Vacations can be exciting, memorable, and most of the time expensive. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to break the bank to have a great time on vacation! On the Outer Banks, there is a ton of free things to do, see, and explore! Check out some of the best inexpensive and free activities you can your family can do this year on your Outer Banks vacation!

Climb Jockey’s Ridge + Have A Picnic

How cool is it that the largest sand dune on the east coast is 100% free to climb?! Grab the family and a cool kite and take a hike to the top of Jockey’s Ridge. At the top of the dunes, you’ll have a stunning view of the ocean and the sound, plus, it’s the perfect setting to have a picnic! Cheap meals and tons of fun exploring this natural phenomena sounds like a day well spent!

Visit The Wildlife Refuge

The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is another free activity that is sure to keep you entertained and educated! Open Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 4 PM and on Sundays from 12 PM to 4 PM, the wildlife refuge offers 4 walking trails, interactive exhibits, and even a virtual plane ride!

Stroll On Jennette’s Pier

Explore the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean with a stroll on Jennette’s Pier. Walk to the end to get a birds eye view of the ocean and panoramic views of the beach. If you go on a day where the water is exceptionally clear, you may even see a few stingrays! Walk-on fees are $2 for adults and $1 for children. The walk on pass is good all day so you can come and go as you please all day long!

Visit All Of The Lighthouses
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The lighthouses of the Outer Banks are certainly one of the biggest attractions on the Outer Banks. Make it a point to visit them all! Just to visit them, there is no admission fee so you can go, take photos, and learn more about the rich history of the Ocracoke, Currituck Beach, Bodie Island, and Cape Hatteras lighthouses! If you want to climb, the fee for the Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras lighthouses are $8 for adults and $4 for children and senior citizens. The Currituck Beach lighthouse climb fee is $10 per person and children 7 and under climb free with an adult. The Ocracoke lighthouse does not permit climbs but you can still visit for free!

Go Ghost Crabbing
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Ghost crabbing is a super fun and free family activity! Ghost crabs are rarely seen during the day but love to come out and party at night when the beaches are quieter and there are less people around. Ghost crabs freeze when a bright light is shined on them. This gives you the opportunity to get a closer look at these night loving critters. So grab the family and a flashlight and “hunt” all you want, just don’t poke, prod, or harm them. They’re an important part of the Outer Banks ecosystem and they will try to poke you back!

Take A Ferry Ride + Explore Ocracoke
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Did you know ferry rides from Hatteras to Ocracoke are free?! You can catch the ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke for free. The ferry system leaves every 30 minutes from 5:00 AM to Midnight during the in season. The ferry ride takes about an hour which can mean prime time to take really cool photos and videos!

Spend The Day At The Beach

What can be more free and affordable than a beach day?! Spend hours on the beach soaking up the sun and splashing in the waves! Our beaches on the Outer Banks are free and open to everyone. Pack some snacks and drinks so you don’t have to pay outrageous pier or convenience store prices and take advantage of this fun and free summer essential!

You can also find super affordable Outer Banks vacation homes without compromising great amenities and prime locations! Resort Realty has an array of affordable homes under $1,500 total!

Ocean #7950 // Hatteras

3 bedroom | 2 bath | $495 – $1,095 per week

Windspinner #4207 // Duck

2 bedroom | 2.5 bath |$695 – $1395 per week

Sea Dreams #7563 // Avon

3 bedroom | 2 bath | $495 – $995 per week

4 Shore 108 #C108 // Nags Head

2 bedroom | 2.5 bath | $745 – $1295 per week

First Light #7922 // Hatteras

2 bedroom | 2 bath | $695 – $1295 per week

Liberty Call #1836 // Corolla 

2 bedroom | 2.5 Bath | $695 – $1,095 per week 

Aycock #7925 // Hatteras

4 bedroom | 2 bath |$495 –  $995

Carrie’s Tree House #7650 // Avon

2 bedroom | 2 bath | $795 – $995 per week

Braecrest #7930 // Hatteras

3 bedroom | 2 bath | $495 – $895 per week 

Have fun without breaking the bank this summer and explore everything the Outer Banks has to offer. Visit Resort Realty’s website to discover even more affordable homes perfect for your Outer Banks vacation!