Bodie Island Light Station at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Vibrant beach houses lining the shoreline at Nags Head
A wild Banker pony and her foal relaxing at ocean’s edge
Bird’s-eye view of the wetlands ecosystem
A day of sun, surf and sand along the Nags Head shoreline
Docking at a jetty for a break during a kayaking adventure
Kites in flight above a sandy hill at Cape Hatteras
At Jockey’s Ridge State Park, exploring the tallest sand dunes in the eastern USA
Wild horses, golden beaches and quaint villages
Take a Road Trip
Highway 12 connects much of the Outer Banks and makes for a fantastic road trip. The route covers the islands of Bodie, Hatteras and Ocracoke, starting in the upscale town of Corolla, and ending at the historic Ocracoke Lighthouse. Along the way you’ll pass by the gorgeous Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Wright Brothers Memorial, the Cape Hatteras Light Station and the resort towns of Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get a glimpse of the wild horses of Ocracoke and Corolla.
There are so many ways to enjoy the golden beaches and waterways of the Outer Banks. Rent a boat for sightseeing, fishing or diving, or take a two-man kayak out for a spin in the Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary. If you’re a diver, explore one of the more than 2,000 shipwrecks that lay at the bottom of the Atlantic off the coast. Or just pitch an umbrella in the sand at Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, which was selected by Dr. Beach as one of Top 10 U.S. beaches in 2016.
There are plenty on on-shore activities as well. Go biking at Springer's Point Preserve. Take a stroll down Jennette’s Pier or the Duck Town Boardwalk. Pick up a souvenir at one of the many shops in Nag’s Head, or take the kids to the North Carolina Aquarium. Climb the dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Consider a helicopter tour for a bird’s-eye view of the coastline and marine life.
Delve Into History
400 years of history in the Outer Banks is commemorated in numerous places: The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, the Wright Brothers National Memorial, the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station (the oldest lifeguard station in North Carolina), and the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.