Who says you have to spend a load of money while you’re on vacation? One of the many great things about the Outer Banks is how many free activities there are! We’ve come up with a list of the top 10 free things to do on the Outer Banks that everyone will love!
1 // The Beach
The Outer Banks is home to some of the most beautiful free beaches in the country. Pack a lunch and enjoy a seaside picnic and make sure to layer on the sunscreen. It costs $0.00 to have a great beach day and create memories that will last a lifetime with your friends and family!
2 // Jockey’s Ridge
Explore the tallest natural living dune in the Eastern United States at Jockey’s Ridge. Jockey’s Ridge State Park and climbing the dune are completely free activities. Enjoy the views from the top of the dunes with views of the ocean towards the east and views of the sound in the west. Just make sure you bring plenty of water and snacks if you’re planning on playing for a while!
3 // Shell & Beach Glass Search
Take home treasures from the sea and search for shells and beach glass! The best time to look for beautiful beach glass and shells is right after a storm early in the morning. So take advantage of the summer thunderstorms and go beachcombing when the weather clears and who knows, you might find something special!
4 // Explore Downtown Manteo
Downtown Manteo is full of history and beauty so take advantage of all the beauty Manteo has to offer. Take a stroll on the waterfront docks and enjoy the view of the Albemarle and Croatan Sounds. Walk over to Roanoke Island Festival Park and enjoy the walking path along the sound without having to pay admission to the park!
5 // Bike Riding
The Outer Banks is full of safe paths for bikers and walkers alike. From Duck to Nags Head, you can ride along the beach road and check out all of the different little shops and eateries. Park at one of the public beach accesses for a break and a view!
6 // Ghost Crabbing
Take part in an Outer Banks beach must; ghost crabbing! Ghost crabs sometimes scurry around during the day but they really thrive at night when the beaches are quieter. Grab the family, some dark clothing, and flashlights and begin your “hunt”. Ghost crabs freeze when a bright light is shining on them so that gives you a chance to check them out up close and personal! Just don’t poke, prod, or attempt to harm them. They’re still a part of the Outer Banks’ ecosystem and they will try to poke you back!
7 // Ferry Ride
Take the day and ride the free ferry from Cape Hatteras to Ocracoke! The ferry ride from Hatteras to Ocracoke typically takes 40-45 minutes depending on the weather and runs every 30 minutes from both sides. The ferry is a great photo and sightseeing opportunity as well. The ferry sails over the Pamlico Sound where you can see miles of water! Once the ferry stops, adventure the towns of Ocracoke or Hatteras, depending on where you got on!
8 // Manteo Farmer’s Market
The Manteo Farmer’s Market happens every Saturday from 8 AM to 12 PM. Take a stroll downtown and discover homemade goods, homegrown produce, and more. Local artists sell their works and live music is played sometimes as well. Going to the Farmer’s Market is completely free so you don’t have to spend any money unless you see something really beautiful (or really tasty!)
9 // North Carolina Wildlife Reserve
Learn more about the different wildlife refuges all over the country at the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center. This center located in Manteo is 100% free! The National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center represents eleven different wildlife refuges and one national fish hatchery. With interactive exhibits and audio-visual programs like a virtual airplane ride, you can learn more about national refuges and their importance!
10 // Catch of the Day
Take a trip down to Oregon Inlet Fishing Center or over to Pirate’s Cove Marina and watch the boats come in after a long day of fishing. Watch the catches of the day being unloaded off the boats and even see who had the best day of fishing!