Celebrate National Park Week on the Outer Banks

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Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service!

National Park Week, April 16th to 24th, 2016, is America’s largest celebration of national heritage. From exploring amazing places to discovering open spaces to enjoying affordable vacations, visiting a national park is a great way to get out and explore this land that was made for you and me!

As a way to celebrate their 100th year of protecting and preserving some of the most beautiful and historic places in the United States, they are waiving the admission fee at all National Parks across the nation from April 16 – 24, 2016. If you’re visiting the Outer Banks, don’t miss you chance to tour the Wright Brothers Memorial free of charge and also visit our other national parks.
The Wright Brothers Memorial – Kill Devil Hills, NC

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The Wright Brothers Memorial celebrates ingenuity, perseverance, and the great achievement the brothers made as the first in flight. Tour the Visitors Center to see replicas of the first gliders and learn more about the day that made history. Reconstructed camp buildings give you a glimpse of what camp life was like for the brothers during their stay on the Outer Banks. Hike up to the inspiring monument and enjoy a panoramic view of Kill Devil Hills. Sculptures of the brothers and their glider are nearby for great photo ops.

Entry to the Wright Brothers Memorial is usually $7 for ages 16 and up, but will be waived from April 14 – 24 during National Park Week. The park is open from 9 am – 5 pm throughout the week.

*Fun Fact – April 16, 2016 would have been the 149th birthday for Wilbur Wright!

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Fort Raleigh National Historic Site – Manteo, NC

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Visit England’s first attempt at colonization in the new world at Fort Raleigh in Manteo, NC. This historical site preserves the history and artifacts of the setters from 1584 to 1590. Walk along the trails where the settlers lived and look at the monuments celebrating their time there. The Lost Colony’s Waterside Theatre is also here along with the archaeological excavation conducted to find out more about The Lost Colony.

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Bodie Island Lighthouse, Nags Head, NC

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The Bodie Island Lighthouse, (pronounced “body”) is located just south of Nags Head and before Oregon Inlet on Hwy. 12 at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Tucked away between tall pine trees and freshwater marshland, visitors headed toward Hatteras Island can’t help but notice the majestic black and white horizontal striped structure along the soundside of the Outer Banks.

Though not as well-known as its neighbors, Bodie Island Light remains an important part of local history and is a favorite spot for visitors.

An extensive restoration project has recently been completed, sponsored by the National Park Service, to ensure that future generations will not only be able to visit the Bodie Island Lighthouse, but also continue to climb the 214 steps to the top. The 156′ ft. lighthouse still shines a beam 19 miles offshore, making full rotations at 27.5 seconds.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore – Nags Head, Buxton, Hatteras, NC

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Gorgeous beaches, stunning wildlife, and salt marshes on Cape Hatteras National Seashore are sights and sounds you’ll want to experience firsthand. The gorgeous landscape and fresh salt air is good for your soul! Camp out near the ocean or take your 4-wheel drive vehicle out on the beach.

If you’re up for the trip, climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for free on April 15, 2016 in honor of the National Park Service’s anniversary. Climbs begin at 9 am, running every 10 minutes with a limit of 30 visitors per climb. The last climb ends at 4:30 pm.

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Jockey’s Ridge State Park – Nags Head, NC

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Although it’s not part of the National Park Service, Jockey’s Ridge in Nags Head, NC is still worth visiting any time of year! Climbing the largest sand dune on the east coast is a great way to burn off energy and it offers some pretty impressive views of the beautiful Outer Banks. Walk along the soundside nature trail for some exercise and check out the wildlife and scenery along the way. For adventure seekers, book a hang-gliding lesson with Kitty Hawk Kites. The park’s sound access is a great place for beginners to try kayaking, windsurfing, and paddleboarding. This is also a perfect swimming spot for smaller kids when the ocean is rough.

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If you can’t make it to one of the Outer Banks park sites this week, browse the National Parks site for parks in your area.

Headed out for National Park Week? Make sure to like us on Facebook and then share your park day adventures with us! Your photo could be featured on our page!