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Outer Banks North Carolina


Ocracoke Island. Photo courtesy of North Carolina Tourism.

Ocracoke Island.

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Tourism.
On North Carolina's coast -- just offshore and reachable by car-- a string of barrier islands stretches for 130 miles. Could this be your place for a getaway?

Somewhere to do beachcombing, climb sand dunes (some are 100 feet high), watch birds, go swimming, crabbing, sailing, fishing, windsurfing... Somewhere with beautiful coastal scenery, and salt and freshwater marshes to explore in kayaks and canoes.

In addition to these natural splendors, Outer Banks has quaint towns and inns and light-houses, and some man-made fun as well.

The Outer Banks islands are:

  • Bodie Island, the northern most island of (and actually a long peninsula extending from Virginia.)
  • Roanoke Island, which lies between Bodie Island and the mainland.
  • Hatteras Island, 50 miles in length, one of the longest islands in the US. The Cape Hatteras National Seahore extends the length of the island.
  • Ocracoke Island, the southernmost idland, reachable only by boat or ferry.
Read more about the Outer Banks islands and plan a driving tour.

Best swimming is reportedly between Corolla and Duck in the north area, and off Ocracoke Island in the south (--take thefree ferry to get to Ocracoke). Certain areas have coarser sand and cooler water.

Ocracoke Island, by the way, was picked as Top Beach in 2007 in Dr. Beach's annual list of Ten Top Beaches in America.

Dr. Beach has also, several times, picked Cape Hatteras as one of his top beaches. Cape Hatteras National Seashore is on Hatteras Island, and is administered by the National Park Service. Several visitor centers are open in summer months.

Families can swim, fish, camp, windsurf, go boating, explore a National Wildlife Refuge, or visit the black-and-white striped Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Recreation / Attractions
For example: recreation includes minigolf and amusement parks. And let's not forget that the Wright Brothers made their first flight here, at Kitty Hawk: visitors who likewise long for flight can try hang-gliding.

Those who want to visit attractions will find the Wright Brothers Memorial, the North Carolina Aquarium, the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (where you can howl with wolves, at a unique summer nature program), and more.

So: head to the Outer Banks and reelaaaaxxx-- or have more active fun if you want it-- in a place with beautiful beaches that the whole world hasn't discovered yet.

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