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The Top 5 Things You Can't Miss on the Outer Banks, NC

The Outer Banks of North Carolina, or simply OBX as cherished by locals, is a 200-mile-long stretch of barrier islands chiseled by the Atlantic Ocean. Its raw beauty, abundant wildlife, and rich history make the Outer Banks an exceptional holiday destination that calls for exploration. Here are the top five  things you can’t miss!

1. Cape Hatteras National Seashore


Think of Cape Hatteras National Seashore as America’s favorite seaside playground— this was, after all, the country’s first national seashore. It’s a slice of beachy paradise that’s been left beautifully untouched, just the way Mother Nature intended. Picture this: gentle dunes that ebb and flow with the wind’s whispers, marshes bustling with life, peaceful ponds, and stretches of beach where you can enjoy a moment of calm or embrace your inner beach bum.

But Cape Hatteras isn’t just for your eyes to feast on – it’s a treat for all senses. Imagine listening to the ocean’s lullaby as you stargaze into the infinite night sky. Or finding tranquility among the salt marshes, where life thrives in every nook and cranny, and you’re an honored guest.

Tower above the shores at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, a symbol of the region’s colorful past and a literal highlight of any visit. 

And for all the animal lovers, this seashore is a treasure trove of wildlife encounters. During summer, witness the spectacle of sea turtles nesting along the beach. Imagine watching mother turtles lay their eggs and, later, tiny hatchlings scramble to the sea. All this, thanks to mindful efforts that allow us to marvel at these ancient creatures while keeping them safe.

Birdwatchers, this is your paradise. Cape Hatteras plays host to a rainbow of bird species, some locals and others just passing through. Take a leisurely stroll or set up your binoculars for a show you won’t forget — diverse habitats teeming with birds going about their daily lives.

2. Jockey’s Ridge State Park


Right in the heart of the Outer Banks, Jockey’s Ridge State Park is like a treasure hiding in plain sight, known for having the tallest living sand dunes on the East Coast. Imagine endless hills of sand that dance and change with the wind, creating a landscape that’s always got something new to show off. It’s a spot where you can look out and see the calm Roanoke Sound on one side and the vast, open Atlantic Ocean on the other, showcasing nature’s impressive range.

Hiking up these massive dunes feels like you’re stepping into a panoramic postcard of the Outer Banks. Reach the top and the views will have you reaching for your camera— looking over to the Roanoke Sound, you’ll see waters so peaceful they could calm any storm. Then, turn around, and you’re facing the wild Atlantic, with waves that have traveled miles just to break at the dune’s edge.

The dunes are a hotspot of biodiversity, nursing plants and animals specially adapted to the tough love of the shifting sands. It’s a live classroom, offering lessons on survival and adaptation straight from nature.

For the thrill-seekers, Jockey’s Ridge is the dream destination. It’s a top pick for hang gliding; where else can you glide over dunes, feeling the wind as your companion, and view the scenery from a bird’s eye view? If staying closer to ground is more your speed, you’ve got sandboarding and trails that take you on a journey from sandy peaks through thickets and to the water’s edge.

There’s also a deep dive into the rich history of the Outer Banks here. With programs that explore everything from its first inhabitants to its role in the great American story, Jockey’s Ridge connects the past with the present, making each visit richer and more meaningful.

And then there are the sunsets. As the day closes, the dunes turn into a canvas, with the setting sun throwing splashes of oranges, pinks, and purples across the sky. It’s a moment when photographers and dreamers gather, hoping to capture the magic of the twilight hours.

3. Roanoke Island Festival Park


How about a magical trip back to the 16th century? Yes, really! At Roanoke Island Festival Park, history isn’t just dusted off textbooks, it’s something you get to see, touch and experience. Nestled alongside a beautiful waterfront stretch, these 27 acres of land invite you on a thrilling adventure that tells a tale of courage, survival, and the very first English settlers in America. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

As soon as you step into the park, get ready to be greeted by the Elizabeth II. Now, she’s not a fancy old lady, but a stunning ship that replicates one of the seven original vessels from the 1585 English voyage. It’s an amazing chance to explore life on the high seas in the era of New World discoveries. Plus, our guides, decked out in period costumes, know all the juicy details about these courageous trips across the Atlantic, and they can’t wait to share them with you.

Ready for more? Roanoke Island Festival Park is much more than a walk down memory lane. It’s about experiencing history firsthand. You get to roam around the Settlement Site, participate in interactive experiences, and even try some of the domestic and military skills the early colonists depended on. Yep, it’s time to roll up those sleeves.

Wondering what the settlers ate? Discover the rich agricultural life as you meet the crops and livestock that kept the colonies running. And don’t forget to check out the earthen fort that played a massive role in protecting the settlers.

Now let’s take a detour to the American Indian Town, rich with the cultural heritage of the native communities who called Roanoke Island home. Here you can interact with exhibits showing their razor-sharp resourcefulness, from canoe crafting to home-building.

Got a curious mind? The Adventure Museum is calling out to you. Unleash your inner explorer with a mix of interactive exhibits and historical displays that take learning to a whole new level. Embark on a virtual excursion of the 1585 English expedition and peek into interactions with Native Americans. And as if that’s not enough, marvel at artifacts and documents that unveil the fascinating story of Roanoke and its place in America’s grand historical narrative.

4. Wright Brothers National Memorial


Come take a walk where dreams took flight at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, a heartwarming tribute to Wilbur and Orville Wright, the daring brothers from Dayton who made the world believe in the impossible – human flight. It’s not just a place; it’s the very spot where history was made, and where the future of aviation began with a brave leap into the sky.

Imagine standing beneath the towering monument dedicated to the Wright brothers, reaching up as if touching the sky, celebrating the spirit of those who chase their dreams. This isn’t just any monument; it’s a beacon of hope and perseverance, a reminder that with enough passion and persistence, the sky’s the limit.

Strolling through the memorial takes you back to the early 1900s, to the very ground that bore witness to the birth of aviation. It’s like stepping into a living history book, where every path walked and landscape gazed upon tells the tale of those groundbreaking first flights.

The visitor center is a treasure trove of stories waiting to be discovered, filled with replicas of the 1903 Wright Flyer, experimental gliders, and exhibits that paint a vivid picture of the Wright brothers’ journey. It’s a place where history meets heart, showcasing the trials, errors, and triumphs of two ordinary brothers with extraordinary dreams.

One of the memorial’s most touching spots is the First Flight Boulder, a simple stone marking the lift-off point of humanity’s first powered flight. Following the Flight Line, with markers tracing the Wrights’ early flights, you feel a sense of awe at how these short distances marked the giant leaps for mankind.

The memorial serves as a vibrant center of learning and inspiration all year round, hosting events and programs that celebrate the legacy of the first flight, from kite festivals echoing the Wrights’ gliding experiments to educational activities sparking the imaginations of young and old alike.

5. Jeanette’s Pier


Dive into a world of wonder and excitement at Jennette’s Pier, a cherished landmark nestled in the heart of North Carolina’s breathtaking coastline. More than just a pier, this place is a vibrant community hub where the thrill of the Atlantic meets the charm of coastal life. Whether you’re a budding angler, a nature enthusiast, or simply in search of a peaceful spot to gaze at the horizon, Jennette’s Pier has something special just for you.

Anglers of all skill levels come to Jennette’s Pier to cast their lines into the fertile waters of the Atlantic. Home to an array of fish species, the pier is the perfect place to land your next big catch or simply enjoy the excitement of fishing. Not to worry if you’re new to the sport; friendly staff are always on hand to help with tips, gear rentals, and anything else you might need.

But there’s so much more to Jennette’s Pier than fishing. Immerse yourself in the wonders of the deep with educational programs and workshops designed for ocean lovers of all ages. From exploring the secrets of marine life to learning about weather patterns and eco-friendly practices, the pier provides a unique platform for discovery and learning.

Even if you come with nothing but a desire to breathe in the sea air, Jennette’s Pier welcomes you. Stroll along the pier, witness the majesty of dolphins playing in the wake, or simply sit back and relax as the ocean unfolds before you. It’s a place where memories are made, where the rhythm of the waves calms the soul, and where every visit feels like coming home.

Vacation with Village Realty

Choosing Village Realty for your Outer Banks vacation means embracing an experience that seamlessly blends the enchantment of coastal living with unmatched convenience and hospitality. With our diverse collection of properties ranging from pet-friendly homes to oceanfront retreats, we ensure every aspect of your stay is tailored to your desires. Our commitment to exceptional homes and extraordinary service, underscored by our flexible booking options and exclusive VIP offers, sets the stage for an unforgettable escape.

Whether you’re seeking adventure on the sparkling shores, tranquility amidst stunning natural landscapes, or simply a cozy nook to make family memories, Village Realty stands ready to go the extra mile to make your Outer Banks vacation special. Dive into the rich maritime heritage, indulge in the local culinary delights, and let the rhythm of the waves refresh your spirit. With Village Realty, you’re not just planning a vacation; you’re weaving the tapestry of your next great story on the Outer Banks.

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