10 Best Outer Banks Restaurants that Offer Takeout

The barrier islands located off the coast of North Carolina make for the perfect summer vacation. Sun, sand, and beaches, the Outer Banks has everything you can ask for. This quintessential holiday destination also has an amazing range of restaurants that you can choose from during your stay at Atlantic Realty. Let us explore some of the best Outer Banks restaurants that offer takeout.

Outer Banks Restaurants are offering takeout options for visitors

  1. NC Coast Grill & Bar

One of the newest restaurants in Duck, NC Coast Grill & Bar not only offers takeout (with online ordering) but also is currently offering indoor dining with 50% capacity. Take in the amazing water views and experience the chef-driven, fresh, and fit coastal cuisine. As an Atlantic Realty partner, NC Coast Grill & Bar offers free desserts to Atlantic Realty guests as part of our Fun N Sun Pass program. Just mention this promo and enjoy!

2. Argyle’s Restaurant

The perfect place for a wholesome breakfast or lunch, Argyle’s Restaurant is a farm-to-table restaurant serving fresh local seafood and an exciting range of entrees, too. 

3. Mulligan’s Grille

Mulligan’s Grille and Restaurant is located in the historic cottage row area of Nags Head (just past Jockey’s Ridge) and offers a wide variety of entrees sure to please the entire family’s palate (including pets). Their unique outdoor dining deck is pet friendly and Mulligan’s offers a complimentary dog meal with the purchase of an adult meal as part of Atlantic Realty’s Fun N Sun Pass Program.

4. Ashley’s Espresso Parlour

This cute coffee shop is a popular hangout in the area. Ashley’s Espresso Parlour is known for hand-roasted coffee beans and excellent brews.

5. Avenue Waterfront Grille

This fantastic Outer Banks restaurant has a nice casual vibe and serves some of the best seafood in the area. Avenue Waterfront Grille offers chef-prepared dishes for shellfish lovers, vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free eaters alike. 

6. Bad Bean Baja Grill

If you are looking for a casual place to have lunch, Bad Bean Baja Grill is it. They serve fantastic tacos, quesadillas, salads, and every other Mexican food you can dream of.

7. Barrier Island Bagels

Located at the Marketplace Shopping Center, Barrier Island Bagels serves some of the best bagels. You can also have some Acai Bowls and Homemade Smoothies if you like. Their bagels are never frozen and always fresh.

8. Bros Sandwich Shack

Bros Sandwich Shack is a restaurant owned by brothers who make some of the best food in the Outer Banks. You know a place has good food when they have a line of people waiting outside on the door every day for their fresh homemade burgers, pickles, and ranch dressing.

9. Freshfit Cafe

If you are on a diet, but still want to enjoy some delicious food, Freshfit Cafe is the place for you. This is a nutrition-oriented and health-focused cafe which fresh and balanced breakfasts and lunches.

10, Lost Colony Brewery & Cafe

Offering some great beer brews, Lost Colony Brewery & Cafe is one of the best hangout beer places in the area. The food is also diverse and fresh & it never fails to disappoint.

Enjoy the Best Outer Banks Restaurants at Atlantic Realty

Enjoy dishes from the best Outer Banks restaurants near your North Carolina rental at Atlantic Realty. You’re in for an unforgettable family getaway experience at our oceanfront vacation homes. For more information, check availability online

Embark on an Outer Banks Horseback Riding Tour

Soak in the beauty of the Atlantic Coast from a different vantage point with an Outer Banks horseback riding tour near your vacation home. Luckily for you, there are plenty of options from which to choose when you make a reservation via Atlantic Realty. Whether you’re looking for a romantic ride on the beach at sunset with your significant other or an unforgettable equestrian family outing, you’re sure to have a fantastic time on an Outer Banks horse tour. 

Outer Banks Horse Riding for All Ages & Comfort Levels

One of the best things about horseback riding tours is that nearly everyone can do it. Most establishments do have age, weight, and height restrictions for the riders’ and horses’ safety but are otherwise inclusive. There’s no prior experience necessary for an equine adventure near your Outer Banks rentals. Choose the tour that best fits your interests and schedule, and treat yourself and your loved ones to a beautiful day on the Atlantic Coast.

Lighthouse Horse Rides 

Open year-round, Lighthouse Horse Rides offers a wide variety of tours, befitting all skill levels and interests. Their expert guides strive for inclusivity in ensuring everyone has a safe and memorable experience; they even offer handicapped accommodations for those who need it. If you don’t see a tour that speaks to you, consider their custom tour option, and build the perfect Outer Banks horseback riding outing. 

Hatteras Island Horseback Riding

If you’re staying in an Outer Banks vacation rental with your family, Hatteras Island Horseback Riding might be the perfect place for you. They specialize in giving family tours, offer family packages, work well with people of all ages, and they’re open year-round. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them about organizing a custom ride for the anniversary or proposal of your dreams. 

Reserve the Perfect Outer Banks House Rental for Your Needs

From romantic retreats to family reunions, Atlantic Realty has the perfect North Carolina rental for your needs. We even have an assortment of specials so that you can get the utmost fun and excitement from your stay in the Outer Banks. To learn more about our fabulous offerings or luxurious vacation rentals, please give us a call at 877-858-4795.

North Carolina Spring Break for Families

Spring Break is a great time for families to visit the Outer Banks before the summer rush

Year after year, families chose to vacation in North Carolina for spring break, especially in the Outer Banks. The oceanside towns offer countless activities for children of all ages. Whether you’re splashing in the water, strolling through downtown, or decorating a sandcastle, Outer Banks will keep your family smiling all vacation long. Each town offers a unique set of activities, so regardless of your Atlantic Realty’s vacation rental location, there will be many things to do “near me.” 

Water Sports

One of the most popular Outer Banks activities is exploring several nearby water sports. If you’re hoping to reserve Outer Banks equipment rentals watercrafts, such as jet skis and boats, the sound is an ideal place to explore. However, use these rentals with caution since certain areas are very shallow. When it comes to non-motorized water sports, such as kayaking, windsurfing, kiteboarding, parasailing, paddleboarding, and surfing, visitors can utilize several more areas in the Outer Banks. 

Kiteboarding and windsurfing are quickly rising to be a top activity in the Outer Banks. Spend the day learning this new skill with lessons from Kitty Hawk Watersports. Your family will laugh all day long while watching each other face plant into the water. Our team loves Kitty Hawk Watersports because they boast several other watersports rentals, such as jet skis, kayaks, parasails, paddleboards, and more! For an extra treat, our Fun N Sun Pass gifts Atlantic Realty guests one free on-site stand up paddleboard or kayak rental per day, thanks to Kitty Hawk Kayak & Surf School

Beachcombing & Hunting for Ghost Crabs

ghost crabbing on the Outer Banks is a fun day or night time activity.
Ghost crabbing is a fun daytime or nighttime activity for kids and adults alike.

If you’ve ever taken a stroll down the beach at night, you must have noticed the highly-active tiny Ghost Crabs. These nocturnal creatures are best revealed under the glowing moon or a flashlight. However, you can also go hunting for Ghost Crabs during the day—dig in the shallow water and along the tide’s breaking point on the beach. You’ll be surprised by just how many critters live below the surface, such as sand daggers and sand crabs. 

North Carolina Aquarium

One of the top things to do during your Outer Banks family vacation is spending time at the North Carolina Aquarium. Children and adults of all ages enjoy watching aquatic animals swim and splash about in the aquarium’s realistic habitat. The aquarium’s exhibits feature rare animals, such as Alligators, Black Widow Spiders, Diamondback Rattlesnakes, Sea Otters, and more! One highlight of the North Carolina Aquarium is the mock Sea Turtles healing center and Observation Center. Here, visitors can pretend to assess Sea Turtles’ health, determine a diagnosis, and nurse some Sea Turtles back to health.  
At the end of your long day exploring Outer Banks activities, return to your Atlantic Realty vacation rental. We boast a wide selection of beach houses in the Outer Banks to accommodate various family sizes, so we’re confident you’ll be eager to visit North Carolina for spring break the following year. Start planning your epic spring break and give our staff a call today at 855-486-2150.

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.

Fall Getaways on the Outer Banks

Fall is the absolute best time to visit the Outer Banks. The weather is great (less heat and humidity than in Summer), the water is still warm, the Summer crowds have left, and the shops and restaurants are still open. Best of all, the vacation rental rates are low–up to 60% off peak Summer rates! Gather your group and make a plan to getaway to the OBX this Fall. We make it easy with affordable weekend and weeklong stays.

Girls Getaways

Grab your besties and head to the beach for a Fall Getaway on the Outer Banks. Imagine spending the day lounging on the beach with a great book or catching up on some great conversation with your friends. How about a night out? There is plenty of entertainment even in the Off Season and wine tastings are available if you want to keep things a little more low key. Treat yourself with a rejuvenating trip to one of our local Spas or an incredible piece of art or jewelry from any one of the galleries and shops up and down the beach. The option to do everything the OBX has to offer (or even nothing) all weekend is yours!

Enjoy a little retail therapy on the OBX

Guys Getaways

We can’t leave the fellas out of an Outer Banks Fall Vacation. With amazing outdoor activities available including Golf (FREE at 2 separate 18 hole courses with the Atlantic Realty Fun N Sun Pass), Charter Fishing Trips to the Gulf Stream, Pier Fishing and even Brewery Tours, there is something for all the guys in your group! Who will be the daredevil to try hang gliding on Jockey’s Ridge or Skydiving with OBX Skydive?

Hang gliding lessons are available from Kitty Hawk Kites

Couples Getaways

The Outer Banks was made for couples! From the gorgeous sunrise and sunset views each and every day here, to the romantic walks along the beach, there could not be a more perfect setting to spend the weekend away with your better half. Tour the local historic sites and attractions such as the Elizabethan Gardens or Currituck Lighthouse for a perfect photo op or cruise on down to Hatteras or Ocracoke Island for an amazing day trip.

Wine glass on the beach
Outer Banks Romantic Getaways

The Outer Banks is the perfect Fall destination. In addition to all of the things to see and do here year round, Fall brings several annual events and festivals to the area including the Outer Banks Seafood Festival and Duck Jazz Festival.

Give us a call today! Our Vacation Planners would be happy to help you plan your Outer Banks Getaway. Can’t wait? Browse our Vacaton Rental Homes now.

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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