100 Things to Do on the Outer Banks

If you’re new to visiting the Outer Banks, you might wonder what there is to do down here besides laying out and playing at the beach. Well, if that’s what you’re wondering, you’re in luck. Here is a list and brief description of 100 things to do here. There’s something for every taste and budget.

History

If you love history, then you’ll want to check out these great Outer Banks museums and attractions. Some are hands on and suitable for kids while others are more traditional in nature.

 

1.            Roanoke Island Festival Park (Fun N Sun Partner)

Step back in time to 1585 when the first settlers came over from England. Explore a life sized replica of a 16th century sailing vessel, talk to costumed interpreters, discover a Native American ‘village’ and colonial settlement and have a blast in the interactive hands on kids friendly museum.

 

2.            Whalehead Club  Whalehead Club Outer Banks

See how the other half lived in the 1920’s with this restored private home. Belonging to Mr. Knight, a wealthy industrialist, this home turned museum has some of the best examples of the art deco architecture and style. It even has an elevator for luggage.

 

3.            Frisco Native American Museum (Fun N Sun Partner)

This is museum has the distinction of being the largest private collection on Native American artifacts for public display in the country. That being said, it’s still pretty small, but not small on what you’ll see. Get ready to discover more about Native Americans than you ever knew was possible.

 

4.            Beachcombing Museum

Recently opened in their new spot, the Beachcombing museum features the collection of Nellie Myrtle, and her 40+ years of picking up treasures from the beach every day of her life. Its more than a collection of ‘stuff’, it’s a time capsule of history.

 

5.            Island Farm

It’s like Colonial Williamsburg only smaller. And set in the 19th century. This farm features animals like chickens, cows and banker ponies, as well as restored houses, a windmill and an ox cart ride. Costumed interpreters teach about chores back then, such as making soap, doing laundry or collecting eggs, and more. Best of all, it’s a hands on museum, so kids and adults can touch pretty much whatever they want.

 

6.            Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station (Fun N Sun Partner)

“You have to go out, no one said you had to come back,” That was the unofficial motto of the lifesavers; the predecessors to the Coast Guard. If you’d like to learn all about these brave men who protected our waters, then this is the place to go.

 

7.            Maritime Museum

This little gem of a museum is located, or I should say hidden in downtown Manteo. For such a small museum, it really takes you through the history of Outer Banks ships. It also offers classes such as sailing, knot tying and their ever popular but underutilized built a boat-in-a-day class.

 

8.            Wright Memorial  Wright Memorial Outer Banks

This is where flight started. Explore the museum, the history of flight, climb up to the monument and see the commutative boulders that started our love affair with the air.

 

9.            Fort Raleigh

Separate from the Lost Colony, this small museum and historic site offers a history of the colonists as well as the mound where a fort once stood. The best thing about this park is the ranger talk, so be sure not to miss it.

 

10.   The Archives

Now, I’ll admit, this attraction isn’t for everyone. In fact, if you’re not a history lover, you’re going to think it’s downright dull. But if you love both books and history, then there’s no better place than the archives. This state run research facility has all kinds of empherma relating to the Outer Banks from rare books to court cases, to deeds, antique maps in more There’s even a little known book about the hunt for Blackbeard’s treasure.

 

11.   Wild Horse Museum

This museum pays homage to the wild horses. It not only shows their history, but they also have trinkets to buy to help the horse. Everyone’s favorite activity is ‘paint the wooden horse.’ These half life sized flat horses are purchased, painted and displayed. It serves as both a testament to your (and your child’s) creativity, but the proceeds help the wild horses. Occasionally they will also have a real Banker Pony you can pet. This horse was taken from the heard for medical reasons. Even after the horse is better, he cannot be returned.  

 

Lighthouses

The Outer Banks is home to 5 distinct lighthouses spread out all over the islands. So if you’re a lighthouse fan, you’ll want to add these to your bucket list.

 

12.   Bodie Island  Lighthouse on the Outer Banks

Pronounced ‘Body’ (supposedly because that’s where the ‘bodies wash up’) this lighthouse has an attached wooden walkway nature trail. This lighthouse usually rotates the years you can climb it, so be sure to check. However, even when you can’t climb it, the impressive structure and surrounding grounds always makes it worth the trip.

 

13.   Marshes Light

Of all the lighthouses on the list, this one is the only non-original. Built in 2004, this is a replica lighthouse of one that was out in the sound for decades. It’s free to enter and has a great park, playground and all of downtown Manteo at the end of its dock.

 

14.   Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

This lighthouse has the distinction of being the he tallest all concrete lighthouse in the world. It’s also the most recognizable with its black and white candy cane stripes. This lighthouse is usually open for climbing, so be sure to check.

 

15.   Corolla Lighthouse

This was the last lighthouse built before the government decided that lighthouses outlived their usefulness. It’s also the only unpainted light house. The third thing that makes this lighthouse special is that it’s the only one not owned by some branch of government. As such, it keeps different houses. It’s open for climbing.

 

16.   Ocracoke Lighthouse

Standing barely 65 feet tall, this is the smallest lighthouse on the Outer Banks. In fact for an ocean lighthouse, it might be the smallest one anywhere. This lighthouse needs a day trip to get to, but that’s part of the whole ‘lighthouse experience.’  Be sure to bring a camera and snap a picture of a feral ‘ocracat’ a cat rumored be the descendants of Blackbeard’s ships’ cats.

 

Aerial Adventures

The Outer Banks is First in Flight, so it’s no surprise there are so many aerial related things to do here on the Outer Banks.  

 

17.   Hang-gliding

The Outer Banks is home to the largest Hang Gliding School in the world, so if you want to hang glide, now’s your chance. Kitty Hawk Kites offers tandem Hang-gliding this way even people with no experience are guaranteed a safe and thrilling ride.

 

18.   Fly A Replica Wright Glider

If you’ve ever seen the Wright Flyer and wished you could recreate that experience, you can the Wright glider experience is where you can fly your very own replica of the original flyer. Get set to have an adventure of a lifetime.

 

19.   Kite Flying

With its constant winds and low tree ratio, The Outer Banks is one of the best places in the world to fly kites. Every year, tons of people fly them on the beach. What’s even more fun is taking your kite to Jockey’s Ridge to fly it. Donâ??t’ have a kite? No problem. We have an entire store for that.

 

20.   Plane Tours  Plane Tours

Depending on the plane, this kind of air tour can accommodate everyone from one person to a small family. Or you could choose a biplane and take turns going up. Everyone loves an antique style biplane.

 

21.   Helicopter Tours

These types of tours are perfect for the small family. The average helicopter holds 3 passengers. Because helicopters donâ??t’ go as high as planes, you are able to a get a view of the Outer Banks that few people do.

 

22.   Skydiving

Get set for the most heart pounding thing you’ll ever do. Not only will you get a great view of the Outer Banks, you’ll get an even better on as you’re plunging to earth a spit second for the safety of a parachute snaps you back. We do tandem skydiving here, so the never-done-this-before are more than welcome.

 

23.   Kiteboarding

Ready to fly high? Kiteboarding combines the best of kite flying and boarding except that you are the kite.  Fly gracefully over the sound then get set to get wet as you come down. It’s an immersive experience.

 

24.   First Flight Harnessed Adventure Park  Adventure Park Outer Banks

A fairly recent addition to the OBX, the harnessed adventure parks features zip lines, climbing ropes, in obstacle courses and more. There’s one in Nags Head and one in Corolla, so no matter which side of the beach you’re on, you can have some high flying fun.

25.   OBX Jet Pack

You’ve seen them in the movies and on TV, and now’s your chance to try one out. Of course, this quite like the ones you’ve seen in movies. This one only works over water, but the feeling is incredible.

 

Live Entertainment

Of course, there’s a variety of live entertainment here on the Outer Banks too including family friendly options after you’ve had a full day at the beach. So get ready to enjoy some nighttime fun that doesn’t go too late.

26.   Lost Colony (Fun N Sun Partner)

Go see the oldest outdoor drama in the country about the country’s first colony on the very site where they disappeared.  Seeing the Lost Colony is an experience like you’ve never seen before. Learn history in the most interesting way possible.

 

27.   Character Dinner At The Lost Colony

If you want to go all immersive at the show then sign up for a character dinner. Not only do you get to meet the cast before the show, you get a behind the scenes tour, dinner, and VIP seating. Your kids will love meeting ‘the queen’ and all the others too.

 

28.   Murder Mystery Dinner Theater (Explore The Shore Partner)Outer Banks Mystery Dinner

Get set for murder. Actually, get set to laugh in the most hilarious murder mystery dinner theater you’ve ever seen. With corny jokes, strange stories and lively cast (except for the one who’s dead of course) you’ll have a great time figuring out ‘whodunit’. And dinner is even included.

 

29.   Live Music at the Restaurants

The Outer Banks has a lot of bands and just as many venues to see them. Many of the restaurants offer live music. Our very own vacation planner Graham Outten is a musician at these restaurants, and is the best resource for who’s playing where when.

 

30.   Ghost Tours (Explore The Shore Partner)

The Outer Banks is haunted; at least that’s what they say. Even though that might not be true, we certainly have a lot of ghost stories. A ghost tour through downtown Manteo is the perfect  opportunity to hear them all.  Of course, we recommend the OBX Ghost Tours; the only one that uses ghost detectors and has hilarious fun.

 

31.   Outer Banks Comedy Club

Come see the longest running season comedy club in the country. This is the show where comics like Ray Romano and Chris Rock got their start before they were famous. Who knows you might even see the next up and comer. Best of all, the show changes weekly so it’s never the same show twice.

 

32.   Concerts in Duck Park 

The Duck Park is home to all kinds of events from morning shows to yoga, to kid’s shows and more. But at night there are often concerts in the park.  Be sure to check them out.

 

33.   Shows at Festival Park

Festival Park features kid’s shows during the day and often more mature shows at night.  They’ve had everything from blues stars to Chinese acrobats. Be sure to check their schedule to see a full list of events.

 

Fishing

The Outer Banks has attracted sports fisherman from way back. Today, though there are more regulations, there are also an abundance of fish. So now let’s look at all your fishing options.

 

34.   Surf Fishing

This is the easiest way to fish; just grab a pole, some bait and a license and you can fish anywhere on the beach.  Great for kids and adults alike.

 

35.   Pier Fishing  Pier Fishing

The Outer Banks has an abundance of piers you can use to fish. This provides much better fishing than the surf because fish are naturally to piers for the food and perceived protection from other fish. Best of all, piers have you covered with the license. The Outer Banks Pier, in South Nags Head is one of our Fun N Sun partners, so you can fish for free.

 

36.   Inshore Charter Boat Fishing

These types of charters stay in the Sound where the waves are smaller. Since smaller waves are more easily tolerated by the very young and the elderly, it’s the perfect family outing. You will catch fish, but like everything else in the sound, they are smaller too.

 

37.   Offshore Charter Boat Fishing

These ocean charters can take you to fish around wrecks and closer to shore. It’s the perfect ‘first charter’ if you’re not sure a gulf stream is right for you or if you only want to do a half day.

 

38.   Gulf Stream Fishing

If you’re ready to go big, then there’s nothing like gulf stream fishing. You could catch Marlin, Tuna, and all kinds of large fish just perfect for eating or bragging rights. Whatever you catch, it’ll be a blast.

 

39.   Kayak Fishing

Not one to be left out, Kayak fishing has grown in popularity here. Basically it’s like boat fishing, only you’re doing it from a kayak. Most people kayak fish in the sound. The more experienced ones do it in the ocean.

 

40.   Crabbing

Though not technically a fish, crabbing is a great way to spend time with the family. All you need is a net, some twine and some chicken necks. Or you could buy the entire crabbing kit at Bob’s Bait And Tackle.  That works too.

 

Animal Related Adventures

The OBX is home to thousands of animals you donâ??t see every day, including nutria, wolves, coyotes, bobcats, dolphins, wild horses and more. If you’re an animal lover, then you’re going to love all the things there are to do involving animals on the Outer Banks.

 

41.   Wildlife Education Centers

Manteo and Corolla each host a Wildlife Education Center as part of the park service. Both are free to get in and have their own personality. One features a huge tank full of sound fish and an antique decoy collection, while the other features an indoor scavenger hunt and an aerial tour simulator. Both have some hands on activities for kids and while it’s not an all-day even, there are plenty of selfie spots and is definitely worth a stop.

 

42.   Birding With The Rangers

The Outer Banks hosts over 1000 different species of native and migratory birds. In the mornings, Pea Island offers birding tours with a ranger. You’ll get to go on great, but not commonly used trails and know exactly what bird you’re looking at.

 

43.   Wild Horse Tour (Fun N Sun Partner)  Wild Horse Tour

Living wild and free for nearly 500 years is the wild horses of Corova. It you want to see them, you’ll need a 4x drive and some luck. If you want to be guaranteed to see them, then take a horse tour. Horse tour guides are also trackers, so they’ll know where to find the horses.

 

44.   Segway Tours

No longer the domain of mall cops, these specially designed big wheeled Segways are built to go off road. You have a choice of tours, either through the Corolla historic shopping village or to the Outer Banks Outback where the wild horses are. Never ridden on a Segway? No problem. All tours include instruction.

 

45.   Red Wolf Howlings

The Outer Banks is home to the last remaining red wolves in the world. While no one can guarantee you’ll see these wild animals, hearing them is practically guaranteed.  Howlings take place  few times a season, where a ranger takes you out at night and you howl at the wolves and wait for them to howl back. Who knows, you might even see one.

 

46.   Dolphin Tour (Fun N Sun Partner)

Want to see dolphins? You could rent a boat and take your chances or you could go on a dolphin tour, where you are guaranteed to see dolphins.  Watching these ocean mammals paly in the water is one of the true joys in life.

 

47.   Alligator River

This wildlife preserve is home to a variety of animals, including nutria, red wolves, alligators, black bear and more. Of course a preserve isn’t’ like a zoo. You may or may not see animals when you visit, but that’s part of the fun.

 

48.   Alligator River Tram Tour

This is a tour run by the rangers in an open air tram. It’s perfect if you want to explore without subjecting your car to off road conditions. There’s a cost for reservations, but showing up is free, as long as you’re willing to take your chances that there might not be a seat.

 

49.   Alligator River Kayak Tour

Are there alligators in the alligator river? Yes. Are you likely to see them? Well, taking a Kayak tour greatly increases your odds since you are where they are. Donâ??t worry. They just think your kayak is a bigger gator, so they won’t’ bother you.

 

50.   Aquarium On Roanoke Island

Rated as one of the top ten best small aquariums on trip advisor, our local aquarium has features usually only seen in big ones; like holograms, jellyfish and sharks you can pet.

 

51.   Ride Horses On The Beach (Explore the Shore Partner)

If you’ve always dreamed of horseback riding on the beach, now’s your chance. Equine Adventures has a horse for every skill level; from the never-ridden-before to the advanced rider.  It takes you from the beach to the forest in the ride of a lifetime.

 

52.   Go Ghost Crabbing

Ghost crabs come out at night blend into the sand and scamper when you shine light at them. They are great fun to chase for kids and the kids at heart. Take their pictures and post them on Instagram and say you’ve ‘seen a ghost’ a ghost crab, that is.

Amusements

Looking for something else to do besides the beach? Donâ??t’ worry, we have all kinds of amusements and fun here. Here are just a few selections.

 

53.   Mini Golf (Fun N Sun Partner)  Mini Golf

From an ultra-modern course with trains, to indoor 3d golf, to the courses of yesteryear, the Outer Banks has mini golf courses galore. We even have the last grass mini golf course left in the country.  Of course, if golfing and ice cream is more your speed, then check out DQ mini golf.  Loser buys the ice cream.

 

54.   H2OBX Water Park (Discounted Tickets Available)

Get set to get wet. The Outer Banks newest waterpark features a wave pool, thrilling slides, a lazy river and special sections for tweens and babies.

 

55.   Laser Tag

Made popular on HIMYM, now you can have your own laser tag adventure. This attraction has recently had some work done and is now ready for business. It’s the perfect thing for those rainy days.

 

56.   Escape Room (Fun N Sun Partner)

If you’ve always wanted an adventure like you’ve seen on TV, now’s your chance. Our partner in Currituck can provide a murder mystery, a jewel heists, witch’s lair, a pirates cave and more. Be sure to check them out.

 

57.   Pirate Adventure

If your child has always wanted to be a pirate now’s their chance. This attraction features a full sized ‘pirate ship’ dress up, a treasure hunt as ‘sea’ (really the sound) and dastardly villain pirate out to stop them. It’s a good time for all, and there are even water cannons.

 

58.   Movies

Upset about missing that great new release? Don’t worry. We have movies. The megaplex offers all the modern releases, including 3D and Fathom Events. The one in Corolla is a dinner-and-a-movie type. Finally the one the in Manteo is the oldest family owned theater in the country.

 

59.   Movies On The Sound (Duck Park)

Looking for a great family event? In season, the Duck Park offers movies on the sound, an older, family friendly movie where you get to sit on the grass, picnic, watch a movie and have a great time.

 

60.   Children At Play Museum  

If you have little ones, then you’ll want to check out this special museum for kids under 5 where play is celebrated. There’s a busy wall, a boat to catch ‘fish’ and use their imaginations. Bringing an older sibling who finds this stuff boring? No problem. The video games are upstairs.

 

61.   Grave Digger Monster Truck

Second only to Bigfoot in its fame, Grave digger is the most beloved monster Truck. Dennis Anderson and Son are often found at the Digger site for photo ops and questions. Sometimes, you can even take a ride a on a Grave Digger yourself. Your kids, and the kid inside you, will love it.

 

62.   Bumper Cars And Boats

Step back to childhood with bumper cars, one of the oldest attractions on the Outer Banks. It has all the bumper car goodness you remember and now can share with your kids. And donâ??t’ forget the bumper boats. We have those too.

 

63.   Turf’s Up

The newest attraction at the Outer Banks features a variety of virtual games from golf to carnival games to Zombie Dodgeball. If the day is gray then this a great place to play.

 

64.   Golf (Fun N Sun Partner)

The Outer Banks is home to some world class golf courses. Among them are the Carolina Club and The Pointe.  Since they are also our Fun N Sun Partners, you get to play a round for free. What could be better than that?

 

65.   Climb Jockey’s Ridge  Climb Jockey's Ridge

The largest all natural sand dune on the east coast is a world unto itself. Kids love climbing it and rolling down. Even the dogs love it, and they are welcome. The view from the top is amazing, and there’s no better place to watch a sunset.

 

Art

If you’re the creative or cultured type, then you’re going to love checking out these  art themed galleries shops and activities. 

 

66.   Deja New

Everything old is new again, and that’s certainly true here.  This gallery takes old, word out furniture and gives it an overhaul making it new modern and fresh. They also have classes on journaling and reposing old furniture. This is upcycling at its finest.

 

67.   Dare County Arts Council

Located in Downtown Manteo in a 1904 courthouse, the Arts Council displays artists from all over the Outer Banks from painting to sculpture to so much more. And best of all, it’s all original. There’s no mass produced anything here.

 

68.   Gallery Row

The anchor store of this section of gallery’s is Glenn Eure’s Ghost Fleet Gallery, feature the original art of him and others. It also features Jewelry by Gail, whose creations have been worn on the red carpet by movie stars.

 

69.   Seaside Art Gallery

This gallery is so old it has a PO Box of 1. It not only showcases famous artists from around the world, it has the largest selection of antique jewelry and animation cells on the Outer Banks.

 

70.   Have Professional Photos Taken On The Beach

The best souvenirs are memories. They never go out of style and it always the perfect fit for everyone. There are many photographers on the beach that can make this happen.  Not only are the pictures something to treasure, the memories you make while you’re creating them are even better.

Fun Classes

Ready to learn something new? Then take advantage of one of these super fun classes, great for singles, kids or families.

 

71.   Wine And Pant

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to paint with a group of likeminded people and having a great time, now’s your chance. Several galleries offer wine and paint where you can bring your own wine and paint something, like your pet, or a lighthouse, and have a great time.

 

72.   Paint Your Own Pottery-Glazin Go Nuts

Ok, so this is less of a class, but they do have books and it’s fun for the entire family. You simply go in, pick out your time and paint it. They have plates, banks, ornaments, and all kinds of fun stuff. You can pick it up at the end of the week or they will ship it to you.

 

73.   Jewelry Making- Cloud 9

This is the oldest Jewelry making supply store on the Outer Banks. Throughout the year, she has various classes on how to make certain types of jewelry. Wire wrapping your found sea glass is the favorite, but she has many others.

 

74.   Mermaid Academy

If your child loves mermaid stories, here’s their chance to become one.  Basic swimming skills are all that’s needed to teach your child to swim like a mermaid. Tails are provided and also available to buy.

 

75.   In Home Cooking Lessons

Did you know that there are chefs that will come to your home to teach you how to cook? It’s great fun for the whole family regardless of age, and you even get to eat your lesson plan.

 

76.   Drone School

It’s time to go back to school, drone school that is. If you’re ever wanted to learn how to fly a drone, now’s your chance.  No drone? No problem. The class provides ones to practice with as well as ones to purchase after. Are you ready to learn about this picture taking machine?

 

77.   Paddleboard Yoga

That’s right. Here at the Outer Banks, we do everything on the water, including yoga. Yoga on a paddleboard over the majestic sound provides the perfect way to test your skills and commune with nature.

 

78.   Wine University

If you love wine, or would like to know more about it, then you’re in luck. Several places here including wineries and Chips offer ‘wine universities’ a fun class that teaches you about wines, pairings and more.

 

Shopping

There’s no enclosed mall at the Outer Banks, but that doesn’t mean there’s no place to shop. In fact, there are tons of places. Here are a few of them.

 

79.   The Antique Mall

Also known as the Central Square Shopping Center, this outdoor cluster mall holds a variety of antique shops. It contains tons of wonderful antiques dating back centuries.

 

80.   Tanger Outlet Mall

If you love outlet malls, you’ll love ours too. It features a Wilson’s leather, a discount bookstore, a dress barn, a Talbot’s and all kinds of other stores. There’s even a Tropical Smoothie so you don’t have to leave to get something to eat.

 

81.   The Town of Duck

The 1.5 miles of Downtown Duck is a rarity; a town with absolutely no chain stores or restaurants. You can use the Duck soundside boardwalk to walk anywhere in Downtown Duck, and shop dozens of boutique shops and mom and pop restaurants.

 

82.   Downtown Manteo

This town located in the county seat is tucked away from the beach but is still a great place to shop. Boutiques, antique stores, art galleries, great places to eat and a waterside view, what could be better?

 

83.   Wings

This the quintessential tourist store on the Outer Banks. It has bathing suits, towels and more souvenirs than you can shake a stick at. This isn’t boutique type stuff it’s pure kitsch and it’s glorious.

 

Water Adventures

Now we get to the reason everyone comes here- the water.  If you or your kids are water babies, then you’re going to love this list of water adventures.

 

84.   Pontoon Boat (Explore The Shore Partner)

Typical chartered boats are for fishing or exploring. However, the OBX Pontoon Man does so much more than that. He takes you fishing, crabbing and tubing, and even to some islands off the beaten path if thereâ??s time. You can rent the boat, complete with captain, for a full day, half day or 2 hour rental. A good time will be had by all and you always come home with crabs.

 

85.   Jet Skis (Explore The Shore Partner)

Imagine the wind in your hair, the spray on your face. This is all possible with jet skis. It’s just a like driving a fast car without any of the annoyances of traffic. Are you ready to Jet Ski? You can rent one at Corolla & Duck Watersports.

 

86.   Parasailing (Explore The Shore Partner)

Parasailing is a lot like Kiteboarding except you can do it in tandem. There are parasails rigs for up to 4 people, making it the perfect family friendly activity. Corolla & Duck Parasail will be happy to find the right parasail rig for you.

 

87.   Kayaking (Fun N Sun Partner)  Kayaking on the Outer Banks

Kayaking is a great way to see  parts of the Outer Banks youâ??ve never seen before as well as venture into place that most people miss. If youâ??re new to kayaking, then youâ??ll want to take some lessons with the Kitty Hawk Kayak and Surf School. If you already know what youâ??re doing, then you can just rent a kayak and explore.

88.   Stand Up Paddle Boarding ( Fun N Sun Partner; )

AKA SUPing, is the newest water craze to hit the OBX.  If you have a decent sense of balance, you can cruise the sound in style. Looking for something more extreme? Surfers do this in the ocean. Of course if you need lessons, check out the Kitty Hawk Kayak and Surf School

 

89.   Scuba Diving

If youâ??re a certified scuba diver, then get set to have some fun. There are plenty of wrecks off our coat that you can dive on and thereâ??s even a scuba school so you can go out with a group. If youâ??ve always wanted to swim with the sharks, the aquarium lets you get in their big tank cage free to swim with these alpha predators.

 

90.   Surfing (Fun N Sun Partner)

Surfing soothes the soul so much that we have a Surfing for Autism event here every summer.  But Surfing is great for everyone, and if you don’tâ?? have a board, you can rent one from one of our many surf shops. Arenâ??t sure about your balance? Then boogey boards might be right for you. Those are a cheap buy in any tourist store.  Be sure to check out Kitty Hawk Kayak and Surf School if you need lessons.

 

91.   Downeast Rover

This 55 foot topsail schooner is leaving out of Manteo is one of the best ways to see the Outer Banks sound. It holds 25 people, but if your groups not big enough to rent the whole thing, don’t worry, they also have daily charters that will take out multiple combined groups of any size.

 

Libations

Looking for some fun with adult drinks? Here are the best choices for good time together sans kids.

 

92.   Winery Tour Complete With Tasting

Sanctuary Vineyards offers a free tour and tasting in season. You’ll taste some of their award winning wines, see the vines, learn about the process of winemaking and get a special price on bottles to take home.

 

93.   Distillery Tours

The Outer Banks was home to the first craft brewers in the state. Today, there are several local breweries, and many offer tours of their operations. A few even have tastings.

 

94.   Metropolis

Globally inspired food and cocktails are waiting to greet you at the Outer Banks first and only Martini Bar. They feature tapas instead of dinner so you’ll always have room for drinks.

               

95.   Sanctuary Vineyard Voyage

This unique experience takes you by pontoon boat to across the sound to Sanctuary Vineyards, an award winning winery. From there, you’ll get to sample an assortment of about 15-20  wines including dessert wines, ice wine and more.  It’s followed by a tour of the vineyard and a boat ride back.

 

96.   TRiO

This unique restaurant is the best way to sample exotic wines without purchasing a bottle. You simply buy a prepaid card, and then go through and choose any wine of your choice by the full glass, half glass or quarter glass.  It also has great sandwiches, and an assortment of fancy cheeses.

 

Unique Dining Experiences

Dining out should be an adventure. While there are plenty of great places to eat out here on the OBX, these restaurants were chosen because of their cool themes.

 

97.   Big Al’s  

Step back in time with this unique 1950s restaurant complete with red seats, checkerboard floors and milkshakes you won’t believe.  Happy Days are here again.

 

98.   Diggers Dungeon

If you love monster trucks, you have to eat at Digger’s Dungeon in Currituck. It’s official dinner of Grave Digger; the second most famous Monster Truck in the world.  Grave Digger is on site for photo ops and sometimes Dennis Anderson or his son drop by too.

 

99.   Farmer To Fork -Weeping Radish

You might remember this restaurant from its stint in Manteo. Today, it’s over in Currituck, all its German trappings gone except for one thing; the love of good fresh food. The food is all sourced locally, right down to the onsite butcher. So if you’re looking for the best, freshest food in town, you’ve found it.

 

100.   Grandstaff and Stein

This new restaurant is done in the style of a 1920’s speakeasy, complete with an entrance behind the bookcase. You have to know the password to gain entry, but it’s posted on their Facebook page daily.  Whisper the name and enjoy food and mixed drinks the 1920’s way.

So that’s our list of a 100 things to do on the Outer Banks. What did you think? Did your favorite make it the list?  Don’t forget if you need a place to stay so you can do all these, check out our fine selection of homes.

 

Halloween on the Outer Banks

Halloween or October in general is a great time to visit the Outer Banks; not only is the weather usually perfect- not too hot or too cold, but we have some great Halloween themed attractions in the area that you’re going to love!

 

Island Farm Pumpkin Patch (October 7, 14, 21, and 28)

Even though you’re not home, you can still make pumpkin flavored memories. The Island Farm is open Saturdays in October and has the perfect pumpkin for you. It starts with an ox drawn wagon ride by the last yoke trained ox in the country.  The cart takes you to the pumpkin patch were you can pick out your pumpkin. Plus, the Island Farm has appropriate fall themed farm activities such as stuffing a scarecrow, making a corn husk doll, candle making and more. And don’t forget the animals, they’ll be there too. The Island Farm has horses, chickens, sheep, and more.

Wanchese Woods Haunted Trail (Oct 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28)

Fridays and Saturdays in October it’s Haunted Woods time. Located in an actual woods with ‘history’, the woods is an old school style haunt with people, special effects, jump scares and more. It’s not for those with weak hearts, those who scare easily or who are claustrophobic. But, if you love a good scare, then you’re going to LOVE the Haunted Trail.  Be aware, because of its intense nature, a waiver is required.  (Also, they only take cash)

The International Halloween Film Festival (Oct 26-28)

Featuring 40 independent horror films from around the world, these short films are guaranteed to get you in the Halloween spirit. Some of the headline films are 3 Dead Trick or Treaters (Canada)  Sightings (North Carolina), The Barberâ??s Cut  (U.K.) and a stop-motion animated The Funhouse Waltz from New Zealand.  Many directors and actors will be on hand to talk shop about the films.  It’s perfect for the horror film lover and movie buff. Tickets are available for single days or all three.

Brewtäg (Oct 28)  Brewtag

Ok, this one’s not very “spooky” but they do always have it around Halloween, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it.  The Brewtag features inventors who are trying to get mini kegs to fly. You’ll be treated to all kinds of flying machines, and the kegs either fly, or fall with style.  It’s family fun for all, with music, food, fun and flying kegs. What could be better?

Halloween Carnival â?? (Oct. 28)

Held at Kmart, this carnival features games, costume contests and great prizes. You’ll also have a chance to see Halfmoon Hollow display of handmade, custom built Halloween animatronics and decorations on exhibit in a special walk-through experience. You’ll be amazed and have a lot of fun.

Halloween Tea Party (Oct 28)

It’s tea party time. The Spice & Tea Exchange is hosting a tea party where you’ll get to sample all four of their specialty Fall teas. You can also make your own candy apple at the candy apple bar, and partake of some frighteningly good treats. This event is perfect for any little girl (or boy) who loves tea parties or any adult who just loves tea.

Outer Banks Halloween Parade of Costumes (Oct 29)

It’s the 4th annual Halloween Parade at Kelly’s. This family friendly event features trick or treating, surprise guests, live entertainment, the haunted hearse, Star Wars 501st Legion, and the biggest costume contest in the county. Everyone is welcome, even dogs, and they can dress up too, or even be in the parade.  There are close to a dozen prizes you could win and all kinds of categories you could win them in.

Halloween At The WaterFront Shops  (Oct 29)

Duck does Halloween in this fun event put on by the Merchants Association.  Trick or treat in broad daylight at the shops along the boardwalk. Get a henna tattoo, caricatures, take a hay ride, participate in a raffle and enjoy the spooky music of DJ Allen.  It’s family fun at its best.

Trick-Or-Treat Night Fundraiser (Oct 28)

Though this technically takes place at First Flight Elementary Schoole and is a local favorite, it is open to all. You can trick or treat through the halls, see the haunted house, or participate in the cake walk.  There are also fun activities for kids like glitter tattoos, glow necklaces, rock painting, and a photo booth.  There’s also a silent auction for adults. Pizza and hot dogs are the kid friendly fair at this event. Best of all, your entry fee supports local education and the food pantry.

Trunk Or Treat (Oct 31)

If you’re spending  the actual day of Halloween with us but the kids are sad over missing traditional Trick or Treat night, donâ??t worry, there is an alternative. Corolla hosts Trunk or Treat at the Whalehead Club. Locals and companies gather in the parking lot and have their trucks filled with all kinds of goodies, from candy to trinkets. The kids can go from trunk to trunk (instead of door to door) to collect their treasure and have all the fun of Halloween even though they’re not at home. Best of all, the Whalehead Club vets everyone who wants to participate, so you can be assured of safety. 

halloween parade

5 Tips for Booking your Next Outer Banks Vacation

Planning a family vacation may seem like a daunting task with trying to include all of the things you want to see and do on your trip.  Here are 5 tips to get the most out of your next OBX vacation — and save a little money along the way! 

 

1.  Book Earlyâ??The best homes book up early, so itâ??s important to start your home search as early as you can.  Make a list of the â??must-haveâ?? amenities, location, and party size to get started.  Take advantage of the Early Booking Discounts.  

2.  Flexible Payment Plans â?? Another advantage of booking early (besides getting the home you want) is the ability to use the Flexible Payment Plan to budget your vacation payments.  You can book with as little as 25% down and then make monthly payments with no interest and no fees for using your credit card or debit card. 

3.  Specials and Discounts â?? You can save even more on your Outer Banks vacation by utilizing the year round Specials and Discounts offered.  Being an Educator, over age 65, or a Local Hero including Military, Police, Fire, and EMS will get you an additional 10% Savings on participating homes.  All thatâ??s needed to qualify is proof of service which is usually just a copy of your ID.    

4.  Plan Activities â?? Once youâ??ve found the perfect home, the fun part of the vacation planning begins.  Experience all of the activities the Outer Banks has to offer with our Fun N Sun Activities Program and Explore the Shore Discount Program.  The Fun N Sun Program entitles guests to one free participating activity each and every day of their stay.  Play a round of golf, take a wild horse safari, explore the Elizabethan Gardens, and more â?? for FREE!  The Fun N Sun Program is a value of over $400 per day of your vacation.  The Explore the Shore Discount Program offers savings on OBX restaurants, shops, and even more activities. 

Donâ??t forget about the OBXâ??s newest attraction â?? H2OBX Waterpark!  Atlantic Realty guests Save even more by purchasing tickets directly from our site with our exclusive guest discount.  This amazing water park is a â??Must Doâ?? on your next Outer Banks vacation.  Your family will not be disappointed in the variety of water slides, wave pools, lazy river, good food and drinks, and friendly staff that H2OBX Waterpark provides. 

5.  Relax â?? Now that the hard part is over, itâ??s time to relax and count down the days to your Outer Banks Vacation!  

 

Let’s Get Started!  Begin your Outer Banks Vacation Search Here!  

Shelly Island

If you’ve been watching the news lately, you will have noticed the appearance of a new “island” right off The Point, by Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Called “Shelly Island”,  this massive land structure seemed to appear out of nowhere. It received national attention and many people have come out just to see it. There have also been some daring rescues from it, including a human chain. But what is it, and where did it come from? Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Shelly Island.

Where Did It Come From? 

Aerial photos reveal that Shelly Island has come and gone since at least the 1940’s. The reason it made the news this year was because it was largest incarnation of this ‘island’ to date. It also seemed to pop out of nowhere fully formed. That’s not quite how it happened of course, but the extreme currents and weather around the Outer Banks has been known to create dramatic shifts in the landscape before such as the creation of Oregon Inlet, the new inlet where the patchwork bridge now is in Rodanthe,  and even created a new inlet in Frisco (which has since been filled in). 

Why Is It Called “Shelly Island”?

When the island first emerged from the sea, it was littered with whalebones, pieces of shipwreck, and most of all, shells. Lots and lots of shells! In fact, a lot of the sand on the beach is ‘shelly’ sand, which is sand made up entirely by tiny broken shells, tumbled smooth by the water. The island was named by a child as homage to all the shells on it. Today, the bones and shipwreck pieces are mostly gone. However, the currents bring in a new batch of shells almost daily. It really is a beachcombers paradise!

What’s The Best Way To Reach It?

The island is not super accessible, but it’s not hard to get to either. First, you have to cross The Point, a stretch of sand about a mile and a half long. If you have a four wheel drive and a permit to drive on the beach (available from the park service) you can drive right to the tip of the point.

From there, you’ll need a way to reach the island itself. Depending on the tides, some people wade out to it. However, that’s not recommended. What the tide gives it can also take, and several people have already had to be rescued from Shelly Island once the tide drowned the land bridge. That current is nothing to mess with.

Instead, the best way to see it is with an ocean kayak and a strong knowledge of how to use one. If you’ve never used a kayak before, you’ll want to be sure to take some lessons before going out there. After all, this is open ocean.

What Kind Of Wildlife Is On The Island? 

Aside from the usual ghost crabs and birds, there are no animals on the island itself. However, around the island is another story. Back when Shelly Island was first formed, the same currents that created it brought in large Manta Rays and even Tiger Sharks. 

Today, the wildlife is less extreme, with the normal fish you’d find around The Point, such as Blues, Flounder, Croakers, Spot and more. In fact, The Point is a very popular fishing spot and some people fish on Shelly Island too.  Because of the currents, it’s still not the best place to swim.

Will It Be Here Next Year?

Well, that’s a hard question to answer. Ariel photography dating as far back to the 1940’s show it’s always been ‘here’. At different times in this island’s lifespan it simply goes underwater only to come back again a few years later. The science behind Shelly Island and the fact that we are heading into storm season says that it will most likely be underwater by next year. However, the good news is it will come back again– eventually. It always does.

If you want to see Shelly Island, it’s best to plan a day trip to Hatteras. Staying somewhere centralized, such as Nags Head, Kitty Hawk or Kill Devil Hills can make getting to the island an enjoyable trip, while still being close to all the activities you love to do and the restaurants you love to eat at once you’re done. Be sure to check out our homes those locations. 

9 Tips for H2OBX Waterpark

H2OBX Waterpark has almost completed it’s first OBX Summer Season and we (and our guests) have certainly enjoyed it!  It’s the perfect place to spend the day with the family and adds to the Outer Banks beach vacation experience. 

Here’s our 9 tips for making the most out of the area’s newest attraction.  

 

Buy Your Tickets Early (and Save!) 

In order to keep the lines short and give you the best possible experience, attendance at H2OBX is limited to 4,000 people a day. In order to avoid disappointment at the door, it’s best to buy your tickets in advance through our link. Also, when you buy though our link as opposed to at the gate, you get $5 off per ticket for your entire party. After all, the only thing better than a fun filled day of waterpark fun, is saving on one!

 

 

Plan Your Trip

10am to 2pm is the hottest part of the day. It’s also the most popular. However, if you’re already certain that you’re not going to spend all day there, consider going after two, the less hot, less crowded part of the day. The park doesn’t close until 7, so that still gives you five hours to play. 

Of course, if you want to spend all day there, you can. The park has some great eatery options for lunch, snacks, and even adult beverages.

 

Bring Sun Protection 

Even if your body is underwater most of the time, you can still get sunburned. Bring appropriate protection, sun screen, and cover-ups to wear out of the water when you go. This way a nasty sunburn doesn’t ruin your day. If you forgot the sun protection, donâ??t’ worry. The waterpark’s gift shop sells cover-ups, towels, sunscreen and more.

 

 

Eat Lunch At The Park

Though the Outer Banks has many excellent dining options, they are a little too far from the park. Fortunately, the food is here is more than typical amusement park food. In fact, it rivals some of the casual places on the Outer Banks. They have all the kid’s favorites like burgers, chicken tenders and fries, as well as amusement park favorites like funnel cakes, pretzels, shakes and ice-cream. They even have adult frozen beverages to help you beat that the heat.

 

 

Bring Towels

It’s easy to overlook towels when you visit a waterpark, after all, you might be too busy to need them. There certainly is enough to do. However the best use for towels isn’t to dry off, it’s to save your seats. The waterpark has tons of chairs and huge umbrellas that provide shade. Depending on how may people are visiting the park that day, the best shaded spots fill up fast. However, most people mark their spots by leaving towels on the chairs. This is the best way ‘reserve’ a spot, aside from leaving a person on the chairs. This way, everyone can have fun.

 

Rent A Cabana

Of course, if you don’t want to bother with towels and saving seats, you can always rent a cabana. H2OBX offers 2 sizes of cabanas, small (that fits 8 people) and large (that fits 12 people). Not only do the cabanas provide great shade and remain yours for the entire day, they also provide wait service for food and drinks and a complimentary fruits, water, and snacks.  Cabana rentals also come with complimentary lockers, so that your valuables are safe and secure all day. 

 

Wear Water Shoes

The park is an easy walk, but we do recommend water shoes.  The concrete can get hot in the middle of the day and many of the wave pools have rough texture at the entrances to prevent slips and falls.  Water shoes have rubber soles to protect your feet and fit completely over your foot so they won’t come off even during the most extreme rides. Flip flops are great for walking around, but are not allowed on any rides. 

 

Rent A Locker

Lockers are a great way to securely store your valuables, bags, clothes, and towels while you enjoy the park.  There are 3 sizes available.  You can purchase your rental with a credit card and they open and lock with a keyless code, so no keys to lose and the entire family can access it when they need it.  Super convenient! 

 

 

 

Complimentary Life Jackets

If you or your little one needs a life jacket, the park has them for free. All you have to do is go up to the life jacket rack, pick your size, cinch it up and you’re good to go. You can wear this jacket all day and on rides like the lazy river and the wave pool. Younger kids can wear theirs on the younger kid slides. This ensures a fun and safe time for everyone.

 

The waterpark is lots of fun for everyone. With a little advanced planning, discounted tickets and an idea of what to expect when you get there, you can add lots of fun to your vacation and memories that will last a lifetime.  We hope you’ll check out H2OBX Waterpark on your next Outer Banks visit! 

 

OBX Rocks

A New Game Is Sweeping the Area; OBX ROCKS

You’ve heard of Geo Caching, you’ve heard of Pokémon Go. Now, there’s a new game that takes you all over the Outer Banks with fun things to find —  OBX Rocks. Started by a Facebook  group at the beginning of the year, the group is now over three thousand members strong!  And all of them OBX lovers and all playing the game. This game is popular in other areas of the country.  Is your hometown playing? 

Here’s how it works. A group member finds a rock, paints it, and then leaves cryptic clues for the hunters to go by. Then the hunters post a picture of them and their rock.  This is a great way to get the family unplugged and playing together in a good old fashioned scavenger hunt with an Outer Banks twist.

How to Play

The rules are simple. You join the group and get wait for someone to post about their rocks with clues on where to find it.

You have fun finding it scavenger hunt style. The clues really test your knowledge about the Outer Banks. For example, one clue said that the rock was where ‘Chardos used to be’.

Once you find it, you take its picture, post it to Instagram and their Facebook page. You can then leave the rock where it is, relocate it with new clues, or keep that one and leave a painted rock of your own.  (many people choose the latter option.)

Where to Get a Rock  

Let’s face it, rocks on the Outer Banks are pretty rare, and no one encourages the taking of someone else’s rock that they bought for their property. Instead, many of the rocks are bought from online sites like Amazon, local stores like Michaels Gems and Glass, and craft stores in your very own hometown. Dollar tree is another good place to buy rocks. However, in true Outer Banks style, many people are painting shells and driftwood instead of rocks. That works too.

Painting a Rock

Painting the rock is also a great way to bring the family together. People of all ages enjoy painting rock or shells and making them their own.  Sharpies and acrylic paints are the preferred way of painting rocks. Some people add fun decorations like stickers, googly eyes or glitter. Once the rock is painted, you seal the entire thing with Modge Podge to make it waterproof and suitable for hiding outdoors.

You can paint the rock however you want, just let your imagination roam free.  Rocks have been painted everything from striped to polka dots to intricate sharpie designs to fruit, flip flops and more!   One Star Trek fan even painted an Enterprise on their rock.

Art supplies can be bought locally from Wal-Mart or Island Art supply or you bring your favorite from home.

What to Bring

This is an easy game so there’s not a lot of equipment needed. However, here’s what you’ll need:  a bag for switching out rocks, your clues, some painted rocks, water (because rock hunting is thirsty work) a good knowledge of the area, a map or GPS system, a phone for taking pictures and spirit of adventure and fun.

Hiding the Rocks 

As always, there are a few rules for hiding a rock. Rocks can only be hidden on public property, not in places deemed dangerous and should never be left where it could adverse effects on the wildlife or the environment around it. Also, if hiding the rock at a paid for attraction, such as the aquarium, it’s always best to ask.  Ideally, you’ll want to have a plan of where you are going to leave rocks before you start creating the clues. You’ll also need a few back up locations and clues, just in case your original pick isn’t available.

Creating the Clues

This is where your knowledge of the Outer Banks really comes in handy. You can send people to places that are no longer there, give them clues about a specific place like the lighthouse or even give them picture clues such as ‘where was this taken, the rock is here too.’ These clues can be as complex or simple as you want them to be. You can spend an evening with the family making out clues and reminiscing about the Outer Banks and your great times together, or you can go out, hide some rocks and post a cryptic picture as to where to find it.

OBX Rocks is yet another way to enjoy the Outer Banks with your family. All it takes is a bunch of rocks, a smartphone, art supplies and a desire to connect on a deeper level. Old fashioned games like these along with great times spent in rental houses are what memories are made of.

We can help you with the rental house part of that memory.   Letâ??s Get Started!

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Jockey’s Ridge

Jockey’s Ridge is made up of almost 30 million tons of sand and is the tallest living natural sand dune system in the Eastern United States. But as much as everyone loves the Ridge, there are still some facts not widely known about it. So here are some strange facts about everyone’s favorite mound of sand.

The Name Comes From The Wild Horses

The name “Jockey’s Ridge” dates back to 1753, in a grant to John Campbell, though back then they called it ‘Jockey’s Hill’. Though some speculate that the name came from a family called ‘Jackey’s’, the accepted explanation is a lot more fun.

The Outer Banks has a long history of shipwrecks. With those shipwrecks came people, and the horses. These horses became known as ‘banker ponies’ or the ‘wild horses’ that everyone loves today. Back then, wild horses were meant to be tamed. Brave individuals would capture a wild horse and teach it to race, similar to the organized races on the mainland. Jockeys’ would then be selected and these tamed horses would race around the ridge. The large sanddune itself acted as the bleachers, where people would go and watch the races and often bet on the outcome.

The Ridge Is On The Move 

Jockey’s Ridge is what’s known as a ‘living dune’ which means it’s changing constantly. Every season, it’s size and shape changes. It also varies in height from 80 feet to well over 100 feet. You just never know what it’s going to be when you see it. The reason for this is the maritime winds shifting the sands.

However, there are two reasons the ridge doesn’t entirely blow away. The first reason is because the just under the surface, the sand is wet and remains forever wet. Wet sand is nearly impossible for even hurricanes to move without the assistance of massive flooding. The second reason is because of the winds themselves. In the summer the winds blow from the southwest, while in winter, they blow from the southeast. This keeps the massive hill mostly in one place over time. I say ‘mostly’ because there have been a few structures that have disappeared under the moving mound of sandâ?¦

It Swallowed An Old Hotel

In the late 1800’s, there was a grand hotel built at the base of the Ridge.  It was designed for the crème de la crème of society, with  three stories, a banquet hall, bowling alley, and so much more. Visitors, as well as all their stuff, were taken to the beach via donkey cart. Donkeys were used because they are better at moving over sand with carts than horses are. Then, the ridge started to cover the hotel. At first, it was not a big deal. Then, the upper classes stopped coming because of the shear amount of sand. The hotel lowered it’s rates and would rent to anyone. In the final year of the hotel’s life, discounts were even offered if you were willing to dig your way to your room. Shovels were provided by the hotel. Eventually, the ridge covered it completely.

David Stick, notable Outer Banks Historian, used to tell a more personal story about the hotel. He used to say that when he was a young boy of about 10, he and his friends used to explore the ridge.  One day, after a storm, they discovered a door. When they opened the door, the found themselves in a long hallway lined with doors. Each door led to a room, but most rooms were full of sand. As little boys often do, they made this hallway their ‘clubhouse’ and came often to play in it. He said it was always cold inside the hallway. One day, after another storm, he and his friends when to play in it and the door was gone buried beneath the sand. No one has seen the old hotel since.

It Swallowed A Mini Golf Course

In the 1970’s, there was a mini golf course next to the ridge. It had an octopus, a blue shark, a castle, a treasure chest, a small boat and some other features. By the mid eighties, Jockey’s Ridge started to encroach on the golf course. At first, it was just tiny sand drifts. Then, it increased exponentially. The owner tried to haul away the sand, but since the sand was state park property; he wasn’t able to do it for very long. The park eventually bought the golf course and let the ridge engulf it.

The owner sold off the attractions in pieces. The octopus went to a shell store in Manteo. Unfortunately, neither the Octopus nor the shell store is there any longer. The shark went to Bob’s Bait and Tackle Duck, where it was given new teeth and a new paint job. (It used to be blue, then yellow, now pink) The other attractions left the area, all but the castle. It stayed on the forgotten course until the ridge eventually buried it. Today, you can still see the castle, and other pieces of the golf course poking out from beneath the sand. Take a picture when you do see it, because eventually, that castle will go the way of the old hotel, never to bee seen again.

It Almost Disappeared

Estimates say this sand dune is about 7,000 years old, give or take a year. It’s the biggest all natural sanddune on the east coast. However, in the 1970’s it almost disappeared. Back then, it wasn’t a state park yet, it was a just 30 million tons of sand.  Developers came in with a plan to haul the sand away, use it as fill, and build houses. They even had everything all drawn out with plans they gave to the local government for approval.  For a while, it looked like it was really going to happen, that the Outer Banks was going to have say ‘good bye’ to Jockey’s Ridge.

But the locals weren’t about to let that happen. They formed a group; People to Preserve who sent out an SOS (Save Our Sanddune). People ‘bought’ a square foot of it for $5, with all proceeds going to save the ridge.  Locals and visitors alike ‘bought’ pieces of the ridge. The running  joke was that the buyers liked to walk up the ridge, find their ‘square foot’ and stand on it. In 1974, thanks to these efforts, the development of the ridge was stopped. It was designated a National Natural Landmark and Jockey’s Ridge Park was born.

Not Everyone Was Happy When It Became A Park

While many applauded the transition of Jockey’s Ridge into a park, the state did make some changes that not everyone was happy with. The main change was that you could no longer drive vehicles up the dune to picnic and play at the top. Sure, you can still picnic and play, but you have to walk up the dune with your stuff to do it.

The other drastic change was that they didnâ??t’ want a business operating inside the park. This was bad news for Kitty Hawk Kites, who had already settled in and made their money giving hang-gliding lessons by using the ridge as a jump off point. On the entire Outer Banks, there was no other place that was high enough to work. After a great deal of negotiation, the state agreed that Kitty Hawk Kites could still use it for their business as long as certain conditions were met. Kitty Hawk Kites agreed and kept their business.  They also got an added advantage; you need to meet so many requirements in order to be allowed to hang-glide off the dune, no other company competes with them for that.  

You Can Find Fulgurites (But Not To Take Home)

Fulgurite is type of formation that happens when lightning hits the sand. Because the lightning is so hot, it actually melts the sand and turns it into glass. Fulgurite in this part of the world are small, rarely reaching over one foot in length. This is due to the wet sand of the ridge. Wet sand dissipates heat quickly which makes larger ones impossible, except in the cases of an unusually long drought.

In the movie Sweet Home Alabama, they showed Fulgurite that looked like glass sculpture. However, Outer Banks fulgurite looks more like a hardened plant root. It almost never looks like glass because the loose sand around it fuses to the surface and darkens, which gives it it’s more thick root-like appearance.  Fulgurite is fun to find, but unlike shells on the beach, they need to stay on the ridge. So take some selfies with them and leave them on the sand.

You Can Bring Your Dog

Like most state parks, your leashed dog is welcome on the Ridge and on the beach behind it.  If you are going to the Ridge with your dog, keep in mind that the sand can be dangerous for paws during the hottest part of the day. The best time to go to the Jockey’s Ridge with your dog is in the early morning or evening, when the sand is cooler. It’s also a good idea to bring water for your dog as well for yourself, as it’s a long walk to the top even on the coolest days.

It’s Handicapped Accessible (Sort Of)

When you first look at it, it looks like the least accessible place on the planet. After all, it’s nothing but soft sand and no real paths straight to the top. There’s no way even a beach wheelchair could make it up that high. However, Jockey’s Ridge isn’t just a huge mound of sand, it’s also a state park.

And as a state park, accommodations have to be made for the mobility impaired. If you call the park about 24 hours ahead of time, they will make arrangements to drive you to the top in a special vehicle. They will check your handicapped placard when you arrive, so be sure to bring it. 

Jockey’s Ridge is one of the many wonders of the Outer Banks. Between its history, it’s natural beauty and its myriad of things to do, (especially the new waterpark,) a visit to the Outer Banks is something you’ll want to start planning today. We can help with accommodations and suggestions with things to do.

Start your Vacation Home Search Now! 

 

Alternate Vehicles for OBX Fun

There’s no better feeling then the wind in your hair, and the slightly salty mist coming off the ocean.  You want to experience it, but your car won’t let you. After all, you can’t stick your head out the window like Fido. Still, the dream remains. Enter Fun Alternative Vehicles on the Outer Banks. These are fun vehicles for you to rent and drive while you’re down here. You can rent them for a full week, or maybe just for a few hours. Here, we’ll take a look at your fun vehicle options.

Golf Carts (LSV) 

The most familiar of the bunch would be the golf cart. However, just like everything else on the Outer Banks, we do golf carts a little differently. Our golf carts are actually Low Speed Vehicles. (LSV). This means they are street legal, and met the safety requirements for low speed cars (complete with seat belts). They have overhead soft canopies, open sides and can go on any public road with a speed limit of 35 or less. This makes them perfect for driving the beach road or through Duck.

Low speed vehicles come in two ‘flavors’ 4 person and 6 person, which is referred to as the limo of golf carts. Several places offer delivery and pick up of your golf cart. Most golf carts rent for the week.

Ocean Atlantic Rentals is a great place to get golf carts, along with beach chairs, umbrellas and anything else you need for the beach.

https://www.oceanatlanticrentals.com/

 

Dune Buggies 

If you’ve ever wanted to ride a car on the beach, this is your chance. Buggin Out provides cars they actually expect you to take to the Corova beach. Their ‘buggies’ are really vintage cars and have been seen in car shows prior to making a new home on the Outer Banks. 2, 4 and 5 person buggies are available, so you can bring the family, your sweetheart, or just go solo. Since they are cars, they are able to go any road, anywhere.

Unlike most rental places, which give you whatever vehicle they have in stock, Buggn Out lets you choose your vehicle online when you place the order. Each car has it’s own unique personality and history, so you can get one that fits with your family. Be aware though, since they are vintage, most have manual transmissions. 

Beach buggies are rented by the day or by the hour. They have special rates if you’d like to take them out for a sunset ride on the beach.

http://bugginoutobx.com/

 

Scoot Coupes 

 Referred to as a “three-wheeled car”, Scoot Coupes are a great way to see the Outer Banks in style. They are technically considered a scooter, but they look like a car. Unlike a traditional scooter, you don’t have to worry about balancing, and you can take an extra person with you. They are street legal and gas powered, so they are just like a car, if a car had only three wheels and no roof.

They can be rented hourly, daily or weekly from Scooter s N Spokes.  The most popular color is red.

http://obxbeachtoyrentals.com/

 

Stella, the Outer Banks Trolley  

So far, we’ve seen alternative vehicles made for a small family. But what about if you’re traveling with  a large family?  Well, if you have a ton of people, you can rent Stella, the Outer Banks Premiere Wedding and Event Trolley. She comes with a driver and enough room to sit 35 people, and have 10 stand. The seats are carved wood and go perfectly with the wood look interior.  It’s just the thing for large family gatherings.

http://obxtrolley.com/

 

The Outer Banks is a fun and unique place, and it deserves fun and unique transportation. With these options, you can scoot around town, explore new places, or even make traveling down the beach road fun.

 

 

Beach Nourishment

As you may be aware, the Outer Banks is currently undergoing a beach nourishment project in the Towns of Duck, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.  Below is an article describing what Beach Nourishment is and some of the benefits of this project.  For the most up to date information on the project including maps, photos, videos and more visit morebeachtolove.org or visit the Beach Nourishment Page on the Atlantic Realty Website. 

 

What Is Beach Nourishment?

The Outer Banks is a unique, beautiful, and very fragile place. It’s one of the few beaches in the world created entirely from sand, with no natural rock formations to get in the way of your good time. However, this also means that the beach needs extra care. Without a solid foundation of rock to keep the beach in place, the sand does exactly what you expect sand to do, it slides back into the ocean the same way sand slides through to the bottom of an hourglass.

Manmade rock formations, jetties, and hard structures are not an option for our beaches.  They aren’t good for the environment in that they affect wave patterns and currents.  Not to mention, many people view them as unsightly.   Beach nourishment is the process where you take sand from further out into the ocean and pump it back on the beach to make it bigger.

Where Does The Sand Come From?

Introducing foreign sand from other areas would be an ecological disaster. This is why the best option is to use sand that comes from a few miles right off our own coast.  Special boats pump sand and seawater through a large pipe that sits on the beach. It gushes out onto the beach in sections of about 200-300 feet at a time.  Heavy equipment such as bulldozers then push the sand and flatten it on the beach. 

Not only is a lot of fun to watch, all that dredging brings forgotten beachcombing treasure to the surface, such as sea glass,  strange shells and fossilized sea creatures. When they did nourishment in Nags Head a few years ago, one lucky beachcomber even found a fossilized megalodon tooth.

How Long Does This Take?

Like any construction project on the beach, it depends a lot on the weather. Fortunately, the beach will only be closed in segments of about 1000 feet or so at a time for safety reasons. Since all OBX beaches are public beaches, you can just walk or drive over to another area and enjoy the beach the same way you always have.

Now, this schedule is always changing, so you’ll want to make sure to check out www.morebeachtolove.com for the most up to date information.

What About Corolla and Nags Head?

Nags Head did their nourishment a few years ago, so they don’t need to do it this year. As for Corolla, it has a natural sand bar that keeps the worst of the waves away from the beach, keeping their beach nice and wide.  However, both of these Towns may revisit the Beach Nourishment project in the future. 

Will the beach near my vacation home be affected?

The beach will be closed in 1000 foot sections around where the equipment is working for your safety. Once you get bored with watching the nourishment in action, you can just head down the beach either by car or by foot, (or by cute street legal golf cart,) to 1001 feet and continue to enjoy the beach. It’s also a good opportunity to explore other beaches, such as the one by Jennette’s Pier, the beaches in Corolla, or even discover the joys of the sound. It is a big water playground after all. It’s also a great time to take advantage of your Fun N Sun pass to discover things you haven’t already seen and make some new memories.

Is It Going To Happen Again?

Yes. Just like the way you need to maintain important structures like roads, bridges, and even your home, beach nourishment needs to be done periodically in order to continue to be effective.  The good news is that with repeated nourishment, the newly deposited sand in the water will eventually create a protective sandbar, similar to the one in Corolla. Over time, this will widen our beach naturally and provide protection from storms. These are the cumulative effects of repeated nourishment.

Hidden Benefits of Beach Nourishment

When it’s all said and done, we’ll have a wider beach that blends in perfectly both in looks and environment with our existing beach. There are also a lot of hidden benefits that come with beach nourishment such as:

  • Beachcombers delight
  • Less damage from storms
  • Expanded habitats for wildlife
  • More beach to love (that one’s not so hidden, but it’s still great)

No Turtles Were Harmed in the Making Of This Beach

Here’s a fun fact; in addition to being the perfect time to nourish the beach, it’s also happens to be turtle nesting season. Fortunately, our tireless volunteers at NEST are taking care of the turtles during this time. Nests in affected areas are moved to non-affected ones.  Some higher risk nests are handed over to the aquarium so they can monitor and protect these nests. 

Thanks to the foresight of doing beach nourishment, you, your children, and even your future grandchildren can enjoy the Outer Banks for many decades to come.

12 Facts about the Corolla Wild Horses

One of the most famous attractions in the Currituck Outer Banks are the wild horses.  Many visitors love seeing the horses roam free on the beaches as there are very few places in the world to see something like this, but where did they come from? What role did they play in in local history? This article will share twelve fun facts weâ??ve dug up about the wild horses.  Don’t miss them on your next OBX Visit!

They Are Descendants of Spanish War Horses

The horses are said to have arrived some time in the 1500’s. At the time, Spain was still in the process of conquering the New World.  They brought horses with them via boat. One of these boats started to sink, and the extra cargo was jettisoned to lighten the load. The ‘extra cargo’ in this case, were the horses. The horses came to shore and started their own herd. They found a ready made food supply in the beach and marsh grasses and plenty of fresh water in small ponds.  The reason these horses have such a mild temperament is because they were literally bred to it. Calm horses, ones that can remain unbothered by the sound of swords, cannons and guns, work best in war. This is why Outer Banks Horses just stand there while cars and people swarm around them. Keep in mind though, that even though they are extremely calm, they are still a wild animal, and you never know what they are going to do. Therefore, it’s best to stay at least 50 feet back as per the law.

Jockey’s Ridge Gets its Name from Them

Jockey’s Ridge was once used as a racetrack by the locals. The earliest known reference to this is in the mid 1700’s. Back then, locals used catch the wild horses and race them around the ridge. The large dune served as the grandstand so everyone could watch the race (and bet on their favorites.)

They Used To Roam From Ocracoke to Carova

Outer Banks horses (also known as ‘Banker Ponies’) used to roam free on Ocracoke Island, Hatteras, and the northern part of the Outer Banks including Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Duck, with herds numbering in the thousands. As more people moved in, the herds dwindled until the only wild horses remaining are the ones in the four wheel drive area in Carova.  (Ocracoke has a ‘pony pen’, but those horses are no longer considered ‘wild’.)

They Were Moved In the Year 1995 

Until the year 1985, there was no paved road in Duck, North.  This enabled the horses to move to Duck as the other areas became more built up. It wasn’t unusual to see horses standing beside house on the gravel road they used to have. However, once the road came in wild horses were soon getting hit by cars on a constant basis. In 1995, the wild horses were relocated to Carova, the only remaining part of the Outer Banks without a paved road.

In The Early Part of the 20th Century, They Were Classified As ‘Free Roaming Livestock’

The National Park Service actually doesn’t like the wild horses. From a conservation point of view, they are considered a non native invasive species, like kudzu or lionfish.  In the early part of the 20th century, they had the wild horses reclassified as ‘Free roaming livestock’. This gave anyone the legal right to catch and keep the wild horses for their own, leading to the decimation of the herd from thousands to a few hundred. Since then, the horses have been reclassified and protected. It is now illegal to get within 50 feet of one.

Ocracoke Had a Mounted Boy Scout Troup 290

After the horses were deemed ‘free roaming livestock’, Ocracoke came up with a unique way of corralling the horses. The local Boy Scout troop had a chance to earn a very special badge. All they had to do were capture and domesticate one of the wild horses. Then, they got to keep it as a pet. All the boys in Troop 290 earned this badge and became the only mounted Boy Scout troop in the country. They made an appearance at all local and Boy Scouts parades.

They Are Managed By the Corolla Wild Horse Fund

In 1989, a group of volunteers got together and created what is now the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. This privately owned non-profit looks after the well being of the horses.  Part of herd management includes keeping the numbers in check both through birth control darts, and through adoption. If a horse is sick enough to need a vet, the Wild Horse Fund removes the horse from the herd and makes sure it gets veterinary care and well as relocation. They also advocate for the wild horses, catching the attention of lawmakers and the media to ensure the horses have what they need to thrive.

They Are the State Horse

This was something the Wild Horse Fund has worked on for a while. Much more than just ‘bragging rights,’ having the Corolla Wild Horse named state horse gives the horses protection and funding otherwise not available to them. In 2010, Governor Perdue signed the bill into law which not only made them the state horse, but elevated their status to something other than an ‘invasive species’.

You Can Adopt a Horse 

When a horse has a medical problem or becomes too used to humans they must be removed from the herd. Babies born in a banner baby year also are removed. These horses are then trained, saddle broken and ready to be adopted by horse lovers. Being purebreds, they come with papers proving their Spanish Colonial Mustang heritage, enabling them to be entered in shows and making them suitable to breed. It costs surprisingly little to adopt a horse, under $700. However, the vetting process is rigid to make sure the horses are well taken care of.

Wild Horses Can’t Jump

Though Outer Banks horses certainly have the ability to jump, it would never occur to them to do so. These kinds of horses have to train to jump, otherwise, they simply don’t. True, they might jump if a predictor was chasing them, but due to their calm temperaments and the fact that they have no predators, the odds of them of figuring this out on their own are nonexistent. Once a horse is removed from the herd, one of the first things it’s taught to do is jump.

There Are No White Horses

Have you noticed that all Outer Banks wild horses are some variation of black or brown? Though they may have white spots, marks or socks, the horses have no ‘white horse gene’ in their bloodline. This makes it impossible for any horse in the herd to give birth to a white horse (with the exception of a true albino, which has never happened here.)

Gus Is a Transplant

Though there’s a big emphasis on keeping the bloodline pure and foreign horses out (Which is why you can’t ride horses on the beach in the four wheel drive area) this makes for an inbreeding nightmare. In order to ensure the bloodline is diversified, a new stallion,  Gus, was introduced from Shackleford Banks in 2014. The wild horses in Shackleford are genetic matches to the ones in Corolla. However, while the Corolla horses came from only one maternal line, the horses in Shackleford come from three. This ensures that the bloodlines will stay diverse enough to not have inbreeding issues.

Seeing the Wild Horses of Corolla provides a treat for people of all ages. The best way to see them is with a horse tour. Not only do the tour guides know where to find them, they also tell interesting facts about the area. Fortunately, with our Fun N Sun pass, you get one free ticket each and every day of your stay.