North Carolina, and is open for tours and tastings seven days a week. The distillery produces small-batch rum, vodka, and gin using all locally sourced ingredients. The rum is distilled from sugar cane molasses, while the vodka is made from sweet potatoes. The gin is flavored with juniper berries, coriander, and orange peel. 

All of the spirits are aged in American oak barrels. The state-of-the-art facilities also feature a tasting room and retail shop. You can try a flight of the three spirits or hand-crafted cocktails made with them.

  • Address: 510 Budleigh St, Manteo (GPS)
  • Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 am -9:00 pm, Sunday – Monday : Closed

Chicamacomico Life Saving Station 

Chicamacomico Life Saving Station 
Photo Courtesy Of Chicamacomico Life Saving Station

Located in Rodanthe, the Chicamacomico Life Saving Station is a legendary landmark worth having a look at. It was first built way back in 1874 and is composed of two stations and five outbuildings. It’s famous for being the only facility of its kind crewed by African Americans at the time. 

It’s one of the many important places to learn more about Black history in North Carolina. It’s also well known as the site where the heroic feat of rescuing all nine passengers from the sinking ES Newman during a destructive hurricane occurred. Today you can walk through the partially preserved space and visit the on-site museum to learn more. 

  • Address: 23645 North Carolina Hwy 12, Rodanthe (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Friday : 10:00 am – 5:00pm ,Saturday & Sunday: Closed
  • Cost of Admission: $8 General Admission, $7 Senior (65+) and Student rate, $6 Youth (ages 4-17), Free Kids under 4
About Natasha

Natasha moved to North Carolina for college years ago (but she's not trying to age herself here). Her days were spent reading a book on the beach and enjoying a cold glass of sweet tea in between classes at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Upon graduation, she met her partner, Cameron, and they traveled the world together crossing 85 countries and seven continents. After, many years of international travel they settled down a bit and launched Lost in the Carolinas to share their experiences about and travel tips on South Carolina and North Carolina.

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