Whether you’re coming for the holiday season or you’re making plans for your next vacation – when it’s the Outer Banks you’re coming to, the area has some places you won’t want to miss while you’re here. Bring this list with you when you come and make sure you hit the following Top 10 OBX Attractions we have to offer!
Carova’s Wild Horses
Put this at the top of your list. These wild horses can be found just north of Corolla. These horses are feral and wild, stranded on the Outer Banks for centuries, but are tolerant of the many visitors that turn out to watch them every year. Go on your own or take one of the adventure tours available in the area.
Currituck Heritage Park
Sprawling across 39 acres, this park’s history is as a wealthy tourism destination. Today it is home to three of the Northern Outer Bank’s biggest attractions — The Whalehead Club, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education.
Wright Brothers Memorial
The Wright Brothers National Memorial is where you can visit the 60 ft. granite monument erected at the birthplace of aviation and the national park complete with visitor’s center and museum. The museum 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 Wright Brothers used to conduct their early experiments. The newest addition is the Centennial of Flight museum, a futuristic looking structure that honors the 100 year celebration.
Jockey’s Ridge State Park
Located in Nags Head, this state park is where you’ll find Jockey’s Ridge, the tallest natural sand dune system in the eastern United States. The entrance to the park is on Carolista Drive in the town of Nags Head at milepost 12 on Hwy 158 Bypass (South Croatan Hwy.)
NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island & Jennette’s Pier
The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island includes indoor and outdoor exhibits, educational programs, meeting spaces, classrooms and a gift shop. There are two changing exhibit galleries, after-hour opportunities and special activities. The many additional opportunities at the aquarium include digging for shark’s teeth in the fossil pit, participating in Aquarium programs, and visiting the gift shop. Jennette’s Pier is where you and the family can learn how to catch fish, the different types of fish in the area, a lesson fish identification, how to cast and tie your rigs as well as catch and release techniques.
Roanoke Island Festival Park & Elizabeth II
Across form the Manteo waterfront, just 5 miles from Nags Head, is this 25-acre interactive history site that represents the first English settlement attempt in 1585. Come see the Elizabeth II 16th Century Representative Ship, explore the American Indian Town, visit a Settlement Site and check out 400 years of history in the interactive Roanoke Adventure Museum. Opportunities to participate in multiple activities combine with the environment to make this one of the most memorable places to visit.
The Lost ColonyCome see epic battles and Indian dances in this outdoor live theatre performance. Experience the sorrow and heartbreak of tragedy and loss. Witness the pageantry of the Queen and her court and celebrate the birth of Virginia Dare. There is music, laughter, romance and dance. The Lost Colony is widely acknowledged as the precursor to the modern American Broadway Musical.
Fanciful and elaborate gardens were meticulously maintained to entertain Queen Elizabeth I during her reign. Our garden was created for your enjoyment, and as a living memorial to the time when Sir Walter Raleigh’s lost colonists lived in this very place over 400 years ago. Lights, floral delights, holiday sights and other events are part of a month-long spectacle called, WinterLights at The Elizabethan Gardens, held Tuesdays to Saturdays from December 2-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23, 26-27, 30; Jan. 2-3 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Outer Banks Lighthouses
There are a total of five lighthouses on the Outer Banks, each with its own special features worth exploring. Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Ocracoke Island Lighthouse. Of these the latter is the oldest in operation and oldest in the U.S. overall.
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge & Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Adjacent to Cape Hatteras National Seashore is Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, located on North Carolina’s Pea Island, a coastal barrier island and part of the Outer Banks. The refuge consists of 13 miles of undeveloped land along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Bring your camera because the views are breathtakingly beautiful and the wildlife plentiful. There are nearly 400 species of migrating birds and other wildlife that can be found here.