New scenery, experiences and insight are why we all long to travel. The saying goes “we travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” Fresh salt air, uncharted territory, and one-of-a-kind experiences are just what you need to break up the routine and refresh your soul. From memorable day trips to one-of-a-kind outings, the Outer Banks has countless excursions to satisfy the wanderlust in all of us.
Keep reading to learn more about the Top 10 Excursions to Experience on the Outer Banks.
1. Day Trip to Ocracoke Island
Take the 40-minute ferry ride from Hatteras Island to the secluded and dreamy island of Ocracoke. The island stretches out nearly 13 miles with charming cottages, artisan shops, and a small town feeling that immediately makes you feel at ease. Most people travel by foot, bike, or golf cart to get around, so parents can relax and let the kids play. You can drive on the beach and try out as many water activities as you have energy for. You’ll easily see why the famous pirate, Blackbeard, spent so much time there.
2. Deep Sea Fishing Expedition
The thrill of reeling in a big fish is hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it firsthand. Heading out to the Gulf Stream with your friends for an all-day fishing trip is an unforgettable experience. Knowledgeable charter captains and mates will take you where the fish are biting so you can reel in large species of fish like tuna, dolphin (mahi), and billfish – including sailfish, white and blue marlin.
If picturesque places are your favorite part of traveling, you’ll want to sign up for a Corolla wild horse tour. Seeing the rolling sand dunes, beautiful oceanfront, and watching the wild Spanish colonial horses roam free is an image you’ll keep with you for years to come.
These famous lighthouses are not only navigational aids, they are full of history and detailed architecture with a wonderful view waiting for you at the top. The Currituck Beach, Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras Lighthouses are available to climb for a nominal fee. The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse in Manteo and the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse are not open to climbers but are open to visit at your leisure.
5. Historic Outing at The Wright Brothers National Memorial
Celebrate and learn more about the incredible achievement the Wright Brothers made on the Outer Banks at The Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. Tour the museum and learn more about that historic day and see artifacts from that time period. View replicas of the gliders and statues of the key players in the first day of flight. Traveling up to the top of the monument and reading the inscription, “Conceived by genius and achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith,” will leave you with a sobering feeling about how monumental this invention and event truly was.
Luckily, you don’t have to travel to tropical islands to see dolphins up close! Catch dolphins swimming and playing in their natural habitat on a dolphin cruise right here on the Outer Banks! Spend a few hours on the water following the bottlenose dolphins around the Atlantic Ocean and learning more about them.
Charm and history collide in the quaint town of Manteo on Roanoke Island. Steeped in tradition, history, and old world charm, Manteo is located on the western side of Bodie Island, surrounded by gentle soundfront waves. Walk where the settlers traveled on Roanoke Island, visit the gorgeous grounds at The Elizabethan Gardens, watch a live performance of The Lost Colony, the only outdoor drama, or just enjoy the sights, sounds, and quaint shops downtown. This waterfront community is the perfect place to explore on foot or by bike.
8. Explore Jockey’s Ridge State Park
Pack a water bottle and venture up the largest sand dune on the east coast. Pick up a stunt or decorative kite across the street at Kitty Hawk Kites and fly it high on the towering dunes. For the more adventurous , try your hand at hang gliding! Even the little ones will love this famous Outer Bank landmark – perfect for running up and then sliding down the dune (not to mention, burning off some energy!) All that exploring needs fuel! Bring lunch and enjoy a picnic at one of the 8 picnic shelters. (Each shelter has two tables and a grill.)
Recently remodeled and updated with several new exhibits and galleries, the Roanoke Island Aquarium in Manteo is a fun place for all ages to visit. Touch the stingrays as they glide through the shallow hands-on touch tank. Travel through the Wild Wetlands where river otters play and alligators lurk. Experience the aquarium’s hands-on Sea Turtle Rescue exhibit and conservation efforts in the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center. View high-definition films and the new “Science on a Sphere” experience in Neptune’s Theater. And lastly, marvel at the largest collection of sharks in the state in the Graveyard of the Atlantic â€“ a giant shark aquarium with Gulf Stream interactive exhibit.
10. Trek through the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
If you’re longing for serenity and solitude, make time to visit the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Spreading out over 70 miles, this is a place where you can relax and enjoy a simpler way of life. Fish, kiteboard, swim, nature watch, or snap a few photos of the marshes and vast oceanfront. Playing and relaxing are both welcomed and encouraged here.
Excitement, adventure and new experiences await you on the Outer Banks. Don’t just daydream, do it! For more Outer Banks excursion ideas, visit Resort Realty’s Things to Do page.