Everyone who comes to the Outer Banks visits Cape Hatteras National Seashore, sees the Bodie Island Lighthouse and spends time on the beach – but what if you’re a little more adventurous than that? Check out these seven unique things to do in Outer Banks during spring.
7 Unique Things to Do in Outer Banks During Spring
- Outer Banks Futuro House
- Hatteras Weather Bureau Station
- The Mother Vine
- Jockey’s Ridge
- Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island
- Portsmouth Village
- Corolla Wild Horses
1. Outer Banks Futuro House
North Carolina’s only known Futuro House – an amazing, saucer-shaped domicile – is located near Frisco. The concept is solid: It’s supposed to be a portable house that can adapt to any kind of terrain and climate. In the 1960s and 70s, they weren’t very popular; fewer than 100 of them were ever built. It’s definitely worth seeing, and the person who owns it has been known to dress in an alien suit for photos with visitors.
It’s close to the side of Highway 12 in Frisco. Here’s a map to get there.
2. Hatteras Weather Bureau Station
Built in 1901, the Hatteras Weather Bureau Station has a rich history in Outer Banks. It even had a role to play in the tragic sinking of the Titanic in 1912 – when the two operators at the station received a message from the sinking ship, they sent a telegraph to New York. The operator in New York called them “drunks” and dismissed the message, so the pair decided not to send an additional statement from another ship – the Carpathia – about the tragedy. The original telegraph is located at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum (another must-see).
The building is no longer in use, but it’s now a welcome center maintained by the Outer Banks Tourism Board and the National Park Service. You can find it here.
3. The Mother Vine
Long known as the longest grapevine in the world – and probably the oldest in North America, being about 400 years old – the Mother Vine is located on Roanoke Island. Experts believe it was planted by Croatan Native Americans or settlers of the Lost Colony. The current owners of the vine originally clipped it in the 1950s to make room for a house on their land, and today, they maintain it and allow visitors to enjoy the view. Here’s where to go.
4. Jockey’s Ridge
Jockey’s Ridge is a 400-acre, 100-foot-high shifting sand dune near milepost 12 of the South Croatan Highway. It covers Bodie Island, just next to Nags Head, and it’s home to several nocturnal animals, waterfowl and more. Many people who visit the area take advantage of the northeast and southeast winds that hold the dunes in place and use the spot to fly kites and hang-glide. Here’s how to find it.
5. Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island
You’ve heard of the Lost Colony of Roanoke – but the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island is a lesser-known lost colony. It was a safe haven for former slaves during the Civil War after the Union Army captured it in 1862. African-American families from all over North Carolina made their way to the safe haven, and by 1863, it was a thriving community featuring churches, a schoolhouse and homes where hundreds of people lived. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, but the colony continued to thrive for a few years; the colony was abandoned by 1897. Here’s a map to get there.
6. Portsmouth Village
Portsmouth Village on the Ocracoke Inlet used to be a bustling port – but now, it’s a ghost town. There are a dozen structures still intact, and you can explore them when the weather is nice. The town is under the National Park Service’s care and it’s on the Cape Lookout National Seashore. Here’s how to find it.
7. Corolla Wild Horses
The Corolla Wild Horses, which are actually feral Colonial Spanish Mustangs, live on the barrier islands of the Outer Banks. As one of the oldest horse breeds in the U.S., they’re small and tough – and technically, they should be classified as ponies. Some people believe they swam ashore after surviving shipwrecks, while others think they were left behind by Spanish conquistadors. The best way to see the horses (and to protect them) is to take a guided tour rather than exploring on your own. Visit the Corolla Wild Horse Fund to learn more.
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When you’re ready to start exploring, call us at 252-491-3333 or contact us online. Our team can show you any listing, so call to schedule your appointments today.