Is the hustle and bustle of the crowded city getting you down? Perhaps a quick escape is all you need to recharge your batteries. And what better place to visit than Outer Banks, NC. Situated on the east coast of the United States, Outer Banks offers visitors a wide array of activities and attractions. Best of all, many of these are within a stone’s throw away from vacation homes

A Quick Overview

The string of islands that run from the border of Virginia down to Ocracoke Island is North Carolina’s Outer Banks. With over 5 million visitors annually, it is no surprise that tourism is the area’s primary industry. 

A site of early settlement, including the mysterious Roanoke Colony, the Outer Banks remains an important cultural and economic site. The countess shipwrecks that dot the Outer Banks have also given the area the nickname “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” OBX, as it is also fondly called, is home to three main counties: Currituck County, Dare County, and Ocracoke Island. 

Although you would be hard-pressed to find cities in any of these counties, there’s no shortage of charming villages and towns. To date, the total number of islands and inlets in the Outer Banks change fairly often. This is primarily due to the breach caused by the shifting of sands, violent storms, and climate change. Nonetheless, the beauty of these barrier islands continue to attract travelers, and finding a vacation rental to call home during your stay is not a difficult endeavor. 

Where to Stay

As long as you plan your trip ahead of time and book your accommodations early, there should be no shortage of options. However, thanks to the large volume of visitors who come to OBX annually, accommodations do fill up pretty fast. 

Condos, townhouses, oceanfront villas, inns, campgrounds, BnBs, and hotels are just some of the places you can stay when visiting. There is no right or wrong way of selecting an accommodation. Often the best guideline to follow is to choose a vacation property based on your needs and preferences. Because of the growing trend of Airbnb stays, rentals in this sector can range anywhere from a homey abode to an ultra-trendy and state of the art tiny home. Whichever you choose is your gateway to an Outer Banks adventure.

What to Do

Elizabethan Gardens

Celebrating its 65th year, the Elizabethan Gardens is brimming with activities to delight both the young and old. Situated with Forth Raleigh National Historic Site, the garden contains 10 acres of sculpture and botanical attractions. 

Seasonal changes bring about varying displays of shrubs, trees, and flowering plants that have captivated guests again and again. A free audio tour can be accessed on your mobile device so you and your family can enjoy the gardens at your own pace. No more worrying about being rushed by a tour group or a tour guide. 

Wright Brothers National Memorial 

On December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers first took flight in a controlled heavier-than-air vehicle over Outer Banks. Therefore it is only fitting to have a dedicated museum in honor of the aviation accomplishments of the two brothers.

Located at Kill Devil Hills, this newly redecorated center offers a variety of exhibits and activities on aviation. Guests can also learn about science, tech, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM-based) activities, as well as historic preservation. Explore the lives and embark on a journey with Orville and Wilbur Wright in this one of a kind activity center. 

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse 

Enjoy breathtaking views as you scale the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. This truly unique experience allows guests to climb at their own pace while enjoying the sights this brick lighthouse has to offer. 

Generally open from the third Friday in the month of April through Columbus Day in October, climbs start at 9 am daily. Tickets are on a first-come, first-serve basis, so don’t forget to show up early. 

Outer Banks Historic Tours

Travel back in time through the many historical and cultural attractions in the area. Marvel at the replica of a 69-foot sailing vessel used by early settlers to reach the New World. Enjoy some theater performances that reenact and feature the Roanoke settlers through the Lost Colony Outdoor Drama. 

Horseback Riding

Looking for a relaxing activity to do by the beach? Why not go horseback riding? Coastal horseback riding with an experienced guide is an invigorating and not-to-be-missed experience when you come to Outer Banks. Chances are that the vacation property you are staying at can offer some recommendations. 

Where to Eat

Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe

In the mood for some seafood? This local joint is perfect for those craving the freshest North Carolina catch. There are fish, clams, crab, shrimp, and oysters on the menu. And the ocean view at sunset is to die for.

Ashley’s Espresso Parlour

Is your vacation rental on Kill Devil Hills? Then walk over to Ashley’s Espresso Parlour for that morning cup of joe and a hearty breakfast. Choose from a selection of freshly made breads, sandwiches, snacks, and pastries.

Barefoot Bernie’s Tropical Grill & Bar

Enjoy the diverse menu that the entire family can enjoy. Turn your family vacation into a food adventure with the Asian, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and American choices this fun and unique grill has to offer. With so many options, it is impossible not to find something the even pickiest member of the family would not enjoy.

American Pie

You can’t go wrong with pizza. More importantly, you cannot go wrong with a hand-tossed NY style pizza from American Pie. While you are at it, have some wings, a fresh smoothie, or a hand-dipped ice cream. Take your food to the beach or have it delivered to your vacation rental doorstep.

Big Buck’s Homemade Ice Cream & Espresso Bar

The best way to beat the heat is to eat some ice cream. Grab a soft serve or a refreshing sorbet from this well-loved dessert place. There are milkshakes, splits, sundaes, ice cream cakes, and chocolates too!