Did you know there are some things you can only experience on the Outer Banks? These unique experiences are part of what makes the OBX an memorable vacation destination and a perfect spot to start (or continue) family vacation traditions. Be sure to check out a few of these unique experiences on your next visit.
The Outer Banks is one of the few places that still has wild horses roaming free on the beach. These wild Spanish Mustangs inhabit the four wheel drive area in Corolla and you'll never know when you'll see them grazing or galloping along the beach. If you want a guaranteed sighting, be sure take a tour with our Fun N Sun partner, Back Country Outfitters. They are the local experts and know where the herd tends to gather throughout the year. Seeing these majestic animals in their natural habitat is an experience you'll carry with you forever.
In other areas, "crabbing" means 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. Crabbing on the OBX is fun for the whole family! It all starts with a piece of chicken (necks are preferable, but any piece will do), a length of twine, a dock or pier on the Sound, and a net. The Town of Duck even has a public crabbing dock just for this purpose. You simply tie the twine around the chicken, 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.
Here's a great time guarantee for anyone with kids or who are kids are heart; ghost crabbing. These beach crabs are not for eating (or keeping!) They scurry around the beach and are almost impossible to spot during the day. All you have to do is wait until sunset, then grab a flashlight and a camera and head to the beach. Ghost crabs are sand colored and come out at night when the beach is much cooler. . Shine your flashlight down at the sand until you see the sand appear to move. You've found one! Then, you can try and chase it down to take its picture. That's all there is to it! This simple activity can keep kids and adults entertained for hours and it’s a great way to work off that after dinner energy. Ghost crabbing is the best on a night with a full moon or a clear evening where you can check out the starry OBX sky!
Eating Outer Banks Style
The Outer Banks is known for it's world class local seafood, but did you know that there are dishes exclusive to the OBX? Hatteras Clam Chowder, Bluefish dip, or wine from local vineyards can be a memory making experience too! Not to mention, there are local restaurants when you can dine while watching the sun set over the Sound. Or, take advantage of the many pet friendly outdoor restaurants in the area and dine with the whole family -- pets included. There's a variety food for all tastes at Outer Banks restaurants including seafood, fine dining, casual dining, and some unusual places you just have to try to believe. After all, some of the best conversations and memories are made over meals. Why not make dining at an amazing local Outer Banks restaurant part of your OBX vacation tradition?
The Lost Colony
Roanoke Island 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 about The Lost Colony 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. Come see the show and discover the mystery behind The Lost Colony.
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 drinks are available 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 resort 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 and 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 is a great way to introduce kids to the joys of golf when they're not ready for a real course yet. Plus, as a partner in our Fun N Sun program, a free round each day of your stay is on us!
A Day On The Sound
The Albemarle Sound on the west side of the Outer Banks is a large body of shallow and calm water very similar to a bay. It's known in these parts as a big water playground and is ideal for such sports as stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, waterskiing, jet skiing, and parasailing. When you've had your fill of the beach and need a change of scenery, come explore the Sound and have a great time. Chartering an inshore boat (like a pontoon boat) is the perfect option for those who want to take a boat trip together but are nervous about exploring the rough seas of the ocean. A day on the Sound offers minimal waves, very little chance of seasickness and land is always in sight. You can charter an inshore boat to catch fish, explore the islands, and even take a swim. An ideal experience for fmaily members of all ages.
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 concreate light house (Cape Hatteras) and the shortest (Ocracoke Island) are both on the Outer Banks. The Currituck Light 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 amazing inshore and offshore fishing. The good news is you don't even need a boat to catch a decent sized fish. You can catch one right off the beach or on one of the many fishing piers in the area. 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 which is just a short ride away. Popular fish in our area include Bluefish, Tuna, Cobia, Mackeral, and Drum
Roanoke Island 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 hunt for ducks. This interactive historic site is a child's dream come true.
This natural sand 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 panoramic view from the very top of the dune is one not to be missed (and so worth the climb!)
The Vineyard Voyage
Sanctuary Vineyards is one of the Outer Banks most famous wineries, just over the bridge on the mainland in Currituck. They make everything from Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadine, Rosé, and icebox wine. Many of their wines are made from 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 and afternoon of sightseeing along the water; what could be better?
The Outer Banks is famous for its various celebrations. From the Watermelon Festival, to the Art Under The Oaks, The Seafood Festival, The Pirate Festival, the Food Truck Showdown, the Tiny House Festival, the Duck and Wine Festival, Taste of the Beach, and so many more! With events happening in our area year round, there is always a reason to visit the OBX!
While we know there are ghost tours in other, much more haunted places, the Outer Banks Ghost Tours are Special. With the Graveyard of the Atlantic just offshore, 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 Vacation 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 vacation memories. Let's start planning your Outer Banks vacation traditions today!