Things to Do in Outer Banks NC
Alligator River National Wildlife/Pea Island Wildlife refuges
Explore the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, where adventure seekers can drive through the area, looking for black bears, wild turkeys, birds and more. The Creef Cut Wildlife Trail is a half-mile loop surrounded by marsh and home to waterfowl and other wildlife. The Sandy Ridge Wildlife Trail offers a more rustic view, and the Milltail Paddling Trail is great for those who like to get on the water. Pea Island Wildlife Refuge offers bird walks, adventures in red wolf howling, trails for exploring and so much more. The refuges are open year-round, from sun up to sun down.
Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station
Situated in Rodanthe, the historical Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station was the first one staffed in the state, and it remains one of the only lifesaving stations open to the public on the East Coast. According to historians, this station helped rescue more than 40 sailors from British tanker, Mirlo, during World War I.
Located in Manteo, within the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, the 10-acre Elizabethan Gardens is home to hundreds of native plants and wildlife, as well as flora and fauna from across the globe. Every bat of the eye offers a breathtaking view, no matter the season. Aside from beautiful landscapes, be on the look out for artwork depicting notable historical figures, such as Virginia Dare and Queen Elizabeth I.
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
The Outer Banks has a fascinating history of pirates and shipwrecks, so enthusiasts will adore the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. Home to shipwreck, diving, piracy, Civil War and USS Monitor collections and educational programming, the museum caters to all ages and is open year-round.
The Lost Colony
Known as America’s oldest drama, “The Lost Colony” tells the stories of some of the area’s most legendary settlers. The production plays throughout the summer on Roanoke Island, right where the settlers came ashore in the late 1500s.
North Carolina Aquarium On Roanoke Island
Dive into adventure at the North Carolina Aquarium On Roanoke Island, where myriad undersea animals await. The young and young at heart will revel at the largest group of sharks in the state. Visitors can also touch stingrays, interact with scuba divers, see alligators, learn about conservation efforts and so much more.
Roanoke Island Festival Park
Long before Jamestown was settled, the first English settlers landed on American soil on Roanoke Island. Unfortunately, these colonists disappeared, and their fate is still discussed today. No one knows what happened to them, just that they went amiss. Today, Roanoke Island Festival Park celebrates these settlers with a replica Elizabeth II ship, which can be toured. Guests will also enjoy the settlement site, the American Indian town exhibit and so much more.
Wanchese MARINE Industrial Park
The Wanchese Marine Industrial Park in Dare County helps to promote fishing and marine industries, which are vital to the Outer Banks. Commercial fisherman reel in fresh catches daily, and guests can also see luxury boats being built to set sail. The park is also home to a number of Charter Fishing Boats, dolphin tours and sunset cruises.
Whalehead in Historic Corolla
Part of Historic Corolla Park, Whalehead is a restored 1920s mansion. This National Register of Historic Places landmark was owned by the Knight family, who opened the venue as a hunting retreat. Today, Whalehead is open year-round, except from the end of December until February, for tours. The venue also hosts numerous events.
Wild Horse Adventures
There are a lot of ways to experience the Outer Banks but one of the most unforgettable is through Wild Horse Adventure Tours. In fact, Wild Horse Adventure Tours has been rated the No. 1 tour company in the nation by TripAdvisor. Guests hop aboard a 13-passenger Hummer, equipped with a seasoned tour guide, and go in search of Colonial Spanish Mustangs. These horses roam the coast of Corolla and are a beautiful sight to behold.
Wright Brothers National Memorial
Paying homage to Wilbur and Orville, the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills stands tall in honor of the brothers of flight. The duo landed on this site in December 1903, making the trek the first successful airplane flight. In addition to the monument, guests can enjoy many other tributes to these great innovators.