Whether or not you have ever been to the Outer Banks before, there are probably a few things you already know about it. You might know Orville and Wilbur Wright built and flew the first successful aircraft there. You’re probably aware of the several light houses that dot the shores. If you’re into romance novels, you’ve probably read some Nicholas Sparks novels that took place in North Carolina, one in particular set in the town of Rodanthe on The Outer Banks. There’s a pretty good chance that if you’re into American History, you know about the pirates who frequented the area during The Golden Age of Piracy (one of whom we’ve discussed on this blog already).
These are all pretty standard pieces of information to have about The Banks. What I’m going to do with the following bullet points is attempt to arm you with some morsels of information that you might not have, and along the way offer you a few suggestions to make your first trip (or any trip) to The Outer Banks of North Carolina a memorable one.
- The Wright Brothers National Memorial is located in Kill Devil Hills. The Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur were self taught engineers, who in 1903 designed, constructed and launched the world’s first successful airplane. On display here are replicas and reconstructions of the original facilities and the 1903 Flyer, as well as the massive Wright Brothers Memorial monument. It is a must see.
- The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States. Located in Buxton, NC, the Hatteras Light stands an impressive 193 feet tall. Its construction required the use of 1.25 Million bricks, and her beacon is visible at night as far away as 20 miles. If you opt to make a visit to a lighthouse while in The Banks, I recommend The Cape Hatteras Light.
- The town of Duck, North Carolina is consistently ranked among the countries best beaches. The town website, located at http://www.townofduck.com has a detailed event calendar available to help you plan your trip.
- The Outer Banks is home to some of the most amazing seafood available anywhere. By all means, plan a day during your visit to get in some quality fishing time. Tackle shops are virtually everywhere, and there is always a local around to ask where the good fishing is at. If you prefer to have someone else do the hard work for you, there are countless restaurants around the island that would be happy to serve you their catch of the day. My advice is to ask a local where they like to eat. Locals always know best!
- If there happens to be a surfer in your group, The Outer Banks hosts some of the meanest surf on the East Coast. Hatteras Island is known to have some of the biggest breaks anywhere, and surfers make the pilgrimage here every year to get in on the action. Those who come repeatedly will get a new experience every time, as coastal storms constantly shift sandbars and shoals, changing the break from year to year.
- Jockeys Ridge State Park is located in Nags Head, and is home to the tallest natural dune system in the Eastern United States. Depending on the time of year, sand boarding, kite flying and hang gliding are all options available to the adventurous visitor. You can inquire at the parks visitors center for more information.
These are all solid ideas to get you started on your Outer Banks excursion. My personal recommendation however, is to load up your car or truck with camping supplies, a cooler full of basic necessities and enough clothes to last you for your trip and just go. Go with no expectations and no plan. Let The Outer Banks take you where it wants you to go. Follow the dunes and sea birds and enjoy every moment of wild freedom you can find. Let Mother Nature paint you a spectacular sunset over the Pamlico Sound, and in the morning she will repeat this performance for you over the Atlantic Ocean. Take off your shoes and let go of your reservations. You’re on The Outer Banks of North Carolina.
You couldn’t be anywhere better.