Outer Banks, NC  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Outer Banks Area Features

Nags Head

Nags Head’s central location on the barrier islands makes it a perfect getaway destination for many of the area’s visitors. The town also hosts the famous sand dunes that were noted prominently by early colonists. Over time, the area grew and now boasts a large number of restaurants, shops, and amusements. There is also seclusion for those looking to escape on their vacation. It’s a combination 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.

Have Fun Jockey’s Ridge

Jockey’s Ridge is the place to be for adrenaline seekers who are interested in trying a new sport or activity. From the top of the East Coast’s largest natural sand dune, you can try hang gliding. Take a tandem flight and sail down (hopefully gracefully) to the bottom of the dune. 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

For affordable fishing in Nags Head, just head 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!

Climb the Bodie Island Lighthouse

In the southernmost part of Nags Head is the Bodie Island Lighthouse. For many, it 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 Home a Memory

The best things to take from a vacation are the memories. Perhaps you’ll always remember an exciting family activity or a funny moment. Sometimes though it’s nice to bring home a gift from your trip. Fortunately, Nags Head has many shops with exceptional items to choose from. Boutique shops that sell Outer Banks merchandise to take home from your vacation are fun places to explore. In addition to a bathing suit, hoodie or t-shirt, an impulse purchase of a lighthouse replica or a nautical picture frame could find its way into your shopping basket. Of course, you can also find things you currently need on your vacation. Beach necessities including towels, toys, sunscreen and rafts are also available for purchase throughout the town.

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