Outer Banks, North Carolina
Kick back and enjoy the miles of sandy, secluded beaches while recharging their batteries.
Things to Do in the Outer Banks
- Watch the sunset at Jockey's Ridge -
This 426-acre park has the largest natural living sand dune on the East Coast. Two self-guided trails and nature programs are available year-round. Hang gliding, kite flying, hiking, a visitor's center, a small gift shop, museum, picnic facilities and restrooms are all on site at this wonderful attraction.
- Fly a replica of the Wright Brothers plane at the National Memorial -
Well, almost. Visit the site of the world's first controlled powered flight on December 17, 1903. The visitor center features full-scale reproductions of the Wright's 1903 Powered Flyer. You can snap a photo of yourself in the plane. A pavilion boasts special exhibits, which includes a replica of the 1902 Wright Glider.
- Climb the tallest brick lighthouse in America at Cape Hatteras -
The iconic black and white spiral landmark has served as a warning to generations of mariners navigating the Diamond Shoals. It was officially completed & lit in December 1870. Climb to the top for amazing views and some memorable photos!
- Visit a replica of the Elizabeth II -
Experience what life at sea was like aboard Elizabeth II. Those crossing the Atlantic aboard this famous ship would be the first English to attempt colonization in the new world.
- The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama -
A group of 117 weary men, women and children waded ashore on Roanoke Island in July 1587 to establish the first permanent settlement of its kind in the Americas. One of the settlers, John White, departed for England promising to return with more supplies. Three years later, John White returned to find the settlement deserted. The 117 pioneers had vanished and their fate remains unknown to this day.
- Relax on pristine beaches -
The wild and natural beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore tend to catch people by surprise; no one expects that you could drive for 20 to 30 minutes at a time down a two-lane coastal highway and see only rolling sand dunes, sea oats and a menagerie of wildlife. As one of the best places to just kick back and relax, be sure to take in the beach, ocean, sun and more during your visit to the Outer Banks, it is the perfect place to recharge your batteries!
You won't need any fancy clothes here but you do need to pack a variety of clothing to cope with the very mixed weather. Pack layers, bring a waterproof jacket and include good walking shoes for hikes and flip flops for the beach! Bathing suits and board shorts are great for the day, but you may want to bring some nicer beach attire to wear out to dinner. Bring a sweater or light jacket for windy evenings. You can buy just about anything you need in local stores. Many people can be seen wearing T-shirts with the famous local abbreviation for the area - OBX. Don't forget your camera for taking great photos and sunscreen for the beach! For more packing tricks, watch our Sundance Vacations Packing Tips video.
Virginia’s Norfolk International Airport — ORF — is the closest major airport to the Outer Banks with about a two hour drive. You will definitely need a vehicle to get around the Outer Banks and if you are looking to rent a car, check out these tips on the Sundance Vacations Travel Blog! Be prepared because the one main thoroughfare gets jammed with traffic. Try this — come on a Friday or a Sunday — the traffic on Sundays is 1/3 as much as on a Saturday but for some reason people like the Saturday to Saturday rentals and they just have to deal with awful traffic, while other days provide almost no traffic at all. Do yourselves a favor and live longer without the traffic frustrations! Also, since it is surrounded by water, traveling by ferry is a convenient and popular mode of transportation on the Outer Banks. If travelling from Hatteras to Ocracoke by ferry it will take 60 minutes and it's free!
Transportation to Destination
- Drive to Norfolk VA
- Drive to Virginia Beach
- Drive to Greenville NC
- Drive to Williamsburg VA
- Drive to Richmond VA
Amount of Time
- 2 Hours
- 2 Hours 20 Minutes
- 2 Hours 45 Minutes
- 3 Hours
- 3 Hours 30 Minutes
- The Wright Brothers began air travel in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
- Andy Griffith had a house Manteo.
- The pirate, Blackbeard was born in Ocracoke.
- The Outer Banks is the 3rd largest destination for weddings in the U.S., third only to Hawaii and Las Vegas. It's estimated that there are more than 3,500 weddings hosted in the Outer Banks every year!
- Lighthouses are popular landmarks in the Outer Banks and the Nc. coast has lighthouses every 40 miles.
- Before bridges were built to access the Outer Banks in the 1930s, the area was only accessible by boat.
- The wild ponies in Carova, NC.; some of the last wild horses to be found in the nation.
- Jockey’s Ridge used to be a horse racetrack.