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Top 12 Family and Kid-Friendly Activities on the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks is a beautiful coastal destination known for its stunning beaches, rich history, and a plethora of outdoor adventures. But what about families with little ones in tow? Is the Outer Banks kid-friendly? Absolutely! In this guide, we’ll explore 12 things to do with kids on the Outer Banks to make your vacation the best yet! We’ll answer questions like “What is there to do for families in the Outer Banks?” and “What can toddlers do on the Outer Banks?” Whether you’re planning a weeklong vacation or a weekend getaway, these kid-friendly Outer Banks activities have you covered.

1. Beach Days

Beach days at the Outer Banks are synonymous with relaxation, adventure, and endless family fun, especially for the kids. Before embarking on your sandy escapade, it’s essential to be well-prepared for the little ones. Pack your beach bag with essentials like kid-friendly sunscreen to shield their delicate skin from the sun’s rays. Bring plenty of beach towels and blankets for comfortable lounging and consider a pop-up beach tent to provide shade for naptime or snacks.

To keep the kids entertained, make sure to pack a separate bag filled with beach toys and games. Include buckets and shovels for building epic sandcastles, frisbees, beach balls, and boogie boards for endless active play. A kite can add excitement to the day, as can a set of beach-friendly paddleball or badminton. Inflatable floaties and water wings can keep younger children safe in the shallows, and a beach-friendly speaker for music adds a festive vibe to the atmosphere.

To ensure everyone stays hydrated and energized, pack a cooler with kid-friendly drinks and snacks. Include plenty of water and juice boxes. Additionally, bring along a mesh bag for collecting seashells or treasures that the kids might find along the shoreline. With the right preparations, your Outer Banks beach day can be a delightful and memorable experience for the whole family, with every member, big and small, fully equipped for a day of seaside fun.

Here is a list of some popular beach access locations on the Outer Banks:

2. Jockey's Ridge State Park – Nags Head

Jockey’s Ridge State Park offers a diverse range of activities for visitors of all ages. At the heart of the park are its massive sand dunes, the largest natural sand dune system on the East Coast. Here, you can embark on exhilarating adventures like hang gliding and sandboarding, providing thrills for the adventurous spirits in your group. For those seeking a more leisurely experience, hiking and kite flying on the dunes are equally enjoyable. The park also features an informative visitor center where you can learn about the unique ecosystem and history of the Outer Banks. Whether you’re seeking adventure, educational opportunities, or simply a stunning sunset view from atop the dunes, Jockey’s Ridge State Park is a must-visit destination that showcases the natural beauty of the Outer Banks.

The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is a captivating destination for kids and families alike. Inside this aquatic wonderland, young adventurers can embark on a journey to discover the mysteries of the sea. Kids will be mesmerized by a diverse array of marine life, including playful otters, graceful sea turtles, and mesmerizing jellyfish. Hands-on exhibits allow children to touch and interact with sea creatures, providing a truly immersive learning experience. The aquarium often hosts educational programs and live animal presentations, offering valuable insights into marine biology and conservation. For those looking to take a break from the underwater wonders, the aquarium’s outdoor playground and picnic area provide a fun and scenic spot for kids to play and enjoy a family picnic. A visit to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island promises a day filled with adventure, education, and unforgettable encounters with the ocean’s inhabitants.

Roanoke Island Festival Park is a delightful destination for kids, offering a fantastic blend of education and entertainment. Young explorers can step back in time to the 16th century and immerse themselves in the history of the Outer Banks. Interactive exhibits allow children to board a replica of a 16th-century sailing ship, the Elizabeth II, and experience the life of a colonial sailor firsthand. The Adventure Museum features hands-on activities, including historical games and puzzles that make learning about the past engaging and fun. Kids can also witness skilled blacksmiths at work, creating fascinating metalwork right before their eyes. With its engaging exhibits and immersive experiences, Roanoke Island Festival Park offers a unique and enriching day out for families, where history comes alive in a way that both entertains and educates young minds. 

The Wright Brothers National Memorial is a place of historical significance and innovation, and it also offers a range of activities that cater to kids and families. Young aviation enthusiasts can explore the Visitor Center, where they’ll find interactive exhibits, fascinating displays, and hands-on experiences that bring the story of the Wright brothers and their pioneering flight to life. Children can see full-scale replicas of the Wright brothers’ gliders and even try their hand at a flight simulator, gaining a deeper understanding of the principles of flight. The expansive grounds provide a great space for kids to run and play, and families can have a picnic while enjoying the scenic views of the dunes and the Atlantic Ocean. The Wright Brothers National Memorial not only honors a significant moment in history but also offers an educational and enjoyable experience for kids that sparks their curiosity about aviation and innovation.

The Elizabethan Gardens offer a serene and educational experience that can be highly enjoyable for children and families. A visit to this beautifully landscaped oasis provides a range of activities perfectly suited for kids. As you explore the gardens, children can take in the sight of vibrant flowers, fragrant herbs, and charming statues, fostering a deep connection with nature. One of the highlights for young visitors is the Butterfly House, where they can observe colorful butterflies up close, learning about their captivating life cycle. The garden’s calendar often features special events and family-friendly activities, including story time sessions and workshops that engage and educate young minds. To make the visit even more exciting, consider embarking on a scavenger hunt within the gardens, encouraging children to search for specific plants and features. Educational opportunities abound, with information boards and materials that teach kids about various plant species and their ecological significance. Families can also enjoy a relaxing picnic amidst the tranquil garden surroundings or encourage artistic expression by bringing sketchbooks and art supplies to capture the garden’s beauty. While the Elizabethan Gardens may not offer high-action thrills, it provides a peaceful setting where children can appreciate the wonders of nature, learn about horticulture, and find moments of tranquility and reflection. It’s an ideal destination for families seeking a balance of relaxation and education in the beautiful outdoors.

Watching the wild horses in Corolla, North Carolina, is a truly enchanting experience, especially when shared with kids. As you drive along the pristine shores of the northern Outer Banks, the anticipation builds, and suddenly, there they are – the majestic Corolla wild horses, descendants of Spanish mustangs that have roamed this area for centuries. Children are often captivated by the sight of these graceful creatures roaming freely on the beach or in the dunes. It’s a chance to witness nature in its purest form and to teach kids about the importance of wildlife conservation and preservation. While observing the horses, you can share stories of their history and the unique challenges they face in their natural habitat. 

8. Watersports Galore

The Outer Banks is a fantastic destination for water sports, and many outdoor activities that are suitable for kids. Here’s a list of water sports that are great for children on the Outer Banks:

        • Kayaking: Kayaking in the calm waters of the sound or estuaries is an excellent water activity for kids. Many outfitters offer guided tours suitable for families.
        • Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP): SUP is a fun and relatively easy water sport for kids to try. The shallow waters of the sound provide a safe environment for beginners.
        • Surfing: Some areas of the Outer Banks have smaller waves that are perfect for kids and beginners to learn how to surf. Consider signing up for surf lessons if your child is new to the sport.
        • Kiteboarding: While kiteboarding is typically for older kids and teenagers, it can be an exciting adventure for those with some experience in water sports. Lessons are available for beginners.
        • Boogie Boarding: Boogie boarding is a child-friendly alternative to surfing. Kids can catch waves on their boogie boards and have a blast in the ocean.
        • Jet Skiing: Some locations on the Outer Banks offer jet ski rentals and guided tours. This can be a thrilling activity for older kids and teenagers with adult supervision.
        • Parasailing: Parasailing can be a thrilling experience for older kids and teens. It provides breathtaking aerial views of the coast and the ocean.
        • Fishing: While not a traditional water sport, fishing is a popular activity on the Outer Banks. Kids can try their hand at pier fishing, surf fishing, or even charter boat fishing trips with the family.
        • Tubing: If you have access to a powerboat, tubing is a fun and exhilarating activity for kids. They can hold on tight while being pulled behind the boat on an inflatable tube.
        • Crabbing: A more relaxed water-based activity, crabbing can be a fun way for kids to interact with the local marine life. All you need are some crabbing nets and bait.
        • Beachcombing: Exploring the shoreline and collecting seashells, driftwood, and interesting treasures can be a simple yet enjoyable water-related activity for children.

Renting beach equipment on the Outer Banks is a convenient way to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable day by the shore. Various rental companies are scattered throughout the region, offering a wide range of beach gear to suit your needs. You can typically find these rental services in towns like Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Corolla. They provide everything from beach chairs, umbrellas, and coolers to boogie boards, beach carts, and even beach wheelchairs. Some rental providers also offer delivery and pickup services, making it hassle-free to get the equipment you need right at your vacation spot.

With these services readily available, you can make the most of your time on the Outer Banks’ stunning beaches without the stress of packing or lugging gear from home, ensuring a relaxing and enjoyable beach vacation.

  • Kitty Hawk Kites: With multiple locations on the Outer Banks, Kitty Hawk Kites offers kayak rentals and guided tours. They have a wide selection of kayaks, including single and tandem options.
  • Ocean Atlantic Rentals: Located in Corolla, Duck, and Avon, Ocean Atlantic Rentals provides kayak rentals along with paddleboards and other water sports equipment.
  • Nags Head Watersports: Located in Nags Head, this watersport rental company offers a variety of kayaks for rent, including single and tandem options. They also provide guided kayak tours.
  • North Beach Watersports North Beach Outfitters in Corolla, Outer Banks, is your go-to destination for beach equipment rentals and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re in need of beach chairs, umbrellas, surfboards, or stand-up paddleboards, they provide top-quality equipment to enhance your beach experience. 
  • Coastal Kayak Touring Company: Located in Duck, this company offers kayak rentals and guided eco-tours, perfect for exploring the tranquil waters and wildlife of the Outer Banks.

9. Mini Golf and Go-Karts

The Outer Banks isn’t just about sun and surf; it’s also home to some fantastic mini-golf and go-kart parks that promise hours of family fun. Mini-golf enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy challenging courses amidst lush coastal landscapes, with themed holes that add an extra layer of excitement. These mini-golf courses often feature creative obstacles and captivating scenery, making each round an adventure. Additionally, go-kart parks provide an adrenaline-pumping experience, where kids and adults alike can race around twisting tracks, competing for the checkered flag. It’s a wonderful way for families to bond, enjoy some friendly competition, and create lasting memories. This is also featured in our budget-friendly Outer Banks vacation tips.

      • Mutiny Bay Adventure Golf – Nags Head: Mutiny Bay Adventure Golf is a treasure trove of family-friendly fun on the Outer Banks. This pirate-themed miniature golf course takes visitors on a thrilling journey through beautifully landscaped greens, complete with cascading waterfalls, pirate ships, and challenging obstacles. Kids and adults alike can try their hand at navigating the imaginative holes, each designed to test your putting skills while immersing you in a swashbuckling adventure. With its engaging theme, scenic setting, and a touch of competitive spirit, Mutiny Bay Adventure Golf provides an ideal opportunity for families to bond and create lasting memories while enjoying a round of mini-golf amidst the coastal charm of the Outer Banks. It’s an excellent choice for a leisurely afternoon or evening of entertainment on your OBX vacation.
      • Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf – Kill Devil Hills: Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf is a captivating blend of adventure and mini-golf that beckons to explorers of all ages. This attraction invites visitors on a journey inspired by the fictitious Professor Hacker, a character who embarks on daring expeditions in search of hidden treasures. The course winds through lush gardens, over bridges, and beneath cascading waterfalls, all while presenting a challenging yet enjoyable mini-golf experience. Along the way, you’ll encounter whimsical obstacles and intriguing artifacts, adding an extra layer of excitement to your round. 
      • Paradise Fun Park – Kitty Hawk: Paradise Fun Park is a haven for families seeking an action-packed and entertaining day out. This vibrant amusement center offers a wide range of attractions to suit all ages and interests. From challenging and creatively designed mini-golf courses to thrilling go-kart tracks, Paradise Fun Park has it all. Families can enjoy friendly competition on the mini-golf greens, test their driving skills on the go-kart circuits, and even take a swing at batting cages. With an arcade featuring a variety of games, it’s easy to spend hours of fun here, rain or shine. 
      • Galaxy Golf – Nags Head: Galaxy Golf is a vibrant and entertaining destination for families and mini-golf enthusiasts. Nestled on the Outer Banks, this miniature golf course offers an exciting space for visitors of all ages to enjoy a round of golf with a cosmic twist. As you navigate through the imaginative and beautifully landscaped course, you’ll encounter playful obstacles, intriguing cosmic-themed decor, and glow-in-the-dark elements that add an extra layer of fun to your game. Galaxy Golf’s unique setting creates a sense of adventure and wonder, making it an ideal choice for a memorable family outing or a casual evening with friends. 
      • Jurassic Putt – Nags Head: This dinosaur-themed attraction brings the past to life with its imaginative and intricately designed holes, featuring life-sized dinosaur replicas and challenging obstacles. Families can immerse themselves in a land filled with roaring dinosaurs, lush greenery, and cascading waterfalls, all while enjoying a competitive round of mini-golf. The course offers a unique blend of education and entertainment, allowing kids and adults to learn about these ancient creatures while having a fantastic time. Jurassic Putt promises an exciting and memorable experience that combines adventure and knowledge, making it a standout attraction on the Outer Banks for both dinosaur enthusiasts and families seeking a fun-filled outing.

This sprawling water park offers a wide range of attractions for all ages, from thrilling water slides that send riders racing through twists and turns to serene lazy rivers perfect for relaxation. Families can enjoy the wave pools, exhilarating tube rides, and splash zones for the little ones. The park’s tropical-themed setting, complete with palm trees and cabanas, adds to the vacation vibe, making it a refreshing escape from the summer heat. With its commitment to safety and cleanliness, H2OBX offers a worry-free environment for all-day enjoyment. Use our link for discount waterpark tickets and H2OBX promo codes.

This indoor trampoline park offers an array of attractions that cater to visitors of all ages, making it an ideal destination for families and thrill-seekers alike. From wall-to-wall trampolines that allow you to bounce to your heart’s content to foam pits for practicing gravity-defying flips, Jumpmasters provides a safe and exhilarating environment for active play. Additionally, the park offers dodgeball courts, basketball slam dunk lanes, and even a ninja course for those looking to challenge their agility and coordination. With its commitment to safety and cleanliness, Jumpmasters ensures a worry-free experience, making it a perfect escape on a rainy day or a fun addition to your Outer Banks itinerary. Hands down, this is a fantastic activity for kids on the OBX!

Vibrant community space that serves as a hub of recreational and social activity for both residents and visitors. This beautifully landscaped park offers a wide range of amenities that cater to all ages and interests. Families can enjoy the expansive playgrounds, complete with modern equipment and shaded areas, where children can run, climb, and play to their hearts’ content. There are also picnic pavilions for those seeking a relaxing outdoor meal, as well as a splash pad where kids can cool off on hot summer days. Additionally, Dowdy Park hosts various community events, live music performances, and local markets, creating a sense of togetherness and showcasing the Outer Banks’ vibrant culture. With its commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment, Dowdy Park is a beloved and essential part of the Outer Banks experience, offering a perfect blend of recreation, relaxation, and community engagement.

Vacation with Village Realty

Village Realty on the Outer Banks offers a wide selection of vacation homes that are thoughtfully designed to cater to families with children, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Our kid-friendly properties are characterized by spacious layouts, providing ample room for families of various sizes. Many of our homes feature fully equipped kitchens, enabling families to prepare meals together and accommodate diverse dietary preferences. For those seeking relaxation and fun, some rentals come with private pools where kids can splash around, creating cherished memories. Entertainment is also a priority, with game rooms equipped with pool tables and home theaters for family game nights and movie marathons. Our pet-friendly options ensure that even four-legged family members can join in the vacation fun. Additionally, our rentals are conveniently located near the beautiful Outer Banks beaches and popular family attractions, making it easy for families to explore the area’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. With modern amenities, outdoor spaces for relaxation, and attentive concierge services, we ensure that every family’s stay is a stress-free and memorable experience.

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