Outer Banks, NC  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Outer Banks Area Features

Nags Head, NC

The town of Nags Head offers a combination of activities, shopping and dining that can’t be beat. Families love the area for its many conveniences and quiet getaways, as well as the availability of day and evening entertainment. The town boasts a large number of restaurants, shops, and amusements, and also seclusion for those looking to escape on their vacation. Perhaps the popularity of Nags Head is based on its central location on the barrier islands. It may also be because Nags Head still hosts the famous sand dunes that were noted prominently by early colonists. Regardless, it will always be a popular vacation choice among tourists.

Take in the View from the Bodie Island Lighthouse

Nags Head also has a lighthouse in the southernmost part of town that is a wonderful place to go and explore. The Bodie Island Lighthouse is identifiable by its alternating black and white bands that span the circumference of the cone-shaped tower. If you would like to climb the 200 steps to peer out over the horizon, plan accordingly since the lighthouse is only open from late April until early October. But once at the top (the equivalent of being 10 stories up), the view is amazing. The Bodie Island Lighthouse was the third to be built on this section of coastline. The first was poorly constructed and tilted; the second was destroyed in the Civil War; and the third, built in 1871, still stands today. It’s hardly a surprise that people come from all over to see the North Carolina coast from the highest point of this beacon of light and safety.

Take Flight at Jockey’s Ridge

The Wright Brothers were the daredevils of the early 20th century, but modern-day adrenaline seekers can journey over to Jockey’s Ridge in Nags Head to try hang gliding. From the top of the East Coast’s largest natural sand dune, you can take a tandem flight and sail down (hopefully gracefully) to the bottom. Another unique sport at Jockey’s Ridge during the off-season (October-March) is sand surfing. Just like snowboarding, sand surfers use gravity to accelerate down the side of the sand dune. Very few places in the United States offer this extreme sport, yet Nags Head has it for those who are interested! Permits are required but the experience is exhilarating. Those who prefer sports that aren’t as heart-pounding may enjoy walking the trails of Jockey’s Ridge, kayaking in the sound or flying a kite. It’s a wonderful location with a lot for everyone to do and experience.

Cast a Line

A great way to experience affordable fishing in the OBX, especially in Nags Head, is with a visit to a fishing pier. There are three piers in town: Nags Head Pier, Jennette’s Pier, and the Outer Banks Pier and Fishing Center. Bring your rod and a cooler for your catch, and spend the entire day in the sun reeling in fish such as flounder, croaker, cobia, and pompano. Most piers open early, close late and have everything you need including bait, tackle, and other necessities such as hats and sunscreen. The piers in Nags Head have sightseeing passes and on-site restaurants for refueling the body or to grab a beer.

To really immerse yourself in some of the OBX’s finest fishing, venture out into the deep sea. Charter a boat or book a spot on a fishing cruise to cast your line in the hopes of ensnaring tuna, sailfish, wahoo or maybe even a challenging marlin. With the Gulf Stream just offshore and the availability of great marinas like the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, angling off the Nags Head coast is amazing!

Family Fun

For entertainment everyone will like, challenge the family to a game! At any one of the local mini golf courses, you’re bound to have a great time regardless of whether your group is skilled enough to ace the holes in one shot or you end up fishing golf balls out of water hazards. Each course in the area has its own theme with scenic depictions like treasure hunting or tropical adventures. Putt your way around the course, through the challenges and obstacles to see who wins. For indoor fun, perhaps visit a bowling alley—perfect for a rainy summer day. Maybe a stop for locally made ice cream or frozen custard afterwards can be a prize for everyone.

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