Outer Banks NC Attractions & Historic Sites


There are a lot of fun things to see and do on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Here are just a few!

#1 Cape Hatteras Lighthouse The most recognized symbol of the Outer Banks is certainly the black and white candy striped lighthouse in Buxton. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the same height as a 12-story building and is the tallest lighthouse in the United States! For 2009, the lighthouse is open to visitors from April 17th - October 12th. You may climb to the top, but be forewarned - it's not an easy journey! Be prepared to climb up 248 iron steps with no air conditioning. However, the view from the top is so worth the effort!

#2 North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island While the otters tend to steal the show, the aquarium also offers a touch tank, a shark exhibit, gift shop, and programs for kids. Special programs include dive shows, live animal encounters, and animal feeding activities. The Roanoke Island Aquarium is open 9:00-5:00 daily, and tickets are $8 and less.

#3 Jockey's Ridge No trip to Nags Head is complete without climbing to the top of Jockey's Ridge! Located in Nags Head at Mile Post 12, it is the tallest natural sand dune system on the east coast. The fragile system of dunes constantly changes in response to the wind and weather. Visitors will find a 1.5 mile self-guided trail, a 360 foot boardwalk, and a 1 mile soundside nature trail. You'll see many families flying colorful kites, and kids having fun rolling down the dunes. Hang gliding lessons are available for folks of all ages - even children as young as 4!

#4 The Lost Colony at Waterside Theater First staged in 1937, The Lost Colony performance is an Outer Banks tradition. Over 4 million vacationers and locals have experienced this moving drama. Performances take place at 8:00 pm Monday-Saturday during the summer months.

#5 Whalehead Club This grand structure was built in the early 1920s as a private hunt club. The wealthy Whalehead Club in Corolla NCindustrialist owners lavishly entertained friends in the then remote area of Corolla. Over the years, the residence changed hands and fell into disrepair. In 1992, Currituck County bought the Whalehead Club and restored it to its original grandeur. Vacationers are invited for tours and special events.

#6 Elizabethan Gardens  Located on historic Roanoke Island, these breathtaking gardens offer flowers, shrubs, and trees. Marvel at ancient live oaks, smell the herb garden, and delight in the endless array of blooms. The Elizabethan Gardens are open 7 days a week, year-round.

#7 Bodie Island Lighthouse & Coquina Beach Folklore contends that Bodie Island (pronounced "body") got its name from the numerous "bodies" that washed ashore due to shipwrecks. The current Bodie Island Lighthouse actually had two predecessors - the first succumbed to poor construction, and the second was destroyed during the Civil War. Across the road, Coquina Beach offers some of tWright Brothers Memorial on the Outer Banks of North Carolinahe widest, most beautiful seashore on the Outer Banks. Parking, showers, and restrooms are available at this pristine public beach.

#8 Wright Brothers Memorial You simply can't talk about Outer Banks history without mentioning Orville and Wilbur Wright's famous 1903 flight. Visit the exhibits, including a replica of the Wright's "flying machine." Be sure to climb Kill Devil Hill where the 60 foot pylon stands - you'll find stunning views of both the ocean and sound from the top.

#9 Festival Park & the Elizabeth II Located across from the Manteo waterfront, the 25-acre Festival Park offers fun for the entire family. You'll find interpreters in period costume, an interactive museum, and a variety of cultural arts programs. Be sure to visit the Elizabeth II, a replica 16th century sailing ship.

#10 Currituck Beach Lighthouse Built in 1875, the brick lighthouse and the Victorian-style Light Keeper's House is part of historic Currituck Heritage Park in Corolla. Climb the 214 steps to the top and admire the stunning views of Corolla and the Atlantic Ocean. The Currituck Beach Lighthouse and Museum Shop are open 9:00-5:00 daily from Easter to Thanksgiving.

#11 Off Shore Fishing You will find some of the best fishing in the world just minutes away!

#12 Surf Fishing - Surf fishing is done all along the coast. Some of the favorite places are the point in Buxton and Hatteras.

#13 Pier Fishing - There are several fishing piers along the outer banks with one in Rodanthe within site of the condo!

#14 Kite Surfing - Water sports are popular on the shores of this beach because of the great winds the Southern Outer Banks gets. If you've already tried the amazing sport of wind surfing or kite boarding, then you probably bring your own boards. For those looking to get in on the action, REAL Kite boarding offers lessons for the sport indigenous to the Outer Banks. Check out this article on the Canadian Hole next to Rodanthe.

#15 Nags Heads Woods - The Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve is a 1,400-acre maritime forest rich in ecological diversity due to the unique makeup of its environment. The forest is protected by a line of inland sand ridges, which keep the harsh Outer Banks winds at bay. The rolling terrain creates a habitat for four distinct communities made up of deciduous forest, swamp forest, shrub forest and inter-dunal ponds. #16 Ferry to Ocrakoke

#17 Scalloping - During certain times of the year you can rake scallops just off the beach in the sound. One place is down by the Coast guard station in Hatteras. Be sure to check the up to date fishing regulations!

#18 Flounder Gigging - Oregon Inlet is one of the best flounder gigging locations on the outer banks! Here is a 17Lb one I gigged!

#19 Bird Watching - Hatteras Island offers many various seasonal bird watching opportunities that are offered here that you won't find anywhere else in the country.

#20 Wild Horse Viewing - Corolla's wild horses are descended from the Spanish mustangs that have roamed free on North Carolina's Outer Banks for centuries. These tenacious, hardy survivors adapted to the vegetation available to them on the sandy, windswept barrier islands and have thrived here since the earliest European explorers ran aground on these shores in the 1500's.


#21 Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station - With its two stations and five outbuildings, Chicamacomico (pronounced chik a ma COM i co) is the most complete site of remaining life-saving stations in North Carolina and one of the nation’s most complete sites. This site is located on Hatteras Island in the village of Rodanthe on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

#22 Scuba Diving - Many of the wrecks that lie off Hatteras were stranded on the hard sand of Diamond Shoals; others met their end from German torpedoes during WW II. The storms that beat against the shore in the winter and late fall drove many a sailing ship into the dangerous shallow waters of the cape, and then pounded them mercilessly. Now many of them lie in the warm Gulf Stream waters that average 78-85 degrees in the summer months and that boast incomparable visibility. Once you've dived these wrecks you'll never stop coming back. 

#23 Nights in Rodanthe House - This is the first house on the left as you enter Rodanthe. Better come quick if you want to see it! The ocean is close to taking it!

#24 - Free Ferry Ride to Ocrakoke - Ocracoke Island, accessible only by water or air, is part of Hyde County. It is one of the barrier islands of the Outer Banks of North Carolina where the pirate Blackbeard is known to have once roamed.

#25 Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum - The Cape Hatteras National Seashore, within which the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is built, was established by Congressional Act  H. R. 7022 in 1937 and by Secretarial Order in 1953. It is located in Hatteras right next to the Ferry dock.

#26 Oregon Inlet Fishing Center - Take a ride to the Oregon Inlet Fishing Centeror one of the fishing centers in hatteras around 3-5 o'clock and watch the boats come in with their catches and display them on the pier!! The last picture is a boat coming back in hatteras. It is always exciting to see the day's catches!!


#27 Manteo Waterfront - Less than 30 minutes away is the town of Manteo. Manteo offers a waterfront area full of shopping and activities. See items #4, 6 and 9 above for more activities in the Manteo area. Maybe you will catch the local legend Andy Griffin in one of the restaurants!!