Planning activities for the kids to do during your Outer Banks vacation can be easy, with a few tips and tricks! It’s never too soon to start your research and think about the local attractions your family might enjoy. There is always something new to see and do in the Outer Banks. Consider these ideas to help keep young ones entertained on your next trip!
The NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island is a can’t-miss stop for educational fun. Manteo is an easy trip from most OBX towns and well worth the ride. Sharks, the jellyfish exhibit, and the sea turtle rehabilitation area will surely be highlights of your visit. Rainy day? A trip to the aquarium is the perfect indoor activity. You can secure reservations from their website (don’t delay, as sell-outs do happen).
Spend the day in Manteo and visit the Island Farm to feed the animals and explore history through demonstrations of how settlers on Roanoke Island lived hundreds of years ago. Opening day is in April, so be sure to check their event calendar for hours of operations and special programs.
The Manteo waterfront is full of adventure for young ones! Run and play anytime at the Downtown Waterfront Playground. Check out live music at Roanoke Island Festival Park and fun events that the whole family will enjoy. Kids love to climb aboard the 16th century Elizabeth II replica, docked by the downtown Manteo waterfront.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Ever heard the expression, “the view is worth the climb?” We think the top of the Bodie Island Lighthouse is the very best view of the Outer Banks. Just over 200 steps allow you to view miles of beautiful coastal landscape, and the lighthouse is open from about mid-April to mid-October (unless wind or weather temporarily closes the landmark). Purchase tickets to climb in advance. Don’t forget your sunglasses and camera!
A new kite is a great souvenir your children can enjoy at the beach and back at home. Kitty Hawk Kites has an impressive selection of sizes and types of kites. We promise your kids (and the young at heart) will love this store!
From Kitty Hawk Kites Nags Head location, head just across the street to Jockey’s Ridge to climb the tallest living sand dunes on the Atlantic coast. You may see hang-gliders and kites taking advantage of the height and breeze on a good day here. The view of the sound is gorgeous!
Grab your fishing poles and throw a line off Jennette’s Pier at least once during your stay. Kids love to watch the ocean waves, birds, and spot bottlenose dolphins from this elevated vantage point. When the sun goes down, take your flashlight, bucket, and net to search for ghost crabs (when the weather is warm) on the beach by the pier.
We encourage you to explore the Wright Brothers Memorial (especially if this is your first OBX visit or if it’s been a while). With plenty of space to walk and run, kids can visualize history through a series of monuments marking the lengths of the Wright brothers’ historic flights. The fantastic exhibits help older children understand the significance of what Orville and Wilbur Wright accomplished here. Word of advice: stay on designated paths and wear athletic shoes, especially to protect tiny feet. There is an admission fee for adults, but children 15 and under are free.
Miller’s Seafood and Steakhouse is a family-friendly favorite for both breakfast or dinner. This well-known restaurant accommodates large groups, so bring the whole family for a great meal even the smallest diners will love. The staff at Miller’s do take a break over the colder months, so watch for their open dates.
Need a quick, frozen treat? Kill Devil’s Frozen Custard and Fries will hit the spot. Enjoy creamy chocolate or vanilla custard, or go classic with a banana split or milkshake.
Breakfast is sweeter at Duck Donuts, where you can customize a dozen with delicious flavor combinations. These doughnuts are legendary, and the kids will be fascinated to watch their order being prepared! With multiple locations along the OBX, you may decide to stop here more than once!
The Waterfront Shops on the Currituck Sound is a beautiful place to walk, shop, and grab a bite. Find the perfect souvenir here, and parents may also find the perfect treasure to take home. The water views are gorgeous here, and even better while you enjoy a treat from Sunset Ice Cream and Cappuccino.
Up in Corolla, you can take a car seat-friendly guided excursion to see the wild horses at Carova Beach. Tours take a couple of hours, and guides can take you to beach areas where these beautiful animals graze and play. We highly recommend learning more about the wild horses that roam the OBX and observing them from a distance.
Explore the Currituck Maritime Museum and learn about the boats and waterways that have provided transportation in this area for centuries. Both kids and adults will appreciate the hands-on exhibits, boats on display, and maritime history told through photos and video. Best part? Admission is free!
With some planning, you can make a day of your time in Historic Corolla Park, and visit the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education (free admission), tour the Whalehead Club, and enjoy a picnic with picturesque scenery. Climb the 220 steps to the top of the Currituck Lighthouse (open spring–fall) for even better views. Please note that children should be four years old or older to climb.
We can help you plan a vacation your kids will remember for years! Village Realty is proud to manage over 700 vacation rentals from Corolla to Nags Head. We have something to fit your family size, from smaller condos to larger homes. We also offer oceanfront rentals, soundfront rentals, and pet-friendly rentals. Book your Outer Banks vacation today; we would be delighted to welcome you to the beach!
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