The Outer Banks, or OBX, is a 200-mile long string of narrow barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, beginning in the southeastern corner of Virginia Beach on the east coast of the United States. The stunning barrier islands are home to some of the largest undeveloped beaches on the East Coast, making OBX a popular beach vacation destination for families.

There are six towns and 12 coastal villages to explore in The Outer Banks. The area, with a population of about 35,000 year round, swells up to 250,000 people during the summer months.

While visiting the Outer Banks, there are a variety of things to do outdoors. Here are just some of the fun activities to do outdoors in Outer Banks.

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks

Wright Brothers National Memorial

In December 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright changed the world forever after they achieved the first successful airplane flights. Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, and the flight museum which still has exhibits from the First Flight Centennial Celebration.

Upon entering the National Park grounds, make your way up the grassy hill to the top where the monument lies. After the climb, head over to the main visitors’ center and museum which features a full scale reproduction of both the 1902 glider and the 1903 flying machine, as well as an engine block from the original 1903 flyer, and a precise reproduction of the wind tunnel that the Wrights used to conduct their early experiments.

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Wright Brothers Memorial

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Wright Brothers memorial

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Standing at 208 feet tall, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in North America In 1999, the spiral-striped landmark was moved a half mile inland, to save it from high tides. The Lighthouse is now as far from the ocean as when originally constructed in 1870, even after the move. The lighthouse is open for climbing mid-April to Columbus Day. Walk up the 257 steps to the top of the lighthouse where you have a spectacular view of the OBX. There are night tours, full moon tours as well as guided tours.

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Horseback Riding with Equine Adventrues

My favourite outdoor adventure in the Outer Banks was horseback riding on the beach. The experience with Equine Adventures takes you through a forest to the beach and back again. The ride is about 2.5 hours, so be prepared and wear proper clothing and bug spray – and make sure to bring a camera – the photo opportunities are aplenty.

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Equine Adventures horseback riding on the beach

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Horseback Riding OBX

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

This 426-acre park has the tallest and largest natural sand dune system in the Eastern United States. There are two self-guided trails and nature programs available year-round at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Bring out your adventurous side by hang gliding or kite flying over the sand dunes – I’m definitely going to try this next time! There is visitor center, museum and picnic facilities for families to enjoy.

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks

Kitty Hawk Kites

For all of your outdoor water adventures, Kitty Hawk Kites is your best bet. Kitty Hawk offers a ton of water adventures including hang gliding, kite boarding, parasailing, kayas, stand up paddleboarding, wakeboarding, paragliding, water-skiing, tubing and more. I tried stand up paddleboarding for the very first time – make sure to have someone take your photo as you’ll be falling into the water plenty! First-timers, make sure to pack protective swim gear and water shoes. If not, you can always buy gear at the adjacent Kitty Hawk shop.

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Kitty Hawk Kites

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks

Nor’Banks Sailing and Watersports

Nor’Banks Sailing is the only sailing in the Outer Banks. Nor’Banks offers sailing school and program for kids 7+, as well as other water sports and activities. Located in Duck, the Currituck Sound is a great place to sail with steady breezes, low boat traffic and 5-8 feet of water with a sandy bottom.

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Nor'Banks Sailing

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks

Duck, NC

For a lovely Outer Banks town experience, you must visit Duck, NC. Take a stroll on the almost-mile long boardwalk, see what’s happening at the town park, feast on a scrumptious fresh seafood platter at the delicious Red Sky Café, and indulge in a sweet treat at Duck Donuts for dessert.

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Duck NC

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Red Sky Cafe Duck NC

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Duck Donuts

 

Rodanthe Pier and Rodanthe House

Relive the romance of the major motion picture, Nights in Rodanthe starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane, based on the bestselling novel by author Nicholas Sparks. The film was shot on location in Rodanthe, and the house is available for rent!

Be sure to visit the Rodanthe Pier, a landmark on the Outer Banks, which has been damaged due to high seas and near hurricane force winds. Rodanthe Pier is a favourite spot for many locals and visitors.

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Nights in Rodanthe House

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Rodanthe Pier

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Rodanthe Pier

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Rodanthe Pier

Hatteras Village Marina

Hatteras Village is the southernmost community on Hatteras Island, and is still a large fishing community.

In 1958, Mr. and Mr. Cleveland booked Capt. Bill for a week of marlin fishing. Once catching a blue marlin, he asked Capt. Bill to let the marlin go and in doing so, he became the first  captain to ever let a billfish go on purpose in North Carolina which started a trend, a trend that grew and grew an eventually became the norm.

Watch the fishermen, women and boys bring in their catch of the day. Grab a bite at the charming Dinky’s Waterfront Restaurant.

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Hatteras Village

10 Fun Activities to Do Outdoors in the Outer Banks Hatteras Village

 

The Elizabethan Gardens

Located within Fort Raleigh National Historic Site next to The Lost Colony’s Waterside Theatre in Manteo, The Elizabethan Gardens encompasses ten acres of botanical and sculptural delights. The garden was created as a living memorial to the time when Sir Walter Raleigh’s lost colonists over 400 years ago.

The Elizabeth Gardens Outer Banks NC

 

10 fun activities to do in Outer Banks NC

 

More on the Outer Banks, NC:

Resort Chic in the Outer Banks: The Sanderling Resort

Casual Lodging for the Family The Outer Banks: Waves Village

5 Fun Activities to do Indoors in the Outer Banks

 

 

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

9 Comments

  1. I may just be hungry, but the food alone is enough to get me there! Your photos look amazing and I hope to make the trip one day with the family.

  2. Ive always wanted to visit NC since ALL Of Nick Sparks books take place there! The master of romance OBVIOUSLY thinks its pretty great… he cant be wrong, can he?! haha

  3. What a great collection of fantastic things to do in the Outer Banks! We’ve been meaning to go there for a while, but I was just thinking we’d had out on the beach, that’s all. But the things you mention sound like fun too, especially the Equine Adventures.

  4. I have never heard of the Elizabethan Gardens before, but I must go now! That looks amazing!

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.