What is the Sound? FAQs about that “other” body of water

The Outer Banks is surrounded by water. Many people are familiar with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, but what about the Sound to the west?  Below are some frequently asked questions we get from Outer Banks visitors about the Sound. 

What Is A Sound?

The easiest way to explain it, is that a sound is like a bay. It’s a protected body of shallow water sandwiched between land. In our case, the Sound is between the mainland and the west side of the Outer Banks. Since it is fed by both inland tributaries and the ocean, it’s made up of brackish waters which is a mixture of fresh and saltwater. These waters serve as nurseries for smaller fish who later make their way to the ocean once they are large enough.

Can You Fish In A Sound?

Many people ask if sounds are good for fishing. They are, but not in the same way that the ocean is good for fishing. To fish in the sound, you need a license, just like the ocean. You also have to be more conscious of fish size limits. Since the water is used as a nursery, your odds of catching a fish too small to keep increase in the sound.

Inshore charters are boats that that fish only in the sound. Not only are these less expensive than ocean charters, inshore charters also are not subject to large waves or very rough water. This kind of charter is perfect for anyone who wants to fish without spending their entire day on a boat. Minnow fishing, cast net fishing, and crabbing are other ways to enjoy fishing in the sound.

Does A Sound Have A Beach?

Only a few places have a sandy sound beach. In most cases, the sound is bordered by marsh grass. The best way to access the sound is through a dock or sandy beach that takes you away from the marsh grass. Just like tall grass on land, animals make their homes in that grass. By accessing the sound through a designated access, you won’t bother them and they won’t bother you.

Can You Swim In A Sound?

Sounds are great places to swim, especially if you have little ones or pets. There are no rip tides, undertows or unpredictable currents in a sound. In fact it’s like a big lake. Young children and pets love splashing around in all that water. It’s also a great place to play with inflatable beach toys like rafts or balls.

What Does A Sound Bottom Feel Like?

Sounds have their own unique bottom feel.  The bottom is not sandy, pebbly or shelly like a beach. Instead, it’s squishy and mucky. Fortunately, most of the time, it’s also clear enough to see the bottom when you’re in shallow water. Kids love the feel of the sand squishing between their toes.

Are Sounds Safe?

Even more so than the ocean, except for the fact that sounds don’t have lifeguards. A sound is protected body of water which is home to smaller animals. It has gentile currents, no large waves and no rip tides or undertows.  With that said, it does lead out into open water eventually. It’s important to remember that many animals make their home in the marsh grass. Being aware of your surroundings and avoiding marsh grass is always a good idea.

Can Pets Play In The Sound?

As long as you’re in an area that allows your pet off leash, they can. Sounds are just as safe for pets as they are for people. Dogs love splashing in the water, going out deep (for them) then coming back with no current to impede them. Just like at the beach, keep an eye on your dog to ensure they don’t go in the marsh grass, play with animals that bite or pinch, drink the water or go out too far.

What Else Can You Do In A Sound?

The sound is considered a big playground by watersport enthusiasts. Not only can you enjoy inshore fishing or swimming, you can also go waterskiing, kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing, jet packing, boat rentals, stand up paddle baording, and a myriad of other fun things.

Sounds are great places to have fun, but are easily overlooked by people with their heart set on the beach. However, if you have little ones, pets or it’s just a red flag day, consider visiting a sound. You’ll be glad you did. And if you’re lucky enough to be at the sound around sunset, bring the camera. Sound sunsets are spectacular!

Vacation Rental Homes Vs. a Hotel Room – Which is right for you?

One of the most important reasons people choose to rent a vacation home/condo is because of the space.  I think we would all agree that having room to spread out vs. spending your vacation in one cramped 400 square foot room is preferable.  And of course, the larger the family the more this rings true.  Homes and condos offer multiple rooms and outdoor spaces that a hotel room just canâ??t offer.  Of course more space isn’t the only reason people rent vacation homes. Below are some additional reasons and an info-graphic to go along with it.

Less Cost Per Person

An average hotel room in a resort/vacation area can easily be $300 – $500 per night for one room accommodating 2 to 4 persons.  6 to 8+ people will easily turn this into $600 – $1000 per night or $125.00 per night per person.  And this is while sharing a room with 3 other people.  So for a one week stay in a hotel room a party of 8 can easily realize a cost of $7,000+.  For much less cost per person these same 8 people can spend from $3000 – $5000 for a 4 or 5 bedroom home, at a cost of less than $65.00 per person.  This doesnâ??t even consider the savings that will be realized by not having to eat all of their meals in restaurants!  It just makes more sense!

More Space  House vs Hotel infographic

The average hotel room only has approximately 400 square feet.  In contrast, the average house/condo has around 1,000+ square feet.   Larger vacation homes can easily have 5,000 square feet.  But even the smallest house includes a kitchen, living area, eating area, bedrooms and baths. When one considers the outdoor spaces â?? it just makes more sense!

More Bathrooms

The average rental home/condo has 2.5 bathrooms while the average hotel room has one.  We wonâ??t even go into why this is an advantage â?? it just makes more sense!

More Privacy

We’ve already talked about how vacation homes have more space because they have more rooms. This also translates into more privacy. This is especially important when you’re travelling with in-laws, extended family and/or teens.  Once again, it just makes more sense!

Full Kitchen

By not having to eat every meal in a restaurant as we stated earlier, this can save you money.  Having a full kitchen also provides the opportunity to try fresh local seafood.   And when you do choose to eat out, you never have to worry about leftovers; you have a full sized fridge, oven and stovetop range to enjoy them later.

Doing the comparison on a per person cost, considering the advantages of more privacy and room to spread out, being able to enjoy outdoor spaces and being able to prepare some of your meals as a family at home, there really is no comparison and the choice becomes clear.  Check out our infographic for an easy to understand overview.  We think youâ??ll agree â?? Vacation Rental Homes/Condos  – JUST MAKE MORE SENSE!

Let’s get started and find your perfect vacation home for your next Outer Banks vacation.  Search for Vacation Homes Now!

Outer Banks Kids Adventures

Continuing  with our Outer Banks Adventure Series, we’re pleased to present Outer Banks Kids Adventures.  Each adventure on this list has been carefully chosen to provide the most fun for kids.  Whether your kids are into art, animals, history, or pirates, there’s an adventure on this list for them.  So let’s get started and have some fun!

Faire Days

Faire Days in Duck at Scarborough Faire, Is 1/2 day of events, 2 to 6 every Wednesday in season.  Kids of all ages will find something fun to do. Activities include craft tables, product demos, tastings, games, face painting and glitter tattoos. Entertainment ranges from live music, a clown/magician, jugglers and marionette shows just to name a few.   And don’t forget the shopping. All the stores are open, so the adults and older siblings can also enjoy themselves. This event is held rain or shine.   

Paint Your Own Pottery

If your kids enjoy being creative, take them to â??Glazin’ And Go Nutsâ??, the Outer Banks is own â??creation station’.  An assortment of ready to paint pottery is waiting for a creative touch. After the piece is fired, youâ??ll have a souvenir that will last for years to come. Located in the popular Front Porch Café , adults can enjoy a cup of coffee and pastries while the kids paint.  Or, you can be creative along with them Glazin’ And Go Nuts has also recently added a new fused glass studio.  


Deja New

Deja New is a store unlike any other on the outer banks.  One part furniture store, it’s also one part art school. They feature adult and kid painting/journaling sessions and a wide assortment of other crafts, such as milk paint and refinishing furniture.   And if you like to shop, you can also buy one of the upcycled pieces. 


Jeannette’s Pier Day Camps

You already know you can have great fishing fun at Jeannette’s Pier.  But that’s just the beginning.  Jeannette’s Pier also offers a variety of day camps for children, including an intro to fishing, standup paddle boarding, hiking, exploring the ocean, science day camp and more. They also feature special day camps for very young children, along with an overnight camp, so the grown-ups can have some fun knowing the kids are safe and entertained. 


Breakfast With The Rays

Stingrays glide through the water with their large wings as if they are flying. Children are entranced by these harmless creatures, which is why the aquarium lets you pet them.  However if your child is really into rays, they can do more than pet them.  Breakfast With The Rays enables your child to learn about rays, feed them, and enjoy a light breakfast along with other children interested in sting rays. It’s an experience not to be missed. 


North Carolina Marionette Theatre

The marionette theatre is an unusual experience to say the least. Your kids can watch a live show featuring marionettes telling Outer Banks folk tales and meet the cast afterward. These marionettes are so life-like, you’ll swear they’re alive.  Scarf marionette classes are available in some locations. These classes teach kids to make their own cloth marionettes to take home and enjoy.


Festival Park

Festival Park started out with the Elizabeth II, a replica of a 16th century sailing vessel from England.  This ship represents one of the ships that brought over the early settlers of 1585.  Near the ship, you’ll find an English settlement, a Native American Village, and a museum.  The museum features Outer Banks history from the fifteen hundred’s all the way up to the 1920s.  Costumed historic interpreters and non-costumed guides lead you through all parts of this interactive world helping your kids to get a real feel for history.  This is a fully interactive museum where just about everything can be touched and played with. This makes it a kid’s favorite museum.


Island Farm

If you love being immersed in history, you’ll love the Island Farm, a working historic replica of a 19th century farm. Costumed characters show the children around the real farm, where they can enjoy interacting with animals, watch cooking demonstrations, and help collect fresh eggs.  They’ll see how people lived, dressed, and even ate and did laundry back in the 19th century.    And don’t forget to take the ox cart ride. It’s one of the last yoke trained oxen in the country.



Pirate Adventures

What little boy or girl hasn’t dreamed of being a pirate? Now you can make their pirating dreams come true with Pirate Adventures of the Outer Banks.  Upon your arrival, your child is transformed into a pirate through face painting and costumes.  Then they board the Sea Gypsy, an actual boat in Manteo, and head out to the center of the cove for a treasure hunt on the water. When the rival pirate shows up, and he will, the young buccaneers get to shoot him with a water cannon. Once the treasure’s been found, everyone gets to bring home some of the booty.  


Destination Fun 

Though easy to miss because of its painted black windows, Destination Fun is an experience like no other.  It features over 60 arcade games, a bounce house play area, laser tag, and a black light 3D indoor mini golf course. It’s the perfect destination for fun especially on a rainy day. And because it offers so many activities, kids of all ages will enjoy it.  Little ones can play in the bounce house, while more adventurous ones can play laser tag, mini golf or arcade games. It’s easy to spend a whole day in here.



The Outer Banks is known for its miles of unspoiled beaches and unique wildlife. However, when you’ve ‘had enough beach’ there are still incredible things for you and your kids to do. No matter what the age, there is an adventure your child will love. So check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

Fishing Adventures

Over 70 years ago, Aycock Brown was responsible for making the Outer Banks famous by attracting tourists with fishing adventures. He promised marlin, and other large fish off the coast, along with other interesting fishing experiences. Fast forward to present time and you’ll see very little has changed People still flock to the Outer banks for fishing adventures. So if you’re looking for a fishing adventure, look no further than the Outer banks. Here are some of our favorites.

Pier Fishing

It’s been said you can catch just about anything off a pier; and that’s certainly true.  Among the things known to be caught are flounder, puppy drum, croaker, spot, bluefish, baby sharks, and even a baby marlin.  One of the best things about fishing from a pier is that you don’t have to buy a personal fishing license, the pier’s blanket license covers you.  Many piers which feature restaurants also feature a ‘clean and cook’ option.  After you catch the fish, give it to the restaurant, and they will clean, cook, and serve it to you right there in the restaurant.  What could be better than that?

Surf Fishing

If you would prefer fishing with fewer people around, then surf fishing might be the best place for you.  To surf fish you’ll need your own fishing license. Fortunately, they’re available at any tackle store.  Once you have it, you can go anywhere on the beach to fish. On the Outer banks, you can have as many poles as you want and use whatever bait you choose.  You can catch just as many fish from the shore as you can from a pier.  Many people have caught flounders, spot, stripers, croaker and bluefish.

Gulf Fishing

If you’re more into catching big fish, such as wahoo, dolphin and giant tuna, then gulf fishing is an adventure you should try.  These all day charters with experienced crews take you to the heart of the Gulfstream and provide all you need to enjoy sport fishing.  The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center is the place to book your off-shore fishing adventure.

Wreck Fishing

If all day on the water is a little too much for you, or you don’t feel like going out as far as the Gulfstream, then wreck fishing might be the thing for you.  Wreck fishing involves going out to one of our many Outer Banks shipwrecks and fishing around that area.  Shipwrecks actually draw all types of fish such as flounder, croaker, stripers, and puppy drum. Though the fish will not be as big as the ones you catch in the gulf they are usually larger than the ones caught from the surf.  After all, the deeper the water, the bigger the fish.

Inshore Fishing

If you’re new to boat fishing, or have young children or senior family members traveling with you, then you might want to consider an inshore charter fishing adventure.  This type of boat takes you out into the sound, where you can fish closer to shore. Because the waves are small, chances of seasickness is minimal.  Also, you never get too far away from shore which puts most people more at ease. These charters are much shorter than off-shore charters, so it’s a great way to introduce fishing to new anglers.


Though crabbing is not complicated, and some would say it’s not a true fishing adventure, it’s far too popular to be left off this list entirely.  In order to crab one needs a sound side dock, a piece of twine, a chicken neck, a minnow net, and a bucket full of water to put your grabs in.  Just tie the chicken necks onto the twine and lower it into the water.  When you feel a slight tug pull up gently and scoop up the emerging crab with your net and plop it into the bucket.  The Outer Banks offers many docks where one can actually go crabbing at no cost. Children love crabbing, it provides hours of fun, supplies are inexpensive and â??the catchâ?? is delicious.

Watching Them Bring In â??The Catchâ??

If angling just isnâ??t your thing you can still experience the thrill of seeing the fish brought in. Head down to Oregon Inlet around 3:00 pm and watch the returning boats bring in their catch – it’s really worth seeing.  For the most part, fish such as dolphin and tuna are featured. Marlins are caught and released, and the boats that caught those fly flags of victory.  Watching the catch being brought in is an experience not to be missed and fun for the entire family.

Fish Markets

If you love eating fish more than you love catching them, you can have your own food themed fish adventure by going to our local fish markets.  Our fish markets feature fish fresh caught by local fishermen from local boats. They also feature some delicacies available from other areas, such as salmon or snow crab legs.  Check out all of the local fish markets in the area â?? one is bound to be close to you.

Fishing is one of the great Outer Banks pastimes.  Whether you’re new to fishing, or a seasoned expert, we highly recommend the Outer Banks fishing experience to you.  It’s a great opportunity to introduce younger family members to the art of fishing, and bond with the entire family.  A few hours of fishing today will make memories that last a lifetime.


Outer Banks Flight Adventures

Over 100 years ago, the Outer Banks taught the world to fly.  So it seems fitting that there’s so many flying adventures you can have here.  Seeing the Outer Banks from the sky gives you a perspective like never before. Here are some of our favorite flying adventures.

Helicopter Tours

Helicopter tours are a great way to go up and explore if you’re planning to take small children.  They  take you all over the Outer Banks, so you can see things such as light houses, schools of dolphins, and more.  Because you’re in a helicopter, you can get to places quickly that you just can’t with a car.  For example some helicopter tours go all the way down to Hatteras or up to Corova.  There are tours to accommodate every type of attention span, and every type of budget.

Biplane Tour

If you’ve always wanted to relive the romance of the golden age of flight, here’s your chance.  A 1930’s biplane replica is waiting for you to climb aboard.  Since this is a biplane, a really just big enough to hold  you and the pilot.  But if you’ve always wanted to take an overhead peak at the Outer Banks, and get some great pictures, OBX biplanes are the best way to do it.


There’s nothing quite like the feeling of the wind catching your parachute, and being whisked off the boat and into the air.  This is the magic of Parasailing.  High above the sound, you can see all sorts of things.  Sometimes, parasailers even see dolphins leaping from the water.  One of the best things about Parasailing is that it can accommodate up to three people.  So you can to Parasailing with your children, spouse or your parents.

Jet Packs

All children wanted a jet pack when they were growing up.  It looks like so much fun in movies and on TV.  Fortunately, jet packs have come to the Outer Banks.  Our jet packs are specially designed for use over water, so you will get wet.  Hint: wear a swimsuit.  Imagine jet packing several feet above the water, flying in a way not possible with any other technology.  Most jet pack rides last between 15 to 30 minutes.  And training is included.


Would you believe that at the Outer Banks is home to the largest Hang-Gliding school in the world?  It’s not that surprising when you consider that not only did the Wrights give humans the ability to fly planes, they also pretty much invented the glider too.  Their early experiments with all kinds of gliders are what give us the perfected hang glider.  Today, you can actually go tandem Hang-Gliding off of jockey’s ridge.  Because its tandem, you don’t have to worry about actually knowing how to fly, you can just enjoy the experience.

Wright Glider Experience

If you’ve ever wondered about what the Wright Brothers felt like when they took off for the first time, here’s your chance to relive it.  The Wright Glider Experience lets you take off in a Smithsonian quality replica of the original Wright glider.  This is the chance of a lifetime, and it will give you a perspective you’ve never had before.  This is only for the truly adventurous.  Are you brave enough?

Wright Memorial

Of course, what visit to the Outer Banks would be complete without a visit to Wright Memorial itself? It’s got a lot of history and the rangers are interesting.  For parents, it’s a great way to show your children that if you work hard enough that crazy dream really can come true and change the world.  Besides, you’ll get a great view of the Outer Banks from the top of the Wright Memorial hill.

So the next time you visit the Outer Banks, don’t think just fish and beach, think flight.  There are plenty of air based adventures for the entire family.  You’ll have the time of your life, and enough memories to last a lifetime.

Water Adventures

The Outer Banks is surrounded by water.  So, it makes sense that watersports are some of the most popular activities in our area.  Take advantage of all of the different water activities the Outer Banks has to offer and enjoy your adventure!

Scuba Diving

If you’re an open water certified diver, then the Outer Banks is the perfect place to go scuba diving.  We have tons of wrecks to explore, such as the U-352, a genuine World War II German U-boat. We also have many other wrecks from World War II and beyond. However, the ocean is not the only place you can dive. The Aquarium on Roanoke Island offers a dive in their giant shark tank.  So if you’ve ever wanted to die with sharks in a controlled environment, now’s your chance. 

Downeast Rover

If you’ve ever wanted to sail, but don’t actually know how, the best way to do it is the Downeast Rover. This replica 19th century sailboat takes sunset cruises.  If you’ve been in Manteo before, you’ll recognize it by its red sails. Like any sailboat, the ride is a little less smooth than other boats, but that’s part of the fun.   This way you get all the fun of sailing without needing to know how to sail. 

Stiletto Sailing 

If you do know how to sail, consider renting the Stiletto. A Stiletto catamaran is famous for going fast and gliding over the water effortlessly. It makes for a smooth ride for a smooth day. Plus, you have the option of taking it anywhere you want. The Outer Banks has many smaller islands around it that offer  secluded coves, empty beaches and a truly unique experience.  You can also take it to the middle of the sound and just swim.


Airboat Tours

The Outer Banks now offers air boat tours. These tours are a great way to see the Outer Banks like never before.  People have reported seeing schools of Sting Rays, Puppy Drum and even dolphins while on this tour. Even if you think you’ve seen it all and know the Outer Banks inside and out, you’ll gain a new perspective of it when you see it on an airboat tour. And unlike some other boat tours, this one actually stops and lets you off sometimes so the kids can explore the shallow water.

Dolphin Tour

But who doesn’t love dolphins?  They’re so beautiful, intelligent, and mysterious, that’s why dolphin tours are so popular.  Regardless of what time of day you go, you’re almost guaranteed to see dolphins on any tour.  Not only does this make for some great photo ops, it makes for some great memories.  Leaving out of Manteo, dolphin tours are a great way to spend a few hours, especially on a nice day when you just don’t feel like going swimming.  It’s also a good way to explore the water as many of the guides offer insights to the surrounding area. 


Fishing Charters

If big game fish are what you’re after, then there’s no better experience than chartering a boat. Fishing charters include both captain, a mate, and hold about 6 people. There are different types of charters: inshore charters, wreck charters, and of course gulf charters. 

Indoor inshore charters are better for children and people scared to travel too far from shore.  This way the waves are small, land is nearby, and the fear is minimized.  However if you’re more of the adventurous type, or you’re more into marlin and giant tuna, you’ll want to get a Gulf Charter. Whichever one ever charter you choose, you’re sure to come back with some great fish, some great fish stories, and some great memories. 


Soaring high overhead, the ground and boat below you a tiny speck, you are enjoying a parasailing experience. There is no feeling quite like it as that parachute billows out and you are whisked off the boat and into the air.  You can actually fly solo, with a friend or with two friends. It’s so much easier than hang-gliding and an experience not to be missed.


Jet Packs

Remember when you were little and you wanted your own jet pack like you saw on TV? Well, they’re here, sort of. The Outer Banks Jet Pack is something that can only be flown over water.  Then you have about 30 minutes to ‘fly’ over the water. If you’re new to Jet packs, you can easily end up in the water, but still being propelled upward by the pack. That’s part of the fun, so wear your swimsuit.


If you’re a kayaker, there are as many places to kayak around the Outer Banks is there are kayaking tours.  If you join a tour, you’ll be taken through the hidden passages and canals where you can see all kinds of wildlife, such as wild pigs, foxes, a plethora of birds, and even wild horses.  If you choose to kayak by yourself, you have the experience of communing in a way only solitude can bring.   

There’s also such a thing as ocean kayaking for the very adventurous.  Most ocean kayaks hold two people instead of one. Two people make for easier paddling than one, and it’s always great to have someone to share the memories with.   


A new sport to the Outer Banks is Stand Up Paddle Boarding also known as SUPING. People new to supping start out in the sound, where the water is calm.  However once you have some experience many supers move to the ocean .  Ocean Supers use the board to paddle beyond the waves, then ride it like a surfboard back in.  A lot of surfers are taking up supping as a way to enhance their surfing.  If you’re a surfer, this will probably be right up your alley as a great sense of balance is needed for both. 


And who could forget surfing?  Long before there were any other water activities on the Outer Banks, there was surfing .  The feel of the wave beneath your feet, the way the breeze blows on your face and hair, the smell of the salt, there’s no other feeling quite like surfing.  And there’s no better place to do it than the Outer Banks.  In fact, the Outer Banks is rated one of the best surf spots in the continental United States, finally overtaking California. 


Another relatively new sport on the Outer Banks is Skimboarding.  If you can picture a small finless surfboard, you have a skimboard. You use it from shore to glide across the surface of a breaking wave and ride back in.   As you can imagine, this requires a great sense of balance and timing.  So if you’re bored with traditional sports such as SUPing and surfing, then skimboarding might be something you’ll want to try.  There are even skim camps you can take. 

Jet Skiing

Last, but certainly not least, is jet skiing.  Jet skis are capable of holding one or two people.  They are like ATV’s, only on the water.   If you like the feeling of speed, of getting splashed, of saltspray in your face, and your hair whipping around you, you’ll love jet skiing around the sound.  

So if a day on the water is your idea of fun, check out these water adventures that you can have only on the Outer Banks.  A good time is guaranteed and you will get wet and make great memories.

Have fun.

Rainy Day Fun on the OBX

Each year, thousands of visitors come to the Outer Banks for itsâ?? beautiful beaches, to commune with nature, and just enjoy island living.  However, some days you can’t go to the beach because it’s raining, youâ??ve had too much sun or it’s just too hot.  Whatever the reason might be, you’ll need some activities for indoor fun.  Here are some ideas to consider for Outer Banks fun when it rains.

Wildlife Education Center

The Wildlife Education Centers are two of the Outer Banks best kept secrets.  Government owned and operated, these education centers offer a great way to learn about nature in an indoor setting. 

There are two Wildlife Education Centers; located in Corolla and in Manteo. 

The Corolla location features a huge fish tank with live fish that can be caught locally.  It’s a great representation of the sound side ecosystem.  It also has dozens of antique duck decoys, stuffed animals, boating history and more. 

Manteo offers an indoor animal scavenger hunt, allowing visitors to walk through the exhibits and see how many of the stuffed, life-sized animals you can spot hiding among the (fake) trees.  The simulated plane ride over the Outer Banks is one of their more popular attractions.  And if you are an art enthusiast, check out the attached art gallery.

And of course, both Wildlife Education Centers have their own movies, activities and gift shops. 


Though the Outer Banks does not have an indoor mall, it has hundreds of boutique shops from Corolla to S. Nags Head, and even a few chain stores.  You can spend all day going in and out of stores buying fun things such as clothing, unusual toys, knickknacks, and more souvenirs then you can shake a stick at. 

Art Classes

The Outer Banks has more artists per capita than just about anywhere else in North Carolina.  Many of these artists offer classes at their gallery or studio.  The KDH co-op, the arts council, Deja New, Hang 12 Art, Glazinâ?? Go-Nuts (paint your own pottery), just to name a few, offer several hours of indoor entertainment as you get to explore the creative side of life, socialize and  just have a great time.  At the end of the class, you even get your own hand creation to take home. 

The Children’s Museum

If you have a little ones, under five-year-old little ones, then the children’s museum is a must see.  This museum features all kinds of child themed fun such as busy walls, a dress up stage, a grocery store, tea time, a lighthouse, boat, and many more activities. Older children can spend time with the interactive game system upstairs, while the younger visitors explore downstairs. Plus, it’s located right next to the toy store, so your kids are guaranteed to have a great time. 

The Aquarium

The Aquarium on Roanoke Island is another great place to spend the day indoors.  Not only will you get to see all kinds of sealife, including fish, sharks, sea turtles, and otters, there are also a variety of activities at the aquarium.  The day is filled with educational movies, photo ops, simulated sea turtle rescues, and animal feedings.  You can literally spend all day at the aquarium and wonder where the time went.  There’s even a place to get lunch and treats. 

Festival Park

Festival Park is both an indoor and outdoor experience.  If youâ??re visiting on a day that the weatherman just canâ??t decide what he wants to do â?? this is the perfect place.  During the sunny times you can go outside and enjoy the replica 16th century sailing ship, the colonial settlement, and the Native American Village.  By going inside the museum when it is raining will give you the opportunity to dress up like a colonist, have a mock sword fight with wooden swords, shoot ‘ducks’ in the duck hunting enclosure , and learn all about the Outer Banks’s history.

Just because the weather isnâ??t cooperating doesn’t mean the fun has to end.  For children of â??all agesâ??  there are plenty of things to do on the Outer Banks that don’t require the beach or the sun to have a great vacation.

Outer Banks Art Adventures

Do you have a creative side dying to come out? If so, you’ll want to check out all the art that the Outer Banks has to offer. The Outer Banks has more artists per capita than almost any other place in the North Carolina, and they love sharing it.  The many art galleries and craft fairs here on the Outer Banks gives easy access to all types of art from basic crafts, to the eclectic, to the sophisticated.

But it’s not only for shoppers.  If you love creating art, we’ve also included some great art themed workshops to let your imagination take flight. Many of these are open to both adults and kids. So relax, have fun, and enjoy these handpicked art themed adventures.

Deja New (Store And Workshop)

Everything old is new again at this upcycling gallery. They take old, outdated pieces of furniture and lovingly turn them into something new, fresh and fun. They also offer journaling workshops, where adults can express their thoughts and feeling through mixed media and written word collage.  Now that’s something you don’t find everywhere.


Natural Creations (Jewelry store)

Not just another jewelry store, Natural Creations is home to actual gold/silversmiths.  Since they design many pieces themselves, you can be assured your piece of jewelry will be like no other. In addition to their custom pieces, they also have famous maker jewelry. And if you already have some pieces that you love but are a little outdated or broken, Natural Creations can update or repair them for you.


Arts Council (Gallery And Workshops)

The Dare County Arts Council brings together hundreds of artists from both the main part of the Outer Banks (KDH, KH, NH,) and Hatteras Island. Whether you’re looking for jewelry, paintings, unusual cards or any other souvenir, the Dare county arts council most likely will have it. Have fun exploring their gallery or take a workshop with one of their many talented artists. Either way, you can’t lose.


Seaside Art Gallery (Gallery and Events)

Seaside Art Gallery is one of the oldest art galleries on the Outer Banks. It specializes in classic art, estate jewelry, and animation cells from companies like Disney. It also offers on site appraisal for that treasure you just bought. So if you’re looking for something a little less ‘beach themed’ on your vacation, Seaside art gallery is a must ‘sea’.


Vivi’s Five And Dime (Store And Workshops)

Looking for the perfect beach or vintage item to take home? Vivi’s has it. More than just a traditional antique store, Vivi’s also offers milk paint workshops. Milk paint is based on a historic paint formula, is safe, and has a rich velvety finish perfect for painting on furniture. Vivi’s provides all the milk paint and surfaces you need to create a little treasure to take with you. And we’ll even give you $5 off a milk paint workshop. It’s a great souvenir.


Co-Op (Gallery And Workshops)

The Outer Banks Artist Co-op is a co-oped gallery featuring around 40 juried members. They have art in metal, fabric, paint, jewelry, glass, clay and more. They also have workshops taught by their members. There’s a variety of classes, so be sure to check them out. You never know what you might find.


Dan Waters (Workshop)

Dan Waters is one of our premiere Outer Banks nature photographers. We have many nature photographers on the Outer Banks, but Dan is one of the few that offers photography workshops that can be accomplished in only a few hours. So if you’ve always longed to take the perfect picture, this is a great workshop to take while on vacation.


Wine and Paint the Outer Banks (Workshop)

Hang 12 art is the Outer Banks newest art gallery. Located in the Seagate north shopping center. It’s wine and paint parties are held most weeknights with the supplies being provided. Don’t worry about skill level. All are welcome. They also hold kids painting workshops during the day.


Build A Boat In A Day (Workshop)

Unlike the other items on this list, this workshop is only offered once a month or so. It’s held at the Maritime Museum in Downton Manteo. For one set price, you and five people, (including children over 8,) have an all day workshop in boat building. At the end of the workshop, you get a real finished one-person boat to take home and enjoy. It’s the ultimate souvenir and perfect for ‘boating’ in the sound.



So if you’re looking to release the inner artist in you, check out these unique workshops and places. You’ll be glad you did.  And if you’re looking for more places to buy art, check out our art page.  https://www.atlanticrealty-nc.com/outer-banks-art

Outer Banks Adventure Series — Animal Adventures

Wikipedia defines the word adventure as ‘an exciting or unusual experience’. And no one has more adventures in one place than the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That’s why today, we’re going to premiere our new series; Outer Banks Adventures. These adventures will be themed based and referred to as an episode; Adventures for foodies, for kids, for families, for artists, for outdoors types and so on.  So be sure to look for the multi-part series; Outer Banks Adventures.

Today’s episode; Outer Banks Animal Adventures.

If you or your kids love animals, then the Outer Banks is the perfect place to see all kinds of animals. From birds to red wolves to wild horses, we have it all. Here are some of the best adventures for the animal adventurer in you.

Red Wolf Howling

The red wolf is almost extinct, with only about 100 animals left in the wild. Those that do live in the wild were introduced by North Carolina’s efforts. As a result, we have the only wild red wolves in the world.  A howling is a special kind of ‘tour’ where you howl at the recently released wolves, and they howl back. You might even get to see some of these rare creatures. 


Horse Tour

The Outer Banks is home to one of the last remaining unpenned wild horse herds on the east coast. Survivors of shipwrecks, these horses’ ancestors came ashore almost 500 years ago.  Today they roam the four-wheel drive section of the Outer Banks, and can frequently be seen eating yard grass or playing on the beach. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see a foal. Horse tours are operated by people who know the area and know how to track horses. This leads to a sighting almost every time. In fact, I’ve never heard of a horse tour that didn’t see horses. Back Country safari tours offers a free/discounted ticket for guests of Atlantic Realty. 


Open-Air Refuge Tram Tour

Alligator river refuge is home to Alligators, red wolves, black bears, wild pigs, foxes, rare birds and more. The refuges open air tram tours takes you through the back ways of the refuge to get the best look at all kinds of animals. Unlike the horse tours, which often guarantee you’ll see a horse; the government run refuge makes no such guarantee. However, you ARE guaranteed a good time. Plus, you’re bound to see something, so don’t forget the cameras. 


Dolphin Tour

What is it about dolphins that speak to the soul? Whatever it is, seeing dolphins next to our boat makes us happy. If you’re lucky, you might be able to see them from the beach. Stop (someday.) Or you can go on a dolphin tour and eliminate luck entirely. Dolphin tours (torus) know where all the favorite dolphin spots are.  Some even have ‘scouts’ to help locate the dolphins. Hopefully you’ll see them leaping and playing next to your boat. Not only is it the perfect photo op, it’s the perfect memory. Our Fun N sun pass provides you with one free ticket to get you started.


Riding Horses On The Beach

Few things compare to riding horses on the beach. Few things can compare to the feel of sea spray, the smell of salt in the air, and the rhythmic movement as you and the horse become one, trotting along the shore or leaping over small obstacles. It’s an experience not be missed. And Hatteras Island’s own Equine Adventures is the only place to have such an experience.  Best of all, as one of our Explore the Shore partners; you can get 10% off your adventure.


Aquarium Camps

The Roanoke Island aquarium is home to a myriad of fish, turtles, otters and other wildlife. In the 2015 season, they even have life sized dinosaurs. But admission to the aquarium is just the beginning of your animal adventure. The real adventure is in the camps. The aquarium offers daily and weekly camps for a wide variety of kid friendly activities. They can learn skills like fishing or crabbing, they can become a junior aquarist and help take care of animals, and so much more. If your kids love animals, then this is an experience they’ll treasure forever.


Ranger Bird Walks

Pea Island (named after the wild peas that used to grow there) is home to over 350 native and migratory species of bird. Whether youâ??re an avid bird watcher or just starting out, you’re bound to see something here that you’ve never seen before. Though you can go birdwatching here any time the park is open, the rangers lead a bird watching experience first thing in the morning. This experience takes you on some great trails that are known to have interesting birds. Not only is it fun for all ages, it’s usually free.


Ghost Crabbing

This is one of the simplest, most fun adventures your kids can have on the OBX. A ghost crab is a little white crab that blends into the sand. (hence the name.) Ghost crabbing involves going to the beach at night with only your flashlight and a camera. Then, when you spot one, snap a picture quickly before it disappears down a hole. It’s an experience like no other and the kids will have a blast.

If you love animals, you’re in the right place here at the Outer Banks. We have more wildlife than most beach locations as well as more ways to see them. From the basic tours to the more complex, nature is a part of the Outer Banks and a great way to have a photographic safari of interesting wildlife without having to travel too far.

10 More Unique Things you can only do on the OBX

Everyone loves seeing unusual things. This is particularly true while on vacation. SO by popular demand, here are 10 more unusual things you can only do and see on the outer banks.

The Grass Mini Golf Course In Corolla

Long before windmills and pirates where the order of the day for mini golf courses, min gold was just scaled down versions of regular golf course. They had expanses of perfect lawns, sand traps, 18 holes, rolling hills, only in miniature. Today, there are very few of these grass courses left.

However, in Corolla, there is still one left. It has everything itâ??s larger counterparts do and you donâ??t need a golf cart. Not only is it great entertainment for the casual player, itâ??s also a great way to teach children about the fundamentals of real golf without paying real golf fees.

Iâ??d give you the website, but it doesnâ??t have one.

Visible Shipwrecks

The Outer Banks is also known as the graveyard of the Atlantic, and with good reason. The Outer Banks is home to hundreds of shipwrecks. While many of these are hidden below the ocean’s surface there are a surprising number of them sitting on the shore where anyone can walk up and look at them.

Two of the most popular ones are the Metropolis up in Corolla and the Laura A Barnes on Coquina Beach. These shipwrecks come and go under the shifting sands of the Outer Banks. If you have a chance to see one, donâ??t forget to take lots of pictures.  These wrecks wonâ??t be around forever.

Americaâ??s Longest  Running Outdoor Play

As weâ??ve already said, the Lost Colony arrived almost 100 years before Jamestown and disappeared. What happened to them? No one really knows, though there are lots of theories.

However, the Lost Colony play has been running since the 1930â??s, making it Americaâ??s longest running outdoor drama. Thereâ??s even a picture of FDR enjoying the play back when it was new.  Many Actors got their start in this play including TVâ??s Andy Griffith and Broadwayâ??s Terrance Mann.


The Worldâ??s Largest Hang-Gliding School

Would it shock you to know that the worldâ??s largest hang-gliding school is right here on the Outer Banks? It shocks most people, but then, we have the perfect built in launching point; Jockeyâ??s Ridge. 

Kitty Hawk Kites takes care of all your hang-gliding needs. And if youâ??re new to hang-gliding, they provide tandem hang-gliding. They also have many other adventures including supping, and a recreation of the Wright Brothers first flight with  museum quality replica plane.  Leaping off the ridge into the air is an experience not to be missed.


Teach’s Hole

No pirate is more famous than Blackbeard.  His exploits have taken on something of mythos, becoming a larger than life character, even though he really lived. The Outer Banks was one of his favorite haunts. He even had a house on Ocracoke though time took that long ago.   Ocracoke is Blackbeard final resting place. He was killed in its waters and his body thrown overboard. They say it circled his enemies’ ship 6 times before sinking beneath the waves.

Today, thereâ??s a tiny museum and gift shop there dedicated to Blackbeard. Though itâ??s not worth the entire trip to Ocracoke, if youâ??re already visiting it for the day, itâ??s definitely worth a stop.

Ocean SUPping

Stand up paddleboarding (SUPing) is becoming more popular in coastal communities around the country. However, here at the Outer Banks, we do things a little differently. Instead of just using sup boards in the sound and calm waters like the majority of coastal towns do, we use ours in the ocean.  Many Ocean SUPpers are surfers who use the board like a SUP going out and like a surfboard coming in. You can often find these SUPpers near piers or just about anywhere else on the Outer Banks.

And if you want to learn SUPing, thereâ??s no better place to start than in our own beautiful sound. Its waters are calm enough for even the most inexperienced beginner.

Duck Donuts 

Now, it might seem strange to list a donut shop on this list, however, itâ??s so unusual, it just had to be mentioned. Duck donuts is now a fast growing franchise, but it all started right here, with just one tiny store in Duck. Duck donut features made to order donuts. Not only are they made fresh daily, they decorate them right in front of you.

Itâ??s also a great place for kids as they love watching the donuts plop into the fryer. Schools even take field trips to see the donuts get made. Large Plexiglas windows and long benches to stand or sit on ensure that everyone has a great view for this yummy event.


Build A Boat In A Day Workshop

Now, this one might be cheating a little. Thatâ??s because itâ??s not always available. But when it is, itâ??s worth taking.  Hosted by the maritime center in Manteo, this popular workshop lets a team of up to 4 people over the age of 8 (one of whom has to be an adult) work together to build a real boat that they can then take home.

Itâ??s the ultimate souvenir and something you donâ??t see everywhere, or anywhere. There are very few places where someone with no boat building skills can go home with a finished boat.

Nearly Historic Homes

Did you know that the Outer Banks boasts some VERY historic homes for a coastal area? Well, the truth is, Iâ??m not sure how old some of these actually are, but some of there were built in the time when sinks went in bedrooms instead of in bathrooms.  Many of them were built with real wood and have doors made of planks instead of a solid piece.

Of course, one of the coolest things about these homes is that they are available for your vacation. True, they arenâ??t historically accurate anymore. Theyâ??ve been updated with things like newer furniture and flat screen TVs, but all the original charm is there.  There are very few coastal communities that can say that.  Thereâ??s even a few of them in our program.


Breeches Buoy Demonstrations

Now there are a few other places in the world that still do these, but they are becoming rarer by the year. A breeches buoy is like a life preserver ring with an oversized pair of pants at attached to the bottom. Shot into the water with a 200 pound Lyle gun, watching a rescue was really a site to see. The crew of the Mirlo was rescued with a device like this.

Though the Chicamacomico lifesaving station was decommissioned years ago, it has since been turned into a museum. It offers weekly demonstrations of this historic lifesaving technique, complete with the Lyle gun. Itâ??s a site not to be missed.



These unique sights and experiences will make a great compliment to nay outer banks vacation. Donâ??t have time to do them all? Donâ??t worry, most will still be here when you return next year. And donâ??t forget to pre-book your home before you go.