North Carolina is one of the most underrated states in America. The Tar Heel State has a range of landscapes that cover everything from sand dunes to incredible mountains. Of course, the crowning jewel of North Carolina is the soft, sandy beach of the Outer Banks.
Lying just off the coast, this 200-mile long collection of barrier-islands is dotted with lazy beach side towns and beautiful coastline. Over the years, the Outer Banks has become a famed beach lover’s paradise and a popular vacation destination for those living on the east side of America.
However, while beaches play a significant role in any visit, do not spend your entire holiday sunbathing. There are some great adventures to have when visiting the Outer Banks. Here are some of our favorites.
The Wright Brothers, two dreamers from Ohio, had their first successful flight at Kitty Hawk. Recognizing the importance of this historic event, there is now a memorial built to this world changing achievement.
Although visiting the Wright Brothers Memorial isn’t very adventurous, it’s a fun and family-friendly way to spend an afternoon, all while climbing over the sand dunes that first served as that all-important launching pad
Why not embark on your own flight in the place where flight was born. Imagine standing near the edge of one of the tallest sand dunes in the United States. You leap into the air but instead of rolling down the dune, you start to rise being pushed up by the wind until you are high enough to get an incredible aerial view of Jockey’s Ridge State Park. This is a fun and easy way to fly across the sand, getting a taste of what it must have felt like for the Wright Brothers themselves.
Along the northern Outer Banks, droves of wild horses roam the area. You can witness these majestic creatures wandering the beaches in a breathtaking scene that looks like a page straight out of a novel. These wild horses roam the beaches just north of Carova.If tracking wild horses is not your strong suit, you are in luck. There are some great 4x4 tours that take you on a thrilling adventure to witness these stunning wild creatures in their natural habitat.
Dolphin watching is an exciting experience everybody should have at least once in their lives. While there are plenty of places around the world to go dolphin watching, the Outer Banks puts a unique twist on some of the tours. Biologists operate these eco-friendly tours, on which visitors can see how these organizations research, study, and make discoveries about these lovable creatures. Not only will you get to see pods of friendly Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, but you’ll also have an educational adventure in the process.
Families with kids will love this little high seas adventure. Children are transformed into pirates and work as deckhands aboard a pirate ship. Setting sail, you venture on an epic undertaking to track down, defeat, and steal the treasure of notorious Pirate Pete. Not only will get to enjoy great views of the coast, but also have a fun and memorable voyage the whole family can enjoy.
This famous state park has many adventures to choose between; the most notable is climbing the tallest sand dune on the East Coast. There are a couple of options to choose from when deciding your route to the top.
The easiest way is by taking the boardwalk simply because you do not have to trek through the hot sand. The second option is to try your luck at climbing up the dune. This is an adventure in itself and it quite rewarding once you reach the summit. Not only do your get bragging rights, but you also get to take in the fantastic panoramic views of the area. For some added excitement, sand board down the dune once you’ve reached the top.
The park is also full of other trails. Make sure to keep an eye out for the marvelous fulgurites, lighting glass, which is what happens when lightning hits the sand.
The Outer Banks is not all drinks on the beach or swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. This beautiful string of islands offers many full filled adventures for both adrenaline junkies and families. Try anything from this list and add a little thrill to your Outer Banks holiday.
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Stephen Schreck is a world traveler, nomad, and adventure backpacker. Knowing a life of aimlessly wandering the globe in search of adventures was the only life for him he set out to make his dream his reality. Currently he is trying to conquer his fears and tackle his bucket list. Follow Stephen's adventures at A Backpacker's Tale or on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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