24 of the Best Things to Do in Outer Banks, NC
Expect to find plenty of things to do in Outer Banks, NC as this place is teeming with amazing outdoor activities and tourist attractions to complete your family vacation or weekend getaway. Here is a list of Outer Banks attractions and places of interest that our guests have frequently asked for. If you need more information about vacation rentals near these spots, just let us know and we’ll find a home rental to suit your needs!
For a more complete list of the best things to do in the Outer Banks, be sure to download our free OBX Vacation Guide.
There are so many excellent things to do in the Outer Banks, we wanted to help you plan your trip more easily by providing as many opportunities as we can at your fingertips! While the Outer Banks is well known for its wide, sandy beaches, there is so much more to do here!
The Outer Banks of North Carolina have played very interesting roles in the development of the United States, offering many historical sites. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy: kayaking, fishing, hiking, following the wild horses of the Outer Banks, and anything on the water or on land that our beautifully temperate climate permits. There are also more than a few great Outer Banks events and plenty of cultural things to do in the Outer Banks. Below are a few of our highlights in the area:
Don’t Miss the Most Fantastic Outer Banks Attractions
While the Outer Banks beaches are among the most famous in the world, there is plenty more to do here. Here are some of our favorite attractions in the Outer Banks:
1. Take Advantage of All the Free Things to Do in the Outer Banks!
The Outer Banks of North Carolina is filled with fun family friendly activities. With the various things to do in the Outer Banks with kids, you’re guaranteed to have an amazing visit. Many guests come to the Outer Banks wanting to explore the area but are on a tight budget. Before you start planning the pricier parts of your visit, be sure to see our recommendations for activities that will not cost you a penny. You very well could fill your days just with all the fun free things to do in the Outer Banks, so feel free!
2. The Lighthouses in OBX
The lighthouses in OBX are some of the most wonderful lighthouses in the United States. There are several that are among some of the most iconic and historic lighthouses in the country. Used to help guide ships through the treacherous and at times dangerous waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North Carolina, these lighthouses were the beacons that help guide ships to shore. Whether you’re looking for things to do in the Outer Banks at night or things to do in the Outer Banks on a rainy day, there is never a bad time to visit the local lighthouses.
3. The Wild Horses of the Outer Banks
The wild horses of the Outer Banks are a wonderful sight and an amazing thing to experience when visiting our area. The Outer Banks are one of the few areas in the United States that has wild mustangs roaming free. The horses live in the coastal environment and roam the coastline. It’s a truly magical sight to see these majestic horses living free in a scenic environment like the Outer Banks.
4. The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a wonderful wildlife preserve in the Outer Banks that sprawls over 152,000 acres. The refuge is home to many different animals and species including the alligator that makes its home throughout the area along the river. Among the many great things that Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge offers is a chance to take a kayak tour down the river.
5. The Lost Colony Play
Don’t miss the Lost Colony play in Manteo, North Carolina this summer! The Lost Colony is the second-longest running historical outdoor drama as it has been performed since 1937. The play runs May through August at Waterside Theater at 1409 National Park Drive in Manteo.
6. The Elizabethan Gardens
The Elizabethan Gardens offer one of the most unique and wonderful experiences in the Outer Banks. Located on Roanoke Island, the site of where English settlers first landed over 400 years ago, the Elizabethan Gardens honors those settlers who first came to America and are based off the same gardens that were made for Queen Elizabeth I during her reign. Each season brings new wonder to these amazing gardens and this is a must-do activity when visiting the Outer Banks.
7. Duck Boardwalk
While in the beautiful Outer Banks, make sure you visit the Duck Boardwalk and all it has to offer. From beautiful sights to fun shops, you’ll enjoy your day spent at this fantastic Outer Banks boardwalk. A visit to the Duck Boardwalk is definitely one of the best things to do in Duck, North Carolina!
8. Outer Banks Beaches
While there’s so much to do here, the Outer Banks beaches are without question the best North Carolina beaches. OBX is made up of 100 miles of narrow barrier islands. Each town has a unique feel with miles of beautiful sandy beaches. The area is rich in history, has plentiful shopping and dining, and activities for the whole family. From great places to surf to pet-friendly beaches, you are guaranteed to enjoy your time in the Outer Banks.
A Few of the Wonderful Activities in the Outer Banks to Enjoy
While sightseeing is always a fun thing to do in the Outer Banks (or on any vacation), there are plenty of opportunities to get your blood pumping or just to relax. Here are just a few more ideas of great activities to enjoy while visiting the Outer Banks.
9. Fishing in Nags Head NC
Some of the best fishing in the Outer Banks is in Nags Head. Fishing in Nags Head, NC is one of the best activities to partake in when visiting the area. There are many different types of fish that you can catch in Nags Head along with enjoying your time in a scenic area. Some great places to go include the Nags Head Pier, Jennette’s Pier, or any Outer Banks Fishing Pier.
10. Take an OBX Fishing Charter
The Outer Banks is known for great fishing and a big variety of species, and OBX fishing charters are the perfect way to ensure you get the most out of your fishing trip. Charters allow visitors to go out on the sea around the Outer Banks for either part of a day or a whole day and can last from the morning until late, giving you ample time to catch the ideal fish.
11. Kilmarlic Golf Club
Set a tee time at Kilmarlic Golf Club in the Outer Banks for a true golfing experience! Kilmarlic Golf Club has been rated one of the best places to play golf in the state of North Carolina. That’s saying a lot for a state that is known for its golf courses. The course was chosen as the site for the North Carolina Open in both 2004 and 2009 and is consistently kept in top condition.
12. Visit Bodie Island
While most visitors tend to just pass through this area, Outer Banks’ Bodie Island has a lot to offer its guests. Bring the whole family as this is one of the many great things to do in the Outer Banks, NC, with kids. From the Bodie Island Lighthouse to the beautiful beaches, you’ll want to make sure this is one stop on your Outer Banks trip list.
13. Find Even More Exciting Outer Banks Activities
The spirit of adventure is rooted deep in North Carolina’s heritage and is still going strong today in the Outer Banks! The Outer Banks is an ideal spot for visitors to relax and enjoy the miles of white, sandy beaches, and if you find yourself in search of an Outer Banks adventure, you won’t have to look far! Whether you want to experience hang gliding, adventure tours, various water sports, or pirate adventures, there are various options for you to explore!
14. Enjoy Some of the Best Outer Banks Spas
When you’re on vacation, adventuring across the Outer Banks can be tiring! Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to escape into deep relaxation at one of the many great Outer Banks spas. There is no better way to completely relax and feel your best than a massage or other body relaxation treatment. Take a little time for yourself and try one of many great Outer Banks spas.
15. Fantastic Outer Banks Dolphin Cruises You’ll Remember Forever
There is no better place to see dolphins than in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. With a selection of Outer Banks Dolphin Cruises, you can view these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. For your convenience, here is a list of some of the best Outer Banks Dolphin cruises.
16. Hatteras Horseback Riding
What better way to enjoy Hatteras than on horseback! Create memories that will last a lifetime while viewing the beautiful scenery around you. There are a couple different companies that offer the opportunity for you and your family to enjoy Hatteras horseback riding. Read on for additional information about this fun activity in the Outer Banks!
17. The Wright Brother’s Memorial
The Wright Brothers Memorial is a must-see attraction when visiting the Outer Banks. Located in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina the memorial commemorates the first flights of Wilbur and Orville Wright who spent three years in the area and finally launched their first power flight in 1903. The Wright Brothers Memorial is one of the best Kill Devil Hills attractions to see!
Enjoy the Best of Outer Banks Dining
All of us at Shoreline OBX love to experience the various restaurants in the Outer Banks! There are more than enough places to eat in the Outer Banks to satisfy both the pickiest or more refined palate. Visiting the various restaurants should definitely be on your list of things to do in the Outer Banks. Some great places to visit for the best of Outer Banks dining include:
18. Kitty Hawk, NC Restaurants
There are many reasons why tourists flock to Kitty Hawk. The beautiful beaches, the abundance of activities and many local treasures all play a part in making a memorable visit. And there’s nothing better than treating yourself to a delicious meal at one of the fantastic Kitty Hawk, NC, Restaurants after a day of fun in the sun! If you’re looking for a place to eat in the Outer Banks, Kitty Hawk is known for offering a wide variety of dining choices. From casual cafes and sandwich shops to fresh local seafood and authentic southern barbecue there is something for everyone! While there’s no question the dining is excellent, there are plenty more things to do in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina!
19. Corolla Restaurants
There are many great dining options in the Outer Banks and many are located right in Corolla. There are many great Corolla restaurants with a variety of styles that are sure to fit your taste. Enjoy the dining is one of the best things to do in Corolla.
20. Find even more fantastic Outer Banks Dining Opportunities All Over Our Area!
With over 170 locally owned restaurants on the Outer Banks, it can sometimes be difficult to decide where to eat while on vacation. That’s where our staff can help! We hope you enjoy these varied and great restaurants in the Outer Banks as much as we do!
21. The North Carolina Maritime Museum
Rich in both natural beauty and a storied past, the Outer Banks of North Carolina are anchored in the area’s maritime traditions, where shipwrecks, sailing, pirates and more play major roles in local history! The North Carolina Maritime Museum is dedicated to preserving the coast’s maritime past and providing visitors with an ample amount of information. Consisting of three museums in Hatteras, Beaufort and Southport, the North Carolina Maritime Museum is all but a required stop for history enthusiasts and casual fans alike. Before you visit, here’s what you need to know about the museums!
22. The Best Outer Banks Shopping
It makes sense that a highly popular vacation region would have great shopping, but newcomers might not know where they can stock up on their favorite brand names and beachwear. To help you find the best Outer Banks shopping, we’ve compiled the following list of shops! Keep reading and start planning your Outer Banks shopping trip.
23. Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Visitors to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands will simultaneously be visiting the gorgeous Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The National Seashore stretches across 70 miles of shoreline, encompassing seven villages on Hatteras Island, and provides visitors with undisturbed, scenic beaches as well as some of the prettiest natural drives on the East Coast.
24. Kitty Hawk Beach
Kitty Hawk Beach is located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and offers residents and visitors a unique and relaxing vacation atmosphere with plenty of things to do. The town of Kitty Hawk consists of a traditional village, a beach community, and Kitty Hawk Woods, a 461-acre maritime forest reserve. Experience its history and natural beauty or walk around town and explore fine art, great beaches, and awesome food.
Curious About Even More Things to Do in the Outer Banks?
The options are endless! There are so many items we didn’t even get to add to this list, but you can ask us here at Shoreline OBX any of your questions about things to do in OBX! You can explore more specific things to do in Corolla, Avon, NC, activities, and Kill Devil Hills attractions on their own articles. And of course, be sure to check-out our various Outer Banks vacation rentals. Our Outer Banks rentals are some of the best, keeping you close to the activities you’re craving. We look forward to booking your stay!