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The Ultimate Outer Banks Summer and Fall Guide

Life is full of demanding moments that require our attention, effort, and energy without reprieve. When you work hard year-round and find yourself in need of some de-stressing this summer or fall, having the ideal vacation destination in mind can be something that’s well worth looking forward to! There’s nothing quite as invigorating as packing your suitcase and heading towards an amazing locale where rest and relaxation are bound to be as much a priority as fun and entertainment. When you can’t wait to capture the best of that vacation essence and are looking for a destination that possesses the beauty and appeal to match—be sure to make your way to the Outer Banks during Summer of North Carolina, where the option to capture nature’s beauty at its best and pair it with endless selections of fun are sure to please and inspire in abundance!

The Outer Banks is a unique and truly one-of-a-kind place to find yourself any time of year, but there’s something special about a summer and fall getaway when the weather is ideal and options for outdoor fun are seemingly unlimited. Within a barrier island setting that showcases over 100 miles of sandy shoreline, wildlife refuges, historic lighthouses, and parks, visitors will find a place where they can relax, remain inspired, and enjoy taking time to check out the variety of charming coastal communities that call the Outer Banks home as well!
The Outer Banks has long been loved by travelers from near and far for its abundance of historical stops, charming shoreline features, and places to discover that give plenty of reasons to return to the Outer Banks during Summer time and again. Whether you’re here to see the wild horses or can’t wait to get up close to incredible migratory seabirds—the Outer Banks promises to be a place where you can indulge your interests, learn something new, and cater to that desire to discover and explore some place beautiful with complete ease.

Things to Do While You’re Here: From Lighthouse Experiences to Amazing Vistas and Wildlife

For all of its modern beauty, comforts, and conveniences, the Outer Banks holds fast to features that remind visitors of its historical relevance and wonders. Among the many testaments to the fact the area has been reveled in for centuries is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Located at 46368 Light House Road in Buxton, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is simple to spot thanks to its towering façade that’s covered in white and black swirling stripes! It’s a clear contrast to its lush surroundings, making it that much more intriguing to guests. The lighthouse that guests encounter here today is actually one of three that have inhabited the space since 1803. War and conflict contributed to the destruction of the first two versions of this lighthouse and the model that guests can enjoy today was opened and lit in 1870.

Its unique story makes it all that much more of an interesting stop, and many are thrilled to find out that the lighthouse still functions using two 1000-watt lamps to this very day that are visible for an impressive 20 miles out to sea. Standing 193 feet tall, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse promises to make for a wonderful view to capture on camera if you’re interested in photography. That said, many make their way here to challenge their athletic abilities and take to the interior stairs as they make their way up to the top observation deck! Tickets to climb at $8 for adults and $4 for children and can be purchased on the day of a planned climb exclusively. Climbs depart every 10-minute and are limited to 30 people to keep the experience, safe, stress-free, and enjoyable.

Once you’ve returned safely to land from the observation deck, making your way to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is bound to be a great addition to a summer or fall itinerary. Located at 374 Airport Road in Manteo, the North Carolina Aquarium is an amazing place for the entire family to enjoy time learning about the waters that surround the Outer Banks as well as the creatures that depend on those healthy waterways to continue thriving well into the future. All types of watery habitats are showcased at this unique and comprehensive aquarium including the freshwater varieties that are home to American alligators, turtles, and otters. Stingrays, jellyfish, and even sharks inhabit this aquarium which features a 285,000-gallon Graveyard of the Atlantic exhibit as well as a sunken treasure ship just waiting to be explored by visitors. For those who find themselves here with a heart for marine life conservation, the opportunity to witness conservation efforts at the on-site Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center is a chance not to be missed.

When you’re looking for some of the Outer Bank’s most mesmerizing views to discover while you’re in the area in the summer or fall, a trip to Jockey’s Ridge State Park is an absolute must. Situated in Nags Head, this park covers a breathtaking 426 acres of land and is impressively home to the largest natural living sand dune on the East Coast. The park features two self-guided trails for those willing to lace up their boots and go exploring. There are also nature programs that you can sign up for if a guided experience is more your style. For those that crave adrenaline-pumping fun, it’s thrilling to learn that Jockey’s Ridge State Park is a fan-favorite amongst those who enjoy hang gliding! Be sure to check out the visitor center while you’re here which also has a charming gift shop for a comprehensive overview of the area. Those visitors looking for a touch of tranquility on the itinerary when they’re enjoying time with the entire family will find that both kite flying and picnicking are both highly enjoyable activities to participate in while you’re here.

Experience the Best of Nature – Outer Banks Summer

There are few places on earth where wild horses can be viewed in their natural environments, but the Outer Banks is one of them! There are several theories as to how these magnificent creatures came to make this place their home. One theory suggests they swam to shore when the ships of explorers sunk off the coast and have continued to thrive ever since. Other theories suggest they were left behind by early explorers who moved on to other adventures or succumbed to devastating diseases. Either way, the wild horse population on the Outer Banks today continues to thrill visitors and locals alike. While you would never want to approach a wild horse, there are several tours available in Corolla in particular that pair you up with a knowledgeable guide who will get you to those wild horse hot spots by Jeep in a safe and secure manner. While you’ll learn a lot about these animals on the way, you won’t be disturbing their habits, routines, or natural spaces. Not to worry, you’ll get close enough to get an idea of just how mesmerizing these animals truly are.

When you’re looking to integrate some scenic beauty into your summer or fall excursion, don’t forget to set aside time to visit the impressive Elizabethan Gardens too. Situated at 1411 National Park Drive in Manteo, the Elizabethan Gardens are found within the Fort Raleigh National Historic site and encompass 10 acres of pristine land. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in a botanical garden that’s quite unlike any other! As you stroll the meticulous pathways and wind your way through vibrant blooms, you’ll encounter captivating sculptures, shrubs, trees, and water features that quickly install a sense that perhaps you’ve actually stepped into the past! While you’re here, be sure to check out the seasonal butterfly house, the prize-winning camellia collection, and the Discovery Cottage if you happen to be touring with little ones in tow. This stop offers up hands-on activities that will keep young minds engaged with the beautiful world around them!

Of course, no trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina is truly considered complete amongst summer or fall travelers without a trip or two to the beach. Whether you’re enthusiastic about working on that tan, can’t wait to go for a swim, or prefer to snorkel your way through an afternoon, there are a seemingly endless number of places on these barrier islands to choose from to enjoy a day spent on the sand, under the sun, enjoying proximity to the surf.

Try Something New or Hit the Links!

When you’re visiting the Outer Banks in the summer or fall, trying something new is worth the effort. If you’re not an experienced angler, this is just the place to give chartered fishing a try for the very first time! Hosting an abundance of fish species in the surrounding waters and just as many companies that are willing to customize your time on the waves, it’s worth your time to give it a try and see what bites. Who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised! The vast majority of fishing charter companies in the area offer fishing excursions that include access to all of the gear you need making it a completely stress-free day on the water. In some cases, you may be able to pair your chartered fishing experience with a swimming, snorkeling, or wildlife spotting options making the whole experience even more fulfilling!

For all of its watery wonder and beauty, the Outer Banks is also a place that’s prime for golf enthusiasts to enjoy a round or two. From the Kilmaric Golf Club and the Nags Head Golf Links to the Currituck Club or the Duck Woods Country Club, those who can’t imagine a getaway without time on the greens will have plenty of options to choose from that are sure to satisfy! If you’re in town with little ones and are looking for a mini-golf course that’s suitable for the entire traveling crew, Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf in Kill Devil Hills is always a crowd-pleaser.

Historical Attraction Not to Miss

Some first-time summer or fall visitors to the Outer Banks may be surprised to learn that the area is connected to the infamous Wright Brothers. Take some time while you’re in the area to pay homage to this brother duo that made such remarkable strides in the world of flight by visiting The Wright Brothers Monument. Found at 1000 N Croatan Highway in Kill Devil Hills, the monument is truly a moving and spectacular site which is open to the public daily between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Where to Stay in the Outer Banks

Because the Outer Banks of North Carolina offers up so many charming coastal communities to enjoy, it’s likely that visitors will end up focusing on a few with every visit they make. That makes it that much more important to have accommodations booked that keep you close to those places you just can’t wait to discover! When you’re looking to maximize every moment of your trip, be sure to partner with the property professionals at Shoreline OBX when you’re here in the summer or fall. Shoreline OBX provides visitors with streamlined access to a variety of rental property options across the Outer Banks that can be customized to fit your every need and exceed expectations in the way of luxury, comfort, and style!

While tasteful furnishings can be counted on and open floor plans are often the standard, there’s no reason not to ask for more. Be sure to inquire about Outer Banks rental properties during your stay that include access to pools, hot tubs, pet-friendly amenities, multi-level decks/balconies, fireplaces, and more! Fantastic properties can be booked that provide access to the beach for those who want to make the most of time on the shoreline while other properties can be customized to match specific view preferences too. Whether it’s vaulted ceilings and an abundance of windows that would do the trick, or you’re looking for a stay that comes with access to a full kitchen for serving up savory meals—the Shoreline OBX team has what you’re searching for and is here to help. Reach out today to learn more about our many options!