The Outer Banks is full of popular attractions. Honestly, what’s an Outer Banks vacation without a visit to the aquarium, climbing Jockey’s Ridge, and eating your favorite meal at your favorite, local spot? Although these attractions are amazing, there are so many more hidden places to see, things to do, and food to eat that you may not know about! Check out our 10 hidden gems of the Outer Banks to add to your to-do list this Outer Banks vacation.
Glenmere Ave Beach Access, Kill Devil Hills
Not very many people have heard of the Little Red Mailbox of Hope. Started by Sue and Eddie Goodrich and the Town of Kill Devil Hills, this little mailbox spreads messages of hope and love. When you come to the Outer Banks, make sure you take some time to read some of the messages in the Little Red Mailbox journal and even leave a note. You might find something you didn’t know you needed.
Hwy 12, Frisco
This unique UFO sighting can be found in Frisco off of Highway 12! Full of UFO inspired decor and items, this 26-foot wide dwelling is one of the few Futuro homes left in the United States! Because it is not up to code, you can’t enter it to visit but you can definitley pose in front of this ornamental structure for a great photo. The Futuro House is a strange sight to see but definitely a gem on the Outer Banks!
Full Moon Cafe, The Lost Colony Brewery, or The Full Moon Brewery – whatever you call it, there’s no denying that there is great food and great, craft beer to be had at this Manteo eatery! Opened in 1995 initially as a restaurant, Full Moon Cafe doubled as a brewery in 2011 and continues to make uniquely crafted beer and amazing food. “We are the home town restaurant where first dates, prom dates, wedding proposals, family gatherings, showers, and birthdays, have taken place for 22 years,” which is why Full Moon has earned it’s spot as a hidden Outer Banks gem!
Windsurfers from all over the world come to Canadian Hole to windsurf during the spring and summer months. If you’re not an avid windsurfer, Canadian Hole is still a really cool place to go and watch windsurfers sail over the sound with their colorful kites! The area is also ideal for families with young children because of the shallow waters and lack of waves!
This public monument located in Kitty Hawk honors the achievement and the history of flight! The Wright Brothers completed the first successful flight right here on the Outer Banks on December 17, 1903. This monument honors successful men and women who contributed to the history of modern flight and aviation that we continue to use today!
If you’ve been to the Outer Banks, you’ve noticed the colorful winged horses that stand proudly outside of different local businesses. As a part of the celebration of the 2003 Centennial of Flight, 99-lifesized fiberglass horses with aluminum aircraft wings were decorated and displayed all over the Outer Banks. This project went on from May 2002 to October 2004. Many of the horses can still be seen today! Check out photos of all the horses and a list of current winged horse locations!
On Hatteras Island, you’ll find Burrus Red & White Supermarket. There’s nothing super special about this grocery store…except for the 6 toed cats! The cats that wander around the supermarket are descendants of a ghost ship from a few hundred years ago. When the ship was looted, locals brought them ashore and more six-toed (or polydactyl) cats appeared over time. The store owner, Allen Burrus, has recently gotten the wandering cats spayed and neutered.
Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe is a local and visitor favorite. While this restaurant is very well known, not everyone knows about the Lone Cedar residents; Ricky and Lucy! Ricky and Lucy built a nest right outside of Lone Cedar to raise their young. They have returned each year and Lone Cedar even named their bar the Osprey Lounge! Ricky and Lucy’s nest can be seen outside of the windows while you dine at Lone Cedar!
Few people know that the Outer Banks was home to lurking German U-Boats during World War I and World War II; patiently waiting to attack the U.S. coast. Allied forces from England were sent to the US to protect the coastline, and many English troops ended up guarding the Outer Banks and Ocracoke. A number of ships and submarines were destroyed during the wars. A cemetery was created for the bodies of two unnamed British Soldiers who washed up on the beach during WWII. This cemetery is considered British soil and is a rich part of the history of Ocracoke Island.
Full of nature, walking paths, and beauty, Nags Head Woods is a must visit on your next Outer Banks visit. Nags Head woods spans over 420 and over 5 miles of different trails from advanced to leisure! On a nice, sunny day, the secret sound access is the perfect place to go relax and get away from it all!