Outer Banks

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You could say theOuter Banks hasbeen in the tourism businesssince 1587 -- theyear early settlers attemptedan unsuccessfulcolonization on RoanokeIsland. Ever since, themystique of these sandybarrier islands hasgrown, luring generationsof families andfriends to its charmingwaterfront communities.

More than 100 miles of soft sandembody the peace and quiet visitorscrave and expect in the OuterBanks. A thriving surf communityadds thrills as surfers catchgnarly curls at Rodanthe Pier.And because of its location bowingout into the Atlantic and cuppingthe shoreline, you're guaranteeda water view from either side.

But the beaches aren't the onlystar attraction here. After all, itwas here that aviation was born,thanks to two ingenious brothers.Pirates made pit stops here, includingBlackbeard (Edward Teach), who was killed in OcracokeInlet. And a string of workinglighthouses makes great vantagepoints for finding shipwrecksvisible at low tide.

From living history to the historicseashore, a visit to the OuterBanks will leave you with memoriesthat last longer than the sandin your car.


The Sanderling, 1461 DuckRoad, Duck, 252-261-4111; thesanderling.com. The top resort inthe Outer Banks keeps gettingbetter, thanks to a recent face-liftof its luxurious rooms, most ofwhich have private porches facingthe Atlantic Ocean. Guests enjoypampering at the full-service spa,indoor pool and fitness center,and can take advantage of the EcoCenter, which arranges guidedkayak tours and sunset naturetours of Currituck Sound. Summerrates: $299-$450.

Oasis Suites, 7721 Virginia DareTrail, Nags Head, 252-441-5211;oasissuites.com. A good base forexploring the nearby WrightBrothers Memorial, this all-suitehotel evokes a modern flair withgranite countertops, Jacuzzi tubsand dark wood floors. Full kitchens, an outdoor pool and soothingviews of Albemarle Soundmake this a cheaper alternative torenting a private home. Call forsummer rates.

Roanoke Island Inn, 305 FernandoSt., Manteo, 252-473-5511;roanokeislandinn.com. This cozy,waterfront bed and breakfast hasa private boat dock, second-storyporch overlooking the marshesand lighthouse, and a private two-bedroombungalow option forbigger parties. Summer ratesfrom $169.


The Left Bank, at the SanderlingResort, Highway 12, Duck (insideScarborough Lane Shoppes),252-261-6145; thesanderling.com.Exquisite French cuisine is pairedwith a jaw-dropping list of topwines. The restaurant offers athree-course ($55) and five-course($75) prix-fixe menu and is openfor dinner only.

Penguin Isle Soundside Grill and Bar, Nags Head, 6708 S.Croatan Highway, Mile Post 16,252-441-2637; penguinisle.com.This lively hangout is one of thebest waterfront restaurants fromwhich to view a Southern sunset.Nab a prime seat on the open-airdeck and choose from aged-choiceAngus beef and fresh seafoodfrom the local Wanchese fishmarket. The wine list isn't tooshabby either, earning a WineSpectator's "Award of Excellence"since 1992. Entrees are $15.75-$38.

Sam & Omie's, Beach Road,Mile Post 16.5, Nags Head,252-441-7366; samandomies.net.As reliable at the ocean itself, thisinstitution has been satisfyingsunburned bellies since the 1930s.Perfect for a quick afternoon bite,an evening cocktail or a legendarybreakfast "omie"-lette stuffedwith all kinds of goodness. Entreesare $10.95-$19.95.


Outer Banks Brewing Station,Mile Post 8.5, Highway 158, KillDevil Hills, 252-449-2739; obbrewing.com. Drink responsiblyfor both you and the planet at thecountry's first-ever wind turbine-poweredbrewpub. Choose fromseven strong brews (with nameslike Old Knucklehead Nut BrownAle and Shipwreck Stout) whilekicking back to live music.

The Pit, Mile Post 9, Nags Head,252-480-3128; pitsurf.com. Oncenamed "One of the Best Bars inthe World" by Men's Journal, thisramshackle log cabin, lined withsurfboards and gear, is a popularstop for national bands, churningout some of the best live music inNags Head.

Roadside Raw Bar & Grill,1193 Duck Road (N.C. 12), Duck,252-261-5729. If the dance sceneisn't your style, lounge here forlive jazz Tuesdays and Thursdays.Light fare is served on the outdoorporch, or you can snuggle insidethe cozy cottage for a latedinner and drinks.


Kitty Hawk Kites, Mile Post 12,Croatan Highway, Nags Head,252-442-4124; kittyhawk.com. Everyconceivable kite configurationyou can possibly imagine ishere, in a kaleidoscope of colors.

Whalebone Surf Shop, 2214 S.Croatan Highway, Nags Head,252-441-6747; whalebonesurfshop.com. At this shop, you'll findsurf culture to the extreme. Pickup a specialty Takayama board,rent one or catch a family surfinglesson so you can tame those curlsat Rodanthe Pier.


Rainy days
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum,59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras,252-986-2995; graveyardoftheatlantic.com. More than1,500 sea vessels were shipwreckedalong this treacherousstretch of the Outer Banks. Startat this museum for a quick historylesson in screwpiles andFresnel lenses, and move north,touring various lighthousesalong the way.

North Carolina Aquarium
Outer Banks movie theaters
Outer Banks museums

Wright Brothers National Memorial,between Mile Posts 7and 8, Highway 158.252-473-2111; nps.gov/wrbr.Stand on the very spot whereWilbur and Orville Wrightlaunched the world's first poweredairplane. View the 60-footgranite monument and makesure to take your camera for theawesome ocean views atop BigKill Devil Hill.

Waterfall Action Park, N.C. 12,Hatteras Island, Rodanthe,252-987-2213. Grab the kids andyour sense of adventure, andhead for this classic beach townamusement park. Waterslides,mini-golf, bumper boats, souped-upgokarts and even bungeejumping make for a fun, sand-freetime.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
The Elizabethan Gardens
Hatteras Island Boardsports
Jockey's Ridge State Park
Kitty Hawk Kites
Pirate Adventures
Roanoke Island Festival Park
Sight-seeing tours


BEACH 'N BLUES FESTIVAL // Under the bypass at Pirate's Cove on Highway 64 / 252-384-3494. noon -10 p.m. June 26. What's better than chilling with talented blues artists on a hot summer night? Kick off your flip-flops and get ready for a jam session, southern-style. Tickets $20.

WRIGHT KITE FESTIVAL -- Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills / 877-359-8447, 252-441-4124 or kittyhawk.com. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 12-13. See demonstrations for kites up to 100 feet long. Make and fly your own kite and enjoy kid-friendly games and contests. Free.


Art stores and galleries
Theatre of Dare


Nags Head
Northern beach, located on Outer Banks of North Carolina
Pass required: No.
Pets allowed: Allowed year-round, if on a leash. Horses allowed Oct. 1 through April 30.
Lifeguard hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day
Rentals: Umbrellas, chairs, surf boards, boogie boards, baby supplies, wetsuits and more.
Public restrooms: Yes.
Showers: Yes.
Concession stands: Yes.
Parking: Paved parking on several streets
Fishing allowed: Yes. Two public piers: Nags Head Fishing Pier and Outer Banks Fishing Pier.
Camping: Yes.
Worth noting: Nags Head is the largest town on the Outer Banks.

Kitty Hawk
Northern beach, located on Outer Banks of North Carolina
Pass required: No.
Pets allowed: Yes - allowed on public beaches. Must be on a leash from Friday before Memorial Day through the day after Labor Day, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Lifeguard hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day
Rentals: Umbrellas, chairs, bikes, kayaks, boogie boards and more.
Public restrooms: Yes.
Showers: Yes - at Kitty Hawk Bath House, located near Kitty Hawk Road.
Concession stands: Yes.
Parking: Lots at Byrd Street, Kitty Hawk Road and Eckner Street; Side street parking also available.
Fishing allowed: Yes.
Camping: Yes.
Worth noting: The town features a forest called Kitty Hawk Woods.

Kill Devil Hills
Northern beach, located on Outer Banks of North Carolina
Pass required: No.
Pets allowed: Not allowed May 15 through Sept. 15, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. During rest of year, allowed only if on a leash.
Lifeguard hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day
Rentals: Bikes, scooters, chairs, umbrellas, surf boards and more.
Public restrooms: Yes.
Showers: Yes.
Concession stands: Yes.
Parking: Paved parking on several streets
Fishing allowed: Yes.
Camping: Yes.
Worth noting: The Wright Brothers National Memorial is located in Kill Devil Hills.

Southern beach on Hatteras Island, located on Outer Banks of North Carolina
Pass required: No.
Pets allowed: Allowed year-round, if on a leash.
Lifeguard hours: No lifeguards on duty.
Rentals: Surf boards, wetsuits, kayaks and more.
Public restrooms: Yes.
Showers: Yes.
Concession stands: Yes.
Parking: Paved parking available throughout Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Fishing allowed: Yes.
Camping: Yes.
Worth noting: The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is also referred to as "America's Lighthouse."


Outer Banks of North Carolina Visitors Bureau
Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce
Town of Nags Head
Town of Kitty Hawk
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