The beautiful thing about the Outer Banks, especially the
lower half of this section of North Carolina, is that there is very little to
do other than enjoy the beach. Although you can certainly spend every waking
hour in the sand and surf, there are also a few highlights you will want to
make sure you don’t miss.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Inside the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is one of
America’s treasured lighthouses. For a small admission free you can enter the
grounds, explore the historic buildings and climb to the top of Cape Hatteras
Lighthouse, the tallest in the United States. Near by, also within Cape
Hatteras National Seashore, you will find a great family beach to practice your
boogie boarding skills. Make sure you pack your gear if you head down to the
lighthouse to explore.
Jockey’s Ridge State Park
Grab your family and climb the tallest natural sand dune
system in the Eastern United States. These hills were made for kite flying but
hiking and hang gliding are also easy sports to do in the park. Keep in mind
that during the summer months the sand can be 25 to 30 degrees hotter than the
air. Early morning adventures are recommended, as well as shoes. Even sandals
may not be able to protect you from the burning sand.
Wright Brothers National Memorial
Wilbur and Orville Wright changed the way we travel forever
with their flight experiments in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Kids can earn a
junior ranger badge at the memorial and also take part in “Kite Flight,” a kite-building
demo that will inspire your kids to build their own flying contraptions to take
to the skies.
North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
This tiny, but educational aquarium is great to keep your
kids busy on a rainy day. Watch the river otter play and the turtles sun
themselves before you move onto the alligator pond. Touch tanks filled with
rays and invertebrates are a fun way to let you kids touch a few creatures they
don’t normally get to see as they wade into the waters off the coast of NC. Special
programs are regularly offered throughout the day including a program just for
toddlers, and numerous behind-the-scenes experiences that are affordable for the
whole family to enjoy.
It’s not every day that you get to see wild Spanish mustangs
on the beach; the horse, not the car. A 4x4 off-road vehicle is necessary to
drive on the beach, but once there you can enjoy the beauty and peace and quiet
of this hard to access spot. Tours are available to bring you out if you don’t
have access to a 4x4 vehicle. Just remember to respect the horses’ space and
read all signs you see. There are federally protected lands on this beach. Also
note that horse sightings are not guaranteed, but a gorgeous beach atmosphere
is always available.
Uncle Eddy’s Frozen Custard and 18-Hole Mini Golf
Not everyone may think of frozen custard as a destination,
but once you have a taste you won’t question your decision to head down to the
tiny town of Buxton on the Outer Banks ever again. It is the perfect treat for
a hot summer day, whether you play a round of mini golf or not. Portions are not
small, and flavors are as simple as vanilla or as fun as Samoa and Scotch
Bonnet. Various sundaes and shakes are available, just make sure it has their
homemade frozen custard in it. You won’t be sorry.
Have you been to the Outer Banks? What are your best tips?