Go beyond the beach

Outer Banks aerial view

The Outer Banks stretches over 100 miles from the northern border of North Carolina to Ocracoke. As a string of barrier islands, this offers over 100 miles of beaches along the Atlantic Beach. But that’s not all. The Outer Banks has so much more to offer. With a rich history, a diverse ecosystem, and a strong local community, the OBX is sure to delight every visitor. They just have to be willing to take a step off the beach for an afternoon. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite Outer Banks activities and landmarks to visit.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Flying kites at Jockey's Ridge State Park

As the tallest living sand dune on the Atlantic Coast, it’s hard to miss Jockey’s Ridge State Park. That helps explain why it is one of the most visited state parks in North Carolina.  There are tons of activities to do on the dunes for people of all ages.

The park features three unique nature trails for hikers. Additionally, Kite flying has been a favorite at the dunes for decades because of the consistent ocean breezes and wide-open space away from trees and power lines. Those same ocean breezes also make Jockey’s Ridge the perfect spot for hang gliding lessons. Over 400,000 students have taken flight off of the dunes with Kitty Hawk Kites, making it the world’s largest hang gliding school. Looking to stay closer to the ground? Rent a sandboard and take a thrilling ride down the dunes!

Jockey’s Ridge State Park is located in Nags Head along Highway 158 Bypass at milepost 12. Did we mention there is no park entry fee? That’s right! It’s free to visit Jockey’s Ridge making it a must-see attraction for all Outer Banks visitors.

Roanoke Island

Riding bikes in Manteo

Home of Manteo and Wanchese, Roanoke Island is steeped in history. While the Lost Colony is not performing this year, there are still great historic traditions for you to enjoy. And some new family traditions for you to establish. Join in on a walking ghost tour and learn the spooky stories that make the Outer Banks one of the most haunted beaches in America!

Looking to hit the water instead? Sail the Roanoke and Albemarle sounds aboard the 41-foot ketch “Movin’ On”. Whether you come alone, as a couple, or as a group, your experience on this sailing cruise will be warm, friendly, and personal. Get even closer to the action on a guided kayak tour around Roanoke Island or through the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Or take in the sights with a bird’s eye view during a parasailing adventure.

Want to take the adventure into your own hands? Explore the island yourself with a bike, standup paddleboard, or kayak rental.

Explore the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds

Albemarle-Pamlico sound at sunset

This network of lagoons and waterways makes up part of the second-largest estuary in the United States. The wildlife that lives in and around the sound gives the Outer Banks its distinct ecosystem.

View that wildlife for yourself aboard a dolphin tour. Operated by the Nags Head Dolphin Watch, each tour is run by research biologists with the Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research. Aboard a covered 40-foot pontoon boat, you have the chance to observe bottlenose dolphins, pelicans, and osprey!

This ecosystem also offers a variety of fish to catch. Hop aboard a 30-year-old Outer Banks tradition on the Miss Oregon Inlet Head Boat to cast out without the hassle. Oregon Inlet and surrounding waters abound with many species of fish, such as spot, croaker, flounder, grey and speckled trout, bluefish, puppy-drum, sea mullet, sea bass, and many others. Fishermen of all ages and skill levels are welcome and everything you need for a great day on the water is provided.

Looking for a bigger challenge? Try kayak fishing! Kayak Fishing is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. And with our Hobie Mirage Drive kayaks, you are able to navigate your kayak hands-free in the shallow sound-side waterways of the Outer Banks.

What will you discover?

Now that you know more about what the Outer Banks has to offer, what’s first on your list? Share your adventure with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.