The Outer Banks, NC – A Terrific Family Destination

As you probably gather from yesterday’s post 10 Reasons Why Time Off is Important, our family was on holiday last week at the beach.  There are so many things to do at the Outer Banks (Southern Shores/Kitty Hawk/Nags Head area), I thought I would share some of the things our family has done there. I know it’s a popular family destination.

Here are some things your family might enjoy in the area:

1. Obviously, playing in the ocean has to be at the top of the list!



Be sure to check out this post about the Seashore Life that can be found there. I have pictures of jelly fish, sea anemone, blue crabs, sea cucumbers and all sorts of other sea creatures we saw while walking along the beach!!


Click on the photo to see more amazing sea life pictures from the Outer Banks.

2. Kayaking, Sailing, Scuba Diving: On the other side of the island, the sound-side, the waters are warmer (end of May) and calmer. This makes it ideal to go kayaking or sailing.

This year we took the kids kayaking. My sister and brother-in-law have their own kayaks and we used the public access area, but there are also lots of places to rent kayaks (sail boats, etc.) in Duck (and other areas too).



3. Jockey Ridge State Park (Sand Dunes): The kids had a blast at the sand dunes in Nags Head! This is the tallest natural sand dune system in the eastern U.S.



4. Roanoke Island Festival Park: This is an interactive history site that explains what life was like when the settlers arrived from England to try to establish a permanent settlement in the New World in the late 16th century. The park has a replica of the 1587 ship, an Indian town, and settlement village area. They also have a movie that we all enjoyed about three Native Americans from different tribes in the area and how they interacted with the white settlers.

I did an even more in-depth post about this wonderful park last year. Last May 2012, experts released new evidence about what happened to those “Lost Colonists” and I shared that in that post.



One thing I did last year, that I actually wished I had done again this year, was to check out a children’s book about the Lost Colony to read to the kids while we were there.  It really made the experience come alive last year especially with the mystery and intrigue about what happened to all those settlers who stayed behind waiting for supplies.

This was about a 40 minute drive from where we stayed in Southern Shores (probably longer when there’s a lot of traffic in the summer), but well worth the drive especially if you combine it with a visit to the aquarium.

5. North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island: Just five minutes from the Roanoke Island Festival Park is an aquarium. It was not huge, but the kids enjoyed it. They had an interactive sea turtle rescue area where the kids weighed their turtle, determined why it was sick/injured, treated it in the “lab,” gave it time to recover from its injuries, and then released it into the wild.



Also a hit there was the “Close Encounter” with sting ray and horseshoe crabs. They could gently stroke some of the hermit crabs and star fish.



6. Wright Brothers National Memorial: We learned so much when we stopped by the Wright Brothers Memorial last year.  I have a long post about some of the things we learned and saw. It is absolutely worth a visit.


7. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is about 10 miles from Nags Head and provides thousands of acres of habitat for nesting and migratory birds. This is a birder’s paradise with more than 365 bird species.  We stopped at the visitor’s center and did a short out-and-back walk out as we checked out all the different birds.


8. Other Fun Activities: And then there are lots of things along the main road — mini golf, go karts, movie theater, ice cream shops, hang gliding…


Unfortunately, that’s as much hang gliding as my kids got to do this trip!!

We sure had a wonderful family vacation. Hopefully, you get to visit that area at some point!

Traveling this summer? Here are some other trips we’ve taken…

  • Antietam, Civil War Battle Site in Maryland
  • Global Village, Heifer International (Maryland)
  • The Tourist Town of Branson, Missouri
  • Road Trip to the Smokies (Gatlinburg, TN)
  • Aquarium of the Smokies
  • An Amazing Nature Center in Nashville, TN
  • Homeschool Week at Colonial Williamsburg — Hands On Experiences at Colonial Williamsburg
  • The Mansion with 32 Secret Doors (Washington D.C.)
  • Arkansas: The Plantation Agriculture Museum, Toltec Indian Mounds
  • Baltimore Aquarium
  • Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s Home
  • The Liberty Bell (Philadelphia); Statue of Liberty; Ellis Island
  • Tennessee: Grey’s Fossil Site, Davy Crockett’s Cabin, Parthenon (Nashville)
  • Jamestown, Virginia, Powhatan Indians
  • La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles
  • Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO

3 Responses

  1. May 19, 2014

    […] Outer Banks – A Terrific Family Destination A list of all kinds of activities you can do at the Outer Banks. […]

  2. May 22, 2014

    […] Outer Banks – A Terrific Family Destination A list of all kinds of activities you can do at the Outer Banks. […]

  3. May 22, 2014

    […] Outer Banks – A Terrific Family Destination A list of all kinds of activities you can do at the Outer Banks. […]

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