Whether you’re coming to the Outer Banks for a quick weekend getaway or you’re visiting to find your next home, you’ll love knowing that some of North Carolina’s best – and most famed – attractions are all located along our beautiful shoreline. Check out these ten can’t-miss attractions in OBX.
10 Can’t-Miss Attractions in Outer Banks for Your Next Vacation
These are ten of the most popular things to do in OBX:
- Tour the Bodie Island Lighthouse
- Perch on Jockey’s Ridge
- Explore the Wright Brothers National Memorial
- Climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
- Visit the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station
- Immerse yourself in The Lost Colony
- Slow down at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
- Cast a line off Avon Fishing Pier
- Stroll down the Duck Soundside Boardwalk
- Visit the Corolla Wild Horses
Here’s a closer look at each:
Tour the Bodie Island Light Station
The Bodie Island Light Station, located at the northern end of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, is open for tours from late April to early October. It still lights every night, keeping watch over the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” and information on its long, rich history is available in the visitors’ center.
Perch on Jockey’s Ridge
Jockey’s Ridge is the tallest living sand dune on the Atlantic Coast – and it’s the perfect place to fly a kite, look out over the ocean and enjoy a breathtaking sunset (or two). You can stroll along the park’s 360-foot boardwalk to learn about the dune’s ecology, take hang gliding lessons or even just play in the water.
Explore the Wright Brothers National Memorial
The Wright Brothers National Memorial is where, after four long years of experimentation, Wilbur and Orville Wright changed the world. You’ll learn about the brothers and how they developed powered flight at Kitty Hawk, as well as see the exact locations the Wrights used for test flights.
Climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Like its sister lighthouse at Bodie Island, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is open for self-guided climbs from April through October. This 257-step lighthouse takes you from the ground to its balcony, towering 12 stories over the ground – it’s the tallest brick lighthouse in North America. If you’re so inclined, you can even book a Full Moon Tour, which takes you up the tower for a closer look at the sky.
Visit the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station
Known as a true treasure of Rodanthe, the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station is a carefully preserved time capsule hailing back to 1874. It’s the most complete site of all the state’s remaining life-saving stations. Chicamacomico’s presence commemorates the brave men who risked their lives to rescue travelers who found themselves battered by difficult conditions in the Outer Banks.
Immerse Yourself in The Lost Colony
The Lost Colony – the place from which 117 pioneers of Roanoke Island mysteriously disappeared in the 1580s – is located in modern-day Manteo. Nobody knows what happened to the settlers; all they left behind were markings that read “Croatoan” and “Cro,” leading some to believe they moved to a nearby Native American settlement – but historians, scholars and archaeologists are still trying to find them.
Slow Down at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge spans more than 152,000 acres, housing beautiful nature trails, fishing spots and more. This long stretch of land holds maritime forests, swamps and wetlands, and it’s home to black bear, turtles, American alligators, raccoons, rabbits and river otters. The red wolf – one of the most endangered species in the world – lives in the wildlife refuge, as well.
Cast a Line Off Avon Fishing Pier
Avon Fishing Pier is one of the oldest Outer Banks piers, and that’s where you need to be if you want a record-breaking catch. Giant Red Drum swim the waters below the pier (and you can fish without a license), and there’s a public beach you can enjoy, too.
Stroll Down the Duck Soundside Boardwalk
The Duck Soundside Boardwalk is easy to access through the Town Park, an 11-acre wonderland. You’ll be able to stroll at your own pace to enjoy the beautiful Currituck Sound, dine in a charming café, catch a show or shop.
Visit the Corolla Wild Horses
The Corolla Wild Horses, a herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs that roam freely, have been in the Outer Banks for nearly five centuries. These feral horses frequent the shore, playing in the water and grazing on native grasses. They’re not always easy to find – but you can take a wild horse tour to see them in their natural habitats.
Are You Buying a Home in Outer Banks?
While you’re exploring these beautiful islands and peninsulas, you’ll see plenty of beach homes, inland homes and condos – and you might even be considering making the move of a lifetime. Check out all our real estate listings here: