Outer Banks, NC  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Outer Banks Area Features

Great Ideas for Family Fun on the Outer Banks

Sometimes it’s hard for families with kids of different ages to find things to do together while on vacation. However, on the Outer Banks, the task of bringing everyone together is a lot simpler. Entertaining, memory-making activities are available to be experienced by everyone—young, old or in between. Here are some of our favorite ideas for incredible bonding experiences.

  • Play a beach game like volleyball, ring toss, or paddleball
  • Collect seashells
  • Take family photos
  • Catch an OB Daredevils baseball game
  • Ride the ferry to Ocracoke Island
  • Visit a lighthouse
  • Plan a scavenger hunt
  • Go on a picnic

Activity-Filled Fun Parks

Visit a fun park for popular amusements that can provide lots of laughs for everyone in the family. One of the newest Outer Banks attractions (opening this summer), H2OBX Waterpark, sets the stage for a wet and wild experience. Bumper cars are also a lot of fun for the family. Intentionally collide with each other while steering around the rink. Maybe speed around a racetrack in a go-kart, challenging other members of the family to see who can cross the finish line first. Afterwards, putt through the obstacles in a round of miniature golf and try for that elusive hole-in-one. Some of the local parks have arcade games or even small rides for the young ones to enjoy. 

Sweet Rewards

Nothing brings out the kid in all of us like indulging in a sweet treat—particularly on a hot summer night. Gather the family and head to an ice cream parlor or candy store for a decadent dessert. Stopping for a frozen yogurt, smoothie, snowball, or a waffle cone loaded with ice cream and toppings is a refreshing break from the heat of the day. Local fudge shops sell a variety of flavors, and saltwater taffy is a great gift to bring home for others to enjoy—if it lasts that long!

Sun, Sand, Surf

Play like a kid again and go splashing and swimming in the ocean—after all, isn’t that why the family chose to vacation in the OBX? The Atlantic Ocean and the other side of the barrier islands, the sounds, are arguably the greatest tourist attractions to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. People are compelled to come to the sea. The beautiful waterscapes are home to a host of activities that can ensure everyone in the family has a memorable and exciting time on the water.

To heighten the fun, bring a wave board, boogie board, or just use your body to ride the surf into the shore. Afterwards, relax from the excitement and dry off on the clean, spacious beaches under the warm Carolina sun.

Go for a Bike Ride

Touring the Outer Banks by bike gets easier each passing year with the addition of new trails and better-marked bike paths. Just about every town has areas that are bicycle friendly and many take cyclists through maritime forests, over dunes or alongside the beach. If needed, there are a few businesses that rent bikes for the hour, day or week. Bring your camera, water, sunblock and bug spray for an enjoyable ride. Visit outerbankschamber.com for maps of all the paths in the region and rules and tips for a safe ride. Will you do the 150-mile length of the Outer Banks by bike?

Outdoor Entertainment

Beach communities are famous for great things to do outside, and the Outer Banks offers more than most other areas. The natural dunes at Jockey’s Ridge are fun to climb, and there are many opportunities for fun including hiking and flying a kite that the family can enjoy. The rich history of the region also contributes to the list of available outside entertainment. For instance, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site where early colonists once lived, is an interesting day trip. Fort Raleigh is home to The Lost Colony outdoor drama, which is performed in an open-air theater and is a must-see attraction while in the region. It’s celebrating 80 years in production and is the longest running outdoor drama in the nation. There are also the beautiful Elizabethan Gardens, extensive natural parks, and of course, the area beaches.

Return to Simpler Times

Find yourself face to face with nature and history at the Island Farm in Manteo. This working farm preserves the past, depicting life in the region during the 1800s. Visitors can wander around the farm and gardens, feed chickens, take a ride in a cart pulled by an ox, and learn how people lived in coastal North Carolina during the 19th century. Lend a hand in the cornfield, garden or just relax and immerse yourself in a historic era. The docents in the Visitor’s Center and in the preserved buildings on the property explain how people cared for livestock, worked the land, fished the waters, and even harnessed the wind’s energy on a daily basis.  It’s an educational experience that is incredibly delightful.

Spending time together only strengthens family bonds by creating memories. The Outer Banks has many opportunities to interact with those you love. Make sure to take advantage of as many as possible!

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