Outer Banks, NC  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Outer Banks Area Features

Step Inside for a Cool Experience

Many of the great experiences offered on the Outer Banks are outdoors. However, sometimes you need to beat the heat or avoid the rain with an indoor activity. As you’re sure to find, there are amazing things to do inside and lots of fun to be had. So go ahead and step inside one of the many cool attractions on the Outer Banks.

Tour Wild Exhibits

A great way for children to combine their love of the beach with an educational trip is to visit the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. Here, children and adults can learn about the fish that swim in the very same waters where they play. As visitors tour the facility, which is designed to inspire “appreciation and conservation of North Carolina’s aquatic environments,” they can witness sea life including sharks, turtles and rays in re-created natural habitats. Creatures such as alligators, otters and snakes that dwell in coastal environments can also be viewed in the “Wild Wetlands” exhibit.

For a more in-depth look at wildlife on land and in the sea, visit the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education in Corolla. Here, guests can greet “Banks” the (stuffed) black bear, see a re-created duck blind from the 1900s, and explore countless models of wildlife that once ran free in the Outer Banks region.

Let's Go To The Movies

Catching a movie is the classic rainy day activity. And there are a couple of movie theaters to choose from in the area that show the latest films. One of the most beloved is the Pioneer Theatre in Manteo. Built in 1918, this theater is a local treasure. The prices are low and the building, which has been owned by the same family since its beginning, is an experience in itself. Those who are staying farther north can visit RC Theatres in Kill Devil Hills. This large modern multiplex presents over a dozen films with ample seating for groups and parties. Another option is to see a play at the Theatre of Dare, also in Kill Devil Hills. Support the local arts while taking in a live production. The local talent at this community theater is exceptional and the plays offered vary between popular favorites and obscure delights. Their season starts in the fall. Visit their website at www.theatreofdareobx.com to see what’s playing!

Experience “Living” History

The stories of the rescues performed by the brave men who served at the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station are recounted through the artifacts that are still contained within its walls. Built in 1874, this station has saved many from ill-fated sea voyages off the perilous coast of the Outer Banks. Take a short trip to Frisco on Hatteras Island to view relics salvaged from shipwrecks, photographs of the men who risked their lives, medals awarded for outstanding service, and even the tools that were used in the daring rescues. It’s a unique and outstanding attraction that should not be overlooked while on vacation on the Outer Banks.

Explore Native American Heritage

Long before European settlers arrived on the shores of the Outer Banks, Native Americans were flourishing in the region. The Algonquin Indian tribes left behind many artifacts from those early days and beyond. Thankfully, some of those items have been saved and preserved through the efforts of Carl Bornfriend. Visit the museum he founded, the Frisco Native American Museum & Natural History Center, to get a glimpse into the life and culture of these native people through the art and tools that they created. Afterwards, stroll the trails that lead to the sound to maybe walk in their former footsteps.

Play Games Together

Enjoying family activities together instills cherished memories that last a lifetime. The Outer Banks offers a variety of indoor recreational opportunities that require active participation. When was the last time the parents challenged the kids in a game of laser tag or knocked down some pins at a bowling alley? Sometimes it takes a vacation to remember how much fun these things can be. The new Turf's Up offers a large array of indoor games using modern technology. Play sports such as golf, soccer, dodgeball and baseball using high resolution video screens that simulate the thrill of the game. The family will have a lot of fun engaging in some friendly competition while getting some beneficial exercise.

Shop 'Til You Drop

The variety of stores located on the Outer Banks is seemingly limitless and the items they carry are plentiful. There are so many great gifts to purchase for family and friends and especially for ourselves. For instance, it could be fun to get a new outfit for a romantic night out or a bathing suit for the beach. Custom products that are unique to the Outer Banks such as pieces of art, fashionable jewelry or local wines are wonderful remembrances of a fantastic vacation. There are even specialty stores that sell things collectors may enjoy such as Outer Banks Christmas ornaments, Simply Southern and Salt Life merchandise, and unique growlers for beer connoisseurs (you can even have them filled with locally produced beer!) The possibility of finding something wonderful is limitless. Enjoy browsing through the shops that are found in every town and on every island until you stumble on that perfect something that piques your interest.


Spa services are always a good idea. Whether it’s a relaxing massage or a pedicure with a fun new color on the toes, you’re on vacation and it’s time to relax! The islands of the Outer Banks have many places where you can go and be pampered. This could also be the time to try a new look or something different… maybe even crazy. Did you want to try a new hair color? Why not do it here?! For something not-so-permanent, how about a commemorative henna tattoo or a colorful hair wrap? Go ahead and have fun with a new look!

So when you need a break from the heat and would like to do something indoors, remember that the Outer Banks has many options for you and your family. Have fun together in indoor comfort!

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