Charter Fishing on the Outer Banks

For decades the Outer Banks has been known as a fishing haven with so many options — surf fishing, pier fishing, and even charter boat fishing. There are many types of charter trips on the Outer Banks to pick from; it can be hard to know what kind is right for you. This article will help you book the best Outer Banks Charter for you and your family to make great memories, and catch some fish.

What Does Your Group Need To Be Comfortable?

This is a question that has no universal ‘right’ answer, but rather an answer that is very ‘right’ for your unique group. For example, elderly people need to comfortable and have shade, while children need to move around.  The ‘right’ answer for your group is to choose a charter where everyone will have a good time.

Catch of the Day

Does Anyone Have Special Needs?

Special needs is a broad topic that covers everything from seasickness to sunburns to panicking if you can’t see land and a whole host of other issues as well. Sometimes, soundside or inshore charters work best, sometimes only a real ocean charter will do, and sometimes a dolphin tour, eco tour or pontoon boat is just the ticket.

The Bathroom Situation

No one likes talking about this one. I get it. But you’re going to be on this boat for at least half a day or longer, so it must be addressed. Larger commercial boats that go out in the ocean have a bathroom like an airplane bathroom; cramped, but private. However, many smaller outboard boats only have a seat cushion you pull up where the ‘head’ is under it. This works for some people, but not so well for others. If it matters to you, ask before you book.

What Do You Want To Catch?

What you want to catch also plays a part in the type of Outer Banks charter you book. For example, if you want to catch billfish, they are only in the gulf, so the decision of the type of charter you rent has been made for you. However, you can also catch tuna, croaker, stripers, flounders, crabs and many others. Ask the boat you’re thinking about chartering about the type of fish you’re planning to catch.

Kids enjoy catching fish too!

Is A Private Charter A Must?

When people think of charters, they often think of private ones. However, make up charters are also a thing. This is where a boat captain collects the names of a bunch of singles or couples who want to fish but not rent a whole boat. Then, when the captain has enough people, they let all the makeup people know so they can go out together.

Another option for a non-private charter is a head boat. This is a rather large sound-going boat that holds about 100 people.  Yes, you’re all competing for fish, but you will catch some anyway. The big advantages of head boats are the price, the lack of waves (since they don’t go in the ocean,) the normal bathroom and a lounge area to go in if it gets too hot or uncomfortable. It’s a great family-friendly option.

Charter Boat Fishing on the Sea Hunter

How Long Do You Want To Spend on The Water?

Charter boat trips come in three lengths; whole day, half day and two hours. A two hour tour boat only represents a small number of the boats, and they are sound boats, so you’ll most likely spend either a whole day or half day on the water. Sometimes you can dictate how long the charter is, but many times, your destination will dictate it. For example, going gulf fishing takes a whole day.  Decide on how long your group can stand to be on a boat before you book.

Do You Really Want To Catch Fish Or Do You Just Want A Day On The Water?

Do you really want to catch fish or just enjoy a day on the water? It’s possible to charter a pontoon boat with the purpose of just spending a day on the water and not catching fish. Pontoon boats can take you exploring nature, swimming, and tubing and drop you off at hard-to-get-to islands. And yes, they can catch fish and crabs too.  There are even private sunset cruises.

Day on the Water with the Pontoon Man

To Sum Up

When it comes to booking a charter on the Outer Banks, there are certainly a lot of choices. None of the choices are ‘bad’, but not all the choices are right for your family. Keeping these considerations in mind will help you make the best choice for you and for family so they can look back to this day and think about what a wonderful day it was.

Be sure to check out our Explore the Shore Program for discounts on activities including Charter Boat Fishing from local boats.

Unique Outer Banks Experiences

Did you know there are some things you can only do on the Outer Banks?  These unique experiences are part of what makes the OBX an amazing vacation destination and a perfect spot to start (or continue) your family’s vacation traditions.

Seeing The Horses

The Outer Banks is one of the few places that still has wild horses roaming free on the beach. They are a beautiful sight to behold and many consider them a metaphor for life. These horses inhabit the four wheel drive area in Corlla and you’ll never know when you’ll see one. If you want a guaranteed sighting, take a tour with our Fun N Sun partner, Corolla Outback Adventures.  Seeing these majestic animals in their natural habitat is an experience you’ll carry with you forever.

OBX Crabbing

Other places ‘crab’ by putting out pots and then collecting the crabs later. And while that’s how commercial crabbers do it, it’s not how it’s done on the Outer Banks when you’re crabbing for fun with your family. It all starts with a chicken neck, a piece of twine, a dock, (Duck has a public one) and a net.  You simply tie the twine around the neck, lower it in the water and wait for a nibble. Then, you slowly lift the twine and scoop up the crab with the net. It’s an experience that always leads to fun, laughter and great memories.

Ghost Crabbing

Here’s a great time guarantee for anyone with kids or who are kids are heart; ghost crabbing. Nope. It’s not like regular crabbing. These aren’t edible crabs and you aren’t going to keep them. (They don’t make great pets either.) All you have to do is wait until sunset, then grab your flashlight, kids and camera and head to the beach. Ghost crabs are sand colored crabs that only come out at night. Shine your flashlight around until you see the moving sand. You’ve found one! Then, take its picture. That’s all there is too it. This simple activity can keep kids and adults entertained for ours and it’s a good way to work off energy in the evening.

Eating Outer Banks Style

From dining with your dogs, to watching the sun set as you dine, to having food exclusive to the Outer Banks, like Hatteras Clam Chowder, blue fish dip, or wine from local vineyards, eating can make a memory too. There’s a variety of décor and food for all tastes including seafood, fine dining casual dining and some places you just have to try to believe. The best conversations are always had over meals after all. So it makes sense some of your best memories would also be over food. The smells, the tastes, the decor and the setting, there’s nothing quite like the outer banks.

The Lost Colony

The Outer Banks is home to the first English settlement in the new world. It’s also home to the longest running outdoor drama about that very topic. Paul greens’ play has been running every summer since 1937. It has featured famous stars before they got famous, including Andy Griffith, Leon Rippy, Chris Elliott, Eileen Fulton, Terrence Mann, Ira David Wood III and R.G. Armstrong . It has even won a Tony for Excellence in Theatre. This is family a friendly show, but does have some intense scenes involving fire which might be frightening for the littlest viewers.

The Outer Banks Comedy Club

Another great entertainment option is the Outer Banks Comedy Club. This is actually the oldest seasonal comedy club in the country and is well known on the comedy club circuit for new comedians just starting out. Some now famous comedians who started out at this club include Ray Romano, Drew Carey, and Sinbad. Food and drink can be ordered just show. And since every week is a different performer, you can see it year after year and see something new every time. The show is suitable for ages 16 and up.

The Grass Mini Golf Course

All tourist areas have a wide selection of mini golf courses and the Outer Banks is no exception. You can find everything from the more commercial chain mini-golf places, to the more traditional retro kind on the beach road. And then, there’s the Grass Course. This is true miniature golf from several generations ago is an actual grass course, devoid of windmills and waterfalls. Instead, the landscaping provides the challenge, just like real golf. . It looks just like a real golf course that’s been shrunken down, complete with tiny sand trap and an osprey nest. The Grass Course the course is a great way to introduce kids to the joys of golf when they’re not ready for a real course yet.

A Day On The Sound

A sound is like a bay; and is also known as a big water playground for such sorts such as stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, waterskiing, jet skiing and parasailing.  So when you’re sick of the beach, come to the sound and have a great time. Chartering a sound boat (like a pontoon boat) is  the perfect option for amities who want to take a boat trip together but are nervous about going all the way out to the ocean. A day on the sound offers tiny waves, little chance of getting seasick and land always in sight. You can charter a bot for the sound as well as the ocean. There are places to swim, islands to explore, and fish to catch.  A good time will be had by all, including the very young and the elderly.

Climbing A Lighthouse

The Outer Banks is famous for its lighthouses. There are actually a few you can climb and several more you can visit. Ironically, both the world’s tallest all concrete light house (Cape Hatteras) and the shortest (Ocracoke Island) are both on the Outer Banks.  The one in Corolla is always open for climbing, while Hatteras and Bodie Island are opened sometimes (call before you go to make sure they’re open while you’re here.)  There’s nothing like the view from the top of the lighthouse. Don’t want to climb? No problem, the surrounding grounds has enough history and nature to please everyone.

Catching ‘The Big One’

There’s nothing like fishing on the Outer Banks. In fact, the OBX is known for its fishing. The good news is you don’t even need a boat to catch a decent sized fish. You can catch one right of the shore or a pier. It’s also a great way to introduce fishing to children. And if you want to catch an even bigger one, then you can rent a charter boat and go fishing in the Gulf Stream. This way you can come back with a great fish and an even greater story.

Festival Park

Are you ready to learn about the original English settlers while climbing on board a life sized replica 16th century sailing vessel? If so, then your family is going to love Festival Park.  This historic site features the replica ship, English settlement, and Native American Village complete with costumed interpreters. There’s also a small museum, where you can watch a movie on the legend of Two-Path and the naming of the town of Skyco, explore more Outer Banks history, engage with selfie spots, dress up in costume and even shoot fake ducks. This interactive historic site is a child’s dream come true.

Watching The Boats At Oregon Inlet Come In With Their Catch

Organ inlet is home to a huge fleet of charter and commercial fishing boats. So if you’ve wondered where fish comes from, now’s your chance to find out. The ‘catch’ comes in early afternoon, and you love fishing, it’s an event not be missed.

Climbing Jockey’s Ridge

Let’s face it, all kids and most adults want to climb the dunes. They just look like so much fun to climb. However dunes are fragile on the OBX and definitely not climbing. Good think there’s Jockey’s Ridge, the only one made by nature for climbing. This dune is the largest one on the east coast, and begs to be climbed. Kids love running up the dune, rolling down it, and taking pictures with the ‘sand castle’ the only remnant of a long ago mini golf course the dune swallowed up in the 80’s. On the other side of the dune there is a sound beach perfect for little ones and pets. And of course the top of the dune offers a sight not to be missed.

The Vineyard Voyage

Sanctuary Vineyards is one of the Outer Banks most famous wineries, right here in Currituck. They make everything from Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadine, Rose©, and icebox wine.  Many of their wines include unique to the region scuppernong grapes, wildflowers, and fruits. They’ve also won awards for their wines.  The Vineyard Voyage takes you to the vineyards for a tasting by way of a boat leaving from a dock in Duck. Wine and sightseeing; what could be better?

Local Festivals

The Outer Banks is famous for its various celebrations. From the Watermelon Festival, to the Art Under The Oaks,  The Wings Over Water, The Pirate Festival, the Food Truck Showdown, the Tiny House Festival, the Duck and Wine Festival, Taste of the Beach, and so many more, there’s always one to go to, regardless of the time of year.

Going On A Ghost Tour

Yes, OK, there are ghost tours other places, but you can only get Outer Banks ghost stories right here on the Outer Banks. You’ll hear tales of mystery like the Cora Tree, local legends like the ‘true’ fate of the Lost Colony and the white doe, and bizarre histories, like why it’s really called Kill Devil Hills and how the infamous pirate Blackbeard met his fate off our coast.

These are just a few of the unique experiences you can have at the Outer Banks, but they are by no means the only experiences you can have. If you’d like to discover more about things to do on the Outer Banks, just give our friendly planners a call. Since all our staff is local, they can direct you to the best things to do with your family so you can come home with the best memories. Let’s start planning your Outer Banks vacation traditions today!

Wright Brothers Museum Re-Opens

Photos courtesy of Outer Banks Forever

After almost 18 months, the famed Wright Memorial Museum is once again open to the public. The Wright Memorial not only commemorates the amazing achievement of the Wright Brothers, but it commemorates something else as well; The Wright Memorial Museum was the first museum erected on park service property.

Because of this historic significance, the renovations took much longer than simply replacing it with a more modern building. 

So whatâ??s changed?  So much.

Letâ??s take a look.  Wright Brothers Museum

Even though the building was considered a historic landmark sometime in the 1990â??s, it had lost much of itâ??s glamour. However, now, the building has been restored to its former glory with orange trim, a gleaming exterior and huge windows offering a panoramic view of the park from nearly everywhere.

But the change wasnâ??t purely cosmetic. For the longest time, the interior of the museum was caught in a time warp; looking like a static museum from the 1960â??s, rather than the technologically advanced museums of today. Fortunately, that is no longer true. The exhibits have gone high tech (some of them) interactive, and fun for people of all ages.

Color has been used purposefully; a timeline of the Wrights activities and discoveries feature either a blue or maroon color scheme. The maroon is for tasks they did in Ohio, where they were born, while blue represents the discoveries they made here on the Outer Banks. This makes it easy to see at a glance the influence of both places in the leaves of these men and in the discovery of flight.

The original wind tunnel and tools have been moved from the outside replica shed to inside, where they can be cared for in a climate controlled environment.

The portrait gallery has gone high tech, with the images revolving on a single screen. It also features the newest inductee of the Pioneers of flight as well some artifact from humankindâ??s greatest achievement, going to the moon. (donated by Neil Armstrong.)

Interactive exhibits include: 

  • Bike handlebars that control a miniature â??Wright Gliderâ?? behind glass
  • â??Doorsâ?? you can open and close to find answers to questions
  • replica tools you can touch
  • A 3D map of the area
  • And several more…

The flight room, the room that houses the plane, has also undergone some massive changes. The portraits have been replaced with scale models of all the incarnations of the Wright brothers attempts to fly.  It also features the original bicycle hub the brotherâ??s used on their â??flying machineâ?? as well as some other artifacts. A ten minute video featuring the journey to flying to getting to the moon is also featured. Donâ??t worry though, the plane is still there and ready for pictures.

Of course everyone’s favorite is the â??dream boardâ??. Itâ??s a clear write on dry erase board with pictures of the Wright Brothers Impossible Dream in the background. Then you get to write your own â??impossible dreamâ?? on the board. Itâ??s fun for children and adults alike as it challenges you to â??think big.â??

Naturally, all the favorite outdoor attractions are still there, the 1903 statues (perfect for selfies), the boulders and the granite monument itself.

Be one of the first to see the new Wright Memorial; where imagination took flight.

Photos courtesy of Outer Banks Forever

National Parks on the Outer Banks

It’s been said that the National Parks are the United States’ greatest treasure. That’s certainly true of the Outer Banks which is rich in history and nature. So, in honor of National Parks week this week, let’s explore the wonderful parks that are a part of the Outer Banks.

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is by far the largest park. It encompasses the three lighthouses of Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, and Ocracoke. It also includes the expansive and beautiful Pea Island, as well as the  beaches of Hatteras Island themselves. Because of the expansiveness of this one particular park, we’ll go over each part in a little more detail.

Bodie Island

The Bodie Island Lighthouse is believed to get its name from the colorful history of shipwrecked bodies being washed ashore after storms. Today however, Bodie Island is peaceful place with a nature trail, lush grounds and a stunning lighthouse. Sometimes the lighthouse is open for climbing, but most often not. It’s a stunning place to visit and take pictures, and sometimes even beachcomb.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse   

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the largest all brick lighthouse in the world. It’s frequently open for climbing and the view from the stop is stunning. Thousands of people from all over the United States and the world come to visit this particular lighthouse. In addition to being the largest, it’s also the most recognizable one in the world.

Ocracoke

The beaches and lighthouse of Ocracoke are also part of the Cape Hatteras Seashore. Ocracoke has the distinction of being both the smallest lighthouse in the country, and also the second oldest operating one. The Ocracoke beaches themselves are perfect with white sand and wide beaches. The ferry makes for a nice ride. It’s a great place for a day trip. 

Pea Island

Pea Island is a birdwatcher’s paradise; home to tens of thousands of birds in hundreds of species. The Park Service offers bird watching tours, but you donâ??t need a tour to see them. All you have to do is head out to Pea Island with your binoculars, cameras and bird watching book.

The Beaches of Hatteras Island

The Beaches of Hatteras Island are pure and unspoiled with frequent sightings of rare birds, turtles and more. It’s also a great spot to fish. Licenses are required, but you can catch large fish right from shore. 

Fort Raleigh

Fort Raleigh, which also encompasses the site of the Lost Colony play, preserves the cultural heritages of the Native Americans, European Americans, and African Americans who have lived on Roanoke Island. Through a small museum, historical sites, movies, and Ranger Talks, you can really get a feel for the rich history of America’s first colony and beyond.

Wright Brothers Monument 

By far one of the most famous spots on the world, this is where flight first started. The park is simple, with a large monument on a hill, commemorative boulders, a few reproduction buildings and a small museum.  One of the highlights of the park are the ‘Ranger Talks’. The rangers are very knowledgeable about the Wright Brother’s and really bring the past to life. This is such an important spot for North Carolina and for the world, it’s simply a must see.

Alligator River

Technically Alligator River is not a park, but a refuge that has parts open to the public.  The rangers offer tram tours. You’re also allowed to drive your own vehicle on designated dirt roads, and private tours (via kayak) are also available on the property. You have the chance to see black bears, red wolves, bobcats, alligators and all kinds of birds. Of course, a refuge is not like a zoo, the animals could be anywhere, or nowhere. However, when you do see them, it’s an experience you won’t forget.

The National Parks of Outer Banks add greatly to your vacation. Plan your next visit today! 

 

 

The OBX for First- Timers

If you’ve never been to the Outer Banks before, you’re in for a treat!!   The Outer Banks is like nowhere else in the world. And because of that, you might be in for a few surprises too. Here’s what you need to know about the Outer Banks before you visit for the first time. 

The Towns

The Main area of the Outer Banks consists of seven towns; Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Corolla, Duck, Nags Head, South Nags Head and Southern Shores.  Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and South Nags Head are called the ‘Southern Beaches’. Duck, Corolla, and Southern Shores are called the Northern Beaches.

The Southern Beaches are more centralized, with more activities, chains, stores and things to do. The Southern Beaches are the recommended place to stay for first timers since they have more of everything.

The Northern Beaches are where you go if you want to get away from it all. They have fewer chains and fewer things to do than the Southern Beaches. However, if you love nature then the Northern Beaches are where you’ll want to be.

The Beaches

The Outer Banks is known for it’s beaches.  Natural, uncrowded and unspolied.  Don’t be surprised if you see ghost crabs, turtles, and a myriad of shorebirds sharing the shore with you.  

The sand is fine a sugar sand that can turn slightly pebbly after a storm. It’s a great place to go beachcombing. You can find an assortment of shells, driftwood, sea glass and all kinds of things. It’s also a great place to build sand castles but if you dig any holes, please be sure to fill them in to protect the wildlife (and beach goers).

The Two Bodies Of Water 

The Outer Banks is surrounded by two bodies of water; the ocean and the sound. The Atlantic Ocean is on the east and is open water. It’s a living ocean meaning it changes daily. Dolphins play in the surf, tidal pools, sand bars and drop offs can appear only for a few hours to disappear tomorrow. Rip tides come in and out while the waves crash on the beach. If you take a fishing charter, you can fish around wrecks or go all the way out to the Gulf Stream. Surfing, skim boarding, body surfing, boogie boarding and fishing are all favorite pastimes in the ocean. True, you do see some ocean kayaks or stand up paddleboards, but it’s not common due to the constant wave action.

The Albemarle Sound is on the west side of the island. A sound is more like a bay or a lake. It is calm and shallow with a weak current and no threat of riptides. It’s a great place to take the kids for an inshore charter. Though the fish are small, the waves are equally small, so there’s less of a chance of getting seasick. The sound is the body of water of choice for dolphin tours, jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking, jet packing and stand up paddle boarding (unless you’re a surfer.) it’s also the best place to go crabbing.

The Two Roads

With the exception of South Nags Head, the Outer Banks Southern Beaches is bisected by two roads; the Beach Road and the Main Road, (AKA the Bypass.)

The Main Road (US 158) is a large, five lane highway complete with turning lane. It’s recommended you donâ??t cross that road on foot. The Beach Road is a small two lane road built in the 70’s with a 35 mph speed limit. It’s common to cross this little road on foot.

When a vacation home is described as being ‘Between the Highways’ it means that you do have to cross the little road to get to the beach, but not the main road. A house that Fronts the Beach Road is considered a Semi Oceanfront.

The Traffic 

If you’re coming here for the first time on the recommendation of a friend, you’ve probably also hear the stories of the Summer traffic. On the main turnover day, which is Saturday, the traffic can resemble traffic in the major cities like Virginia, Washington DC and New York.

The rest of the time, the traffic moves swiftly and is not an impediment to getting to your destination. Tips for beating the traffic include arriving early.  Just be aware that most check in times are not until late afternoon so plan your day accordingly.  From there, plan to make a day of it; go the beach, the movies, to an escape room, to laser tag, to the harnessed adventure park. There are tons of ways to have fun before your house is ready at 4pm. You can even go H2OBX waterpark and have a splashtasitic time!!

Groceries

The Outer Banks has a variety of groceries stores to choose from. Local stores include Tommy’s Gourmet Market and Winks. Chain stores include Food Lion, Publix, Harris Teeter, a Fresh Market and even a Super Walmart.  Every town has both a Food Lion and Harris Teeter nearby.

Grocery stores can get crowded on the Turnover days of Saturday and Sunday. It’s best to go shopping after you’ve checked into your house rather than before. After all, check in is at 4pm for most rental companies with Early Check Ins at the earliest of 1pm. There’s nothing worse than having ice cream melting in the car while waiting for your house to be cleaned and ready.

Another option is to have someone shop for you. Companies like At Your Service will go shopping for you and stuff your fridge full of food before you even arrive.  It’s an easy no aggravation way to get your groceries and start your vacation early.

Things To Do

The Outer Banks has plenty of stuff to do, but if you’re looking for something akin to Myrtle Beach or the Boardwalk of the Jersey Shore, this might not be the right beach for you. However, there are tons of things to do, including a newly built waterpark– H2OBX,  pier fishing, charter fishing, laser tag, mini golf, children’s museum, escape rooms, horse tours, dolphin tours, riding horses on the beach, visiting historic sites and more! 

Licenses, Permits, And Beach Accesses

Going to the beach is free. Parking at the beach is free. Driving on the beach may or may not be free depending on where you go.

If you drive down to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, you will need a driving permit. The park service has you watch an informative video on beach driving and explains the rules of driving on park service land. Pay for the permit, then you are off to drive on the beach.

Towns like Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills allow driving on the beach in the off season. You will need a permit for that.  You can get those at thelocal Town Halls.

Corova Beach is a bit of a special case. Though unpaved, it’s considered an extension of the Beach Road (NC 12), so you do not need special permission or licenses to drive on it. What you do need is a four wheel drive because all wheels get stuck in our soft fluffy sand.

Fishing on the beach requires a license, available at any tackle shop or online. Fishing off a pier or a charter boat comes with a blanket license.

Bonfires on the beach require a license. You get them from the fire department the day of the regular town and from the park service for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Fireworks (with the exception of sparklers) are banned on the Outer Banks.

In the towns of Nags Head, South Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, and Corolla have public beach access with parking (and sometimes bath houses with restrooms and showers) and are available all up and down the beach. Spaces fill up early to its best to get their early to get the best spot.

Though the beaches themselves are still public, the towns of Duck and Southern Shores have private accesses. You need to be staying nearby in order to access them as there is no public parking. 

Additionally, there are many public Sound accesses for swimming, fishing, kayaking and more. You can find them in Nags Head, Manteo, Corolla, and Duck.

Dogs 

The Outer Banks is a very dog friendly place. Not only do we have several homes that allow dogs, many restaurants feature pet friendly outdoor dining. The beaches of Nags Head, Duck and Corolla allow dogs on the beach at all times year round. The towns of Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, and Southern Shores have restrictions on dogs on the beach during the day in the summer months, but allow them back on the beach at all times the rest of the year.

Amenities 

If it’s your first time to the Outer Banks, you might not realize how vacation rental homes are different from hotels. Hotels usually provide basic toiletry items such as shampoo, paper products, and soap.  However, vacation homes do not. True, you get a starter roll of toilet paper, but it’s not enough to last a whole week.  Also, be aware that many homes do not provide linens.  You may choose to bring sheets and towels with you, or rent them.  Linen packages are available upon request for an additional fee. They include beds made on arrival, and a set of towels for the number the home sleeps.  Each set contains a hand towel, bath towel and washcloth.  Kitchen towels and bath mats are also provided in the package.   

Fun Add-Ons 

Want to make your vacation even more fun (and stress free)?

Companies like Beachmasters offer full set up and take down of a beach equipment each and every day of your stay. A setup includes chairs, a canopy, wireless blender, a cooler of ice (refilled daily) and a speaker system for your phone’s tunes. It’s ready for you when you arrive to the beach in the morning, and it will be taken down at sunset. No muss or fuss for you.

Golf carts are the fun new trend that’s hitting everywhere, and we have them too. The type of golf carts you use on the Outer Banks are called Low Speed Vehicles or LSVs. The LSVs are legal to go on any type of road where they can keep up with traffic. (So the beach road, Duck and backroads.) Of course you still have to find a place to park, but you park them in any spot made for a car.

You can rent things like baby equipment, beach equipment, and grills from Just For The Beach. They deliver and pick up. You also get two free beach chairs rentals from Just For The Beach from our Fun N Sun pass.

Have more questions?  Call one of our helpful Vacation Planners today at 877-858-4795 or Webchat us! 

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.

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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.  

What’s in a Name?

The Outer Banks is rich in history, lore, and legend. And it’s also home to some equally strange names. So what’s in a name?  This article will take a look at some of the strangest names on the Outer Banks, along with how they came about.

The Graveyard of the Atlantic

You may have heard the Outer Banks referred to as â??The Graveyard of the Atlanticâ??.  This moniker came about due to the more than 600 shipwrecks that occurred just off of our coast.  Though the Outer Banks contains no natural rock formations, the constantly moving water, unpredictable currents and shifting sands is a sailor’s worst nightmare.   Sand is capable of ripping a boat open just as easily as rocks can. When you add to that a channel that was open last week might be closed today, you can see how dangerous these shores truly are. This is one of the reasons, the Outer Banks had several lighthouses , to guide the ships to safety.  Fortunately, thanks to modern technology and advances in navigation, shipwrecks are far less common today.

Nags Head

The story of Nags Head is one of our favorite Outer Banks legends.  During the golden age of piracy, some pirates suffered the same fate due to the Graveyard of the Atlantic and were shipwrecked here on the island.  Not wanting to give up their pirating ways, but stuck here without a boat, they devised a new plan for plunder.

They would tie a lantern to the head of a horse (a nag) and walk it up and down the beach. This simulated a lighthouse or sometimes even a ship in trouble. Either way, a ship at sea would make its way towards the light and then wreck on the shoals of the Outer Banks.  The land pirates would come to loot the ship. Most often, the shipwreck victims were free to go, since there was no way to leave without a boat.  Today, we call these people ‘land pirates’ but in their own day, they were called ‘wreckers’.

Kill Devil Hills

There are several legends about the origin of this unusual name. But two in particular stand out. The first one is a kind of folk tale. It tells the story of a man who managed to trap the devil between the hills. Then he told the villagers that he ‘killed the devil in the hills’.

The second story is based around rum. Because of the all the shipwrecks, things were constantly washing up on the beach. The locals used to say the ocean made more reliable deliveries than the post office, and it made them twice a day. This particular day in the early 1800’s, a delivery came in from the Caribbean in the form of bottles of rum.  Rum was a rare treat for the locals, since sugar was impossible to grow here at the time. This rum however, was dark and strong. So strong that people who drank it said it could kill the devil himself.

Jockey’s Ridge

There are many theories as to the origin of the name ‘Jockey’s Ridge.’ However, there is one story which is more popular than the others. The name dates back to at least 1753 when it appeared in a grant given to John Campbell. The original name then was ‘Jockey’s Hill’.

The name itself is believed to have come from the practice of catching the wild ‘banker ponies’ and racing them on the flats at the base of the giant hill. People sat on the ridge itself like bleachers, in order to watch (and bet) on the races. 

Bodie Island 

Pronounced ‘body’ this is the home of the lighthouse with the straight horizontal stripes. Some say the island was named after a keeper who used to work there by the name of Bodie. However, official records of a keeper with that name have yet to turn up.

The other theory has a much darker tone. Because of the unusual swelling currents around this island, locals say it’s where the bodies of shipwrecked sailors would wash up after a storm. Even though there have been no bodies found there in the modern age, unusual things do wash up there such a sand dollars, sea stars, and exotic fish. It’s a great place to beachcomb. 

Kitty Hawk

This is one is a little less straightforward than the others. It’s believed to originate from the Native American word “Killy Honk”. This word refers to the perfect time to hunt geese. Geese were a staple of Native American, colonial, and early American diets.  

Duck

Yes, this town IS named after the animal we know today. But do you know why? In the 1920’s, duck hunting was all the rage. People flocked to hunting clubs such as the Powder Keg Club or the Whalehead Club specifically to hunt ducks. These clubs not only provided the lodging, but also owned vast expanses of land so their patrons could hunt ducks in private. Back then, the skies were known to turn black from thousands of ducks in the area. It was a Duck hunter’s delight.

Eventually, Duck hunting fell out of favor. The surrounding land was sold to private developers. The Whalehead Club was turned into a museum focusing on the 1920’s, and the Power Keg club was turned into Duck’s Cottage (coffee and books.) Though no one hunts ducks in Duck today, the name stuck as a nod to the past.

Corolla 

Though it’s common to think of the Toyota car when you here this name, this town wasn’t named after the car at all.  Ka-Rah-La, as is it pronounced was known early in its history as part of a number of small towns and villages collectively called the â??Currituck Banksâ??.   Currituck is located on the mainland and is  derived from a Native American word for â??land of the geeseâ??.  When the residents decided to become a ‘real town’ all their own, they submitted ideas to the local post office. The winning idea was to name itself after a cluster of flower petals located on the same flower, also known as a ‘corolla’ of petals.  

Wanchese

Wanchese is a fishing village near Manteo. If you veered left when you reached the light instead of going right to Manteo, you’d be in Wanchese. The real Wanchese was a native American Chief. At first, he, like Manteo, welcomed the colonists. He was even presented to the Queen.

Then, after an attack that resulted in the death of his son, he decided the colonists were enemies. Still, we honor him today and the good will he showed us in the beginning.

Manteo

Manteo the town is our county seat. Manteo the person was a Native American Chief. When the colonists first arrived, he welcomed them. His assistance was invaluable to the colonists’ survival on Roanoke Island. He even made the trip to England and was presented to the Queen. 

Manteo continued to be a friend to the colonists long after they and Wanchese had a falling out. Some people speculate that when governor White’s ships didn’t return in time, the colonists went to live with Manteo’s tribe. That is one theory on how the Lost Colony disappeared. 

Oregon Inlet

Many people think was named after the state or the trail. However, Oregon didn’t become a state until 13 years after the inlet was named. So where did the name come from? In 1846, a fierce hurricane trapped a ship called ‘The Oregon’ in that area. There was no inlet there yet, and no bridge. However, there was a treacherous sandbar, and shallow channels that would rip a boat to pieces.

With no where to run and giant swells bearing down, The Oregon looked like it was going to be another victim of the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Then, a miracle happened; the combined force of the hurricane and the swells opened a passageway into the sound and pushed the Oregon through. Now that they were in the shallower, calmer water, the lucky ship was able to wait out the storm in safety. The inlet was named after the Oregon, who was present when it was created.

Pea Island

This section of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore was named after the wild peas that used to grow on it. These peas provided sustinence for colonists in the early days, and for Native Americans hundreds of years before that. However, the climate has changed drastically since that time. Today, there are practically no wild peas left on Pea Island, making the name seem silly to those who don’t know its meaning.

Alligator River

This wildlife preserve is named after one of its inhabitants; the alligator. Alligators used to be a common animal in inshore waters along the Outer Banks. Once, someone managed to take a picture of an alligator by Jennette’s Pier. Today however, there are a lot fewer alligators, which lead to a lot fewer sightings. Alligator River is one of the few places on the Outer Banks where you can still see an alligator. One of the best ways to see them is with a kayak tour through the river. Because of the shape of the kayak, the gators treat it like just another, much bigger alligator.

Mashoes

Mashoes is located in an area of the Outer Banks that most visitors get to see.  Some may have never even heard of it.   However, it’s worth mentioning because of its unusual name. Pronounced ‘ma-shoes’ (or sometimes ‘my-shoes’ in a joking manner,) this is actually a corruption of a name of a French captain,  Peter Michieux, who was shipwrecked here. 

Virginia Dare 

You’ll notice there are a great many things named after Virginia Dare on the Outer Banks, such Virginia Dare Trail (AKA, the ‘beach road’) and Dare County itself, just to name a few.

Virginia Dare was the first English baby born in the new world. When the first English Colony disappeared, she disappeared right along with them. This has given her a legendary, almost mythical status. She’s been the subject of many pieces of artwork, poetry, and even fictional stories that try to explain her eventual fate.

Street Names

Being a coastal area, you’ll find a great many streets are named after animals, plants and sea life.  You’ll also find the obligatory street names that refer to local heroes or prominent families. Every small town and even some cities have those. There are even streets named after the Elizabethan’s who played a prominent role in the Lost Colony, such as Ananias Dare, Simon Fernando, Virginia Dare, Queen Elizabeth and countless others.

But if you look closely, you’ll notice a fourth name type. Names such as Lindbergh, Orville, and Wright are not named after local heroes but after pioneers of aviation.  Since this is the land where flight began almost 115 years ago, naming streets after these aviators makes perfect sense.

House Names

I’m sure you’ve noticed that our beach houses have names too. This isn’t just a way to tell them apart, but something rooted in deep southern tradition. This practice originally started in England, where all ancestral homes had names to identify the families that owned them.  Plantations and estates in the US followed this same tradition which evoked a sense of royalty and regalness.  Nowadays, the art of naming a cottage or beach house is a great way to not only identify who the house belongs to, but to also showcase their personality.  Vacation homes are special places where Owners can really have fun with decorations and amenities that they may not have at their primary residence.  A quirky cottage name just adds to that enjoyment for Owners and Guests alike!

Check out some of the clever names of our Outer Banks vacation homes

Day Trip to Hatteras Island

Hatteras Island is a land steeped in tradition and history. Just a short drive from the northern Outer Banks, Hatteras Island is practically a world in itself, and a world that moves at a much slower pace.  Be sure to check out Hatteras Island on your next OBX vacation! 

Explore the Cape Hatteras Seashore

The Cape Hatteras Seashore in a National Park covering over 70 miles and includes areas such as the Bodie Island Lighthouse, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Pea Island. It also features a variety of wildlife such as plovers and other birds, turtles and more. It’s not uncommon to catch sight of pods of dolphins off the coast. Visible shipwrecks such as the Laura A. Barnes dot the beaches. If you like to fish, you can pick up a fishing license and cast into the water right off the coast. You can even stop by the ranger station to get a pass to drive on the beach.

Climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

With its black and white candy cane stripes, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the most famous in the world. Originally called ‘Hamilton’s Light’ after founding father Alexander Hamilton who commissioned its predecessor in 1794, this lighthouse has withstood the test of time and gone on to become everyone’s favorite. The lighthouse was built in 1870 and moved away from the beach in 1999 due to erosion. Fortunately, the move didn’t do any damage and you can still climb the 210 feet to the top in season. It is the tallest all brick lighthouse in the world. 

Birdwatch on Pea Island

If you love birds, than a trip to Pea Island is not to be missed. Part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, it’s also a bird sanctuary. Ranger led birdwatching tours are available in the early morning. However, you can go on your own and try to see birds at any time from the trails. Pea Island is said to be home to over 365 different species of bird. Since over half of them though are migratory, you’ll never know what you’ll see. Bring the camera, binoculars, and since Pea Island is mostly marshland, we would recommend bug spray.

Horseback Riding on the Beach

If riding horses on the beach is on your bucket list, then you’ll definitely want to check out Equine Adventures.  This stable offers one of the few beach riding experiences. They have horses for every type of rider from experienced to ‘never ridden before’. Though the ride is a follow the leader type tour, you can go at your own pace be it leisurely stroll to canter (run.) This two hour ride takes you on the beach, and through a maritime forest. These rides are suitable for people ages 10 and up, which makes it a perfect experience for both groups of adults or families with kids. Riding horses on the beach is a memory you’ll never forget. Best of all, you get $10 off a ride with our Explore the Shore pass.  

Visit the Frisco Native American Museum

The Frisco Native American Museum is one of the largest private collections on public display. The owner, Carl Bornfriend, is an adopted member of the Lenape tribe. His museum houses thousands of artifacts not only from local Native Americans, but also from Native Americans around the country. They have not only the typical ‘beads and feathers’, but also pottery, baskets, tools, art and carvings.  They also highlight different cultures and contributions Native Americans made throughout history, such as WWII. Though it looks small from the road, inside, it extends in all directions making it seem to go on forever. It’s laid out like a museum more typical of yesteryear than today, which is part of its charm. It’s a place you won’t want to miss.  And with our Fun N Sun pass, you get one free ticket to see it.

Discover the Lifesaving Station

In the 1800’s, the lifesaving service was a division of the treasury department. However, it had nothing to do with money, it was about saving lives. Specifically, it was about saving the lives of soon-to-be ship wreck survivors, caught in the infamous Graveyard of the Atlantic. The Lifesavers were the predecessors of the modern day Coast Guard. There was a saying; you have to go out to save them, but you didn’t have to come back.  The Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station is famous for two reasons; 1. It’s the most complete and fully restored lifesaving station in existence. 2. It was the base of the country’s first all African American lifesavers, (right after the civil war.) This historic site features a museum, historic interpreters and a small gift shop. This is THE place to stop if you love Coast Guard history, African American History, shipwreck history or just American history in general. To make it easier for you to stop, our Fun N Sun pass provides one free ticket.

Take a Picture of the Futuro House

The Futuro house is closed to visitors, but that doesn’t stop hundreds of people passing it every year from stopping to take a picture.  Also called the UFO house, this home has a 1950’s UFO shape. This house was hailed as the ‘vacation house of the future’ when it came out in the 1960’s. It was durable, inexpensive, made in a factory and all plastic. However, fewer than 100 Futuros were ever made. Today, only about 60 still exist worldwide. This might be your only chance to see one, so you’ll want to take a picture of this unique home and testament to days gone by.

This is just small sampling of Things to Do on Hatteras Island.  There are also shopping, exploring great restaurants, watersports, shell seeking, and just relaxing on the beach.  So, next time you visit the OBX, make plans to spend a day exploring Hatteras Island.  Youâ??ll be glad you did!  To plan your next Outer Banks Vacation, give us a call today at 877-858-4795.  

Outer Banks Books

With its rich history and romantic island living, the Outer Banks is a favorite place for artists and writers alike.  Some writers have chosen to immortalize the Outer Banks in their works.  Here is a list of fiction books set on the Outer Banks.  So grab a copy or two for your next beach read!  Many of these books can be found in our local bookstores.  Check out one of our favorites â?? Downtown Books â?? in downtown Manteo on Roanoke Island. 

 

Nights in Rodanthe-Nicolas Sparks

Thanks to the movie, this is probably the most famous book on this list.  It tells the story of Adrienne, a woman separated from her husband.  Needing time to think, Adrienne agrees to house sit her friendâ??s Bed and Breakfast in Rodanthe while her friend is away. The only guest is Paul, a doctor who is being sued by a local family. When a hurricane traps them both in the house, they fall in love while protecting the inn and themselves, but with their complicated pasts, is love possible?

Outer Banks Baker Mystery Series- Phoebe T. Eggli

This cozy mystery series features teenage sleuth, Logan whose aunt owns the fictional establishment of Kill Devil Delicacies.  Readers will delight as Logan describes various places around the Outer Banks such as Oregon Inlet, as well as common Banker activities such as fishing, swimming and surfing. These mysteries provide a fun romp when you want something on the lighter side. Best of all, they come with recipes from the ‘bakery’. Yum.

Driftwood Tides- Gina Holmes

When Holden loses his wife, he shuts himself away on the Outer Banks and makes driftwood sculptures. But, as so often happens, secrets cannot stay hidden forever. This one literally comes knocking at his door. It’s a story of secrets, of pasts and of the people we think we know.

Summer Rental-Mary Kay Andrews

This story is about 5 people and a beach house at the Outer Banks. The people have had disasters in their lives and are at the point now where they are questioning everything they believe in. Together, they uncover the truth about their past, their lives, themselves, and their futures. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Outer banks, visitors and readers will agree that the tide forever changes you.

Taffy of Torpedo Junction- Nell Wise Wechtert

After being out of print for decades, Taffy is back. Set in the time of WWII, and written by Outer Banks local Nell Wise Wechtert, this book is inspired by actual events. Drawing from the true history of WWII, when the German U-boats sank over 60 ships off the coast, Taffy tells the thrilling story of an undercover spy ring and the girl who exposed their plans.  This book was originally published in 1957, and has remained a favorite of Outer Bankers ever since.

Storm Warriors- Elisa Carbone

In the year 1885, Nathan Williams joins his uncle on Pea Island Outer Banks with dreams of becoming a true surfman (the predecessor of the modern coastguard.) However as he realizes what’s involved, a new dream takes hold. Though it is a work of fiction, Storm Warriors brings to light a little known story our country’s past; the all African American lifesavers of Pea Island immediately following the Civil War. The rescues are thrilling and show how much these men were willing to risk to save the lives of others.

The Prayer Box- Lisa Wingate

The Outer Banks has long been a place where people go to start over and no book shows that better than this one.  A 2014 Christian Book Award Finalist, this story focuses on Tandi Jo Reese, a woman with a troubled past who is looking to make a fresh start. It’s a story of faith, kindness, redemption and of course, the Outer Banks, which is as much as a character as any of the human players.

 

The only thing better than reading a book set in the picturesque Outer Banks is reading that book while you’re actually  ON the Outer Banks.   Whether you’re visiting with a large or small group, we can help you find the perfect vacation home.  Letâ??s Get Started!