Annual Celebration Of Orville And Wilburs First Flight
If youve ever been on a plane and wondered how the first flight came to be, you need to visit the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk, NC.
On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers celebrated the first flight right here on the Outer Banks. Today, we honor the prominent event in aviation with the Annual Celebration of Orville and Wilburs First Flight. Experience the legacy and learn how this important event in history changed the world!
Sunset At Millers Waterfront Restaurant
To be honest, we were not big fans of the food at Millers Waterfront Restaurant, but we were big fans of the sunset views. If we were to redo it, wed come here for sunset drinks in the waterfront garden.
Its busy and eating here is another of the most popular things to do in OBX and we had to wait for an hour for a table on the outside deck. And we ended up shoved in the corner under the stairs .
We know it cant be helped and its just the luck of the draw, but as the food wasnt great, Id just go for the views with drinks instead.
The sunset view is spectacular. There will be other spots you can see the sunset in Outer Banks. This was the only one we experienced.
Where should we go next time we visit the Outer Banks? Tell us in the comments below.
Things To Do With Kids In The Outer Banks
When looking for a place to travel to that is both kid-friendly and relaxing, look no further than the Outer Banks! The Outer Banks is known for its beaches, wild horses, great food, and scenery.
The best times to visit are in the warm summer months, when the beaches are at their most beautiful. Luckily, all the kids are out of school at this ideal time, so its a perfect place to plan a vacation suitable for children of all ages. This article will detail family friendly activities, locations, and restaurants to see on a trip to the Southern Outer Banks to make traveling here simple and fun!
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Our Outer Banks Family Vacation Experience With Kids
Use our beach vacation packing list to simplify the packing for your Outer Banks family vacation. This vacation checklist will help ensure you remember to pack everything your family needs. I print the beach packing list, put it on a clipboard, and then check-off the items as I pack them.
We travel from Western North Carolina which is around a 7-8 hours drive to the Outer Banks. Typically we will leave home on Friday and make the majority of the road trip with kids that day. We usually spend the night in a hotel about 2.5 hours from the coast, around the towns of Wilson, NC, or Rocky Mount, NC which are east of Raleigh. Then we can get up on Saturday morning and hit the road. We like to arrive on the Outer Banks before lunchtime to beat the crowds.Advertisements
Our family likes to explore the Nags Head / Kitty Hawk / Kill Devil Hills area and enjoy lunch at one of the delicious OBX family-friendly restaurants. We bring an empty cooler and then head to the grocery store to stock up on food and these beach essentials for our week at the beach. There is a Walmart and Harris Teeter on N Croatan Hwy in Kitty Hawk, near the Wright Memorial Bridge.
Then we are ready to head towards the north of the Outer Banks, get checked into our beach house rental, and start enjoying our family beach vacation. We typically stay in the town of Duck because there are so many fun things to do in Duck, NC with kids.
Drink And Eat At Fish Heads Bar And Grill
Listen up Santa Monica Pier. THIS is how you do a pier!
Back in our home country of Australia, we dont have piers at our beaches and Aussies are most familiar with Santa Monica Pier.
But we think that pier in LA is super tacky, crowded and just a flat out tourist trap!
Weve also been to many other piers on our travels across the USA and we think we have found our favorite pier right here in North Carolina theOuter Banks Fishing Pier. And its mostly to do with Fish Heads Bar and Grill at the end of this pier.
When we first arrived at the beach here, there was a long line waiting to get onto the pier and we thought, whats going on here?
Turns out, it was happy hour shrimp at Fish Heads which means 15 CENT SHRIMP between 4pm 6pm. We put our names down immediately!
Not only that, but Fish Heads offers a great beer selection , killer ocean views, chilled local vibe and music, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Dont miss it. This is a super cool local spot, and one of our best memories from our Outer Banks vacation!
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Cape Hatteras National Seashore Junior Ranger Program
Geared for ages 5-13, the Junior Ranger Program at Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a highlight for the young and adventurous ones among you. The Junior Ranger Program is a fun way to learn more about the park and how you can help protect it – just like the park rangers!
If you’re visiting during the summer season from mid-June through Labor Day, you can become Junior Ranger by attending two ranger programs at the park and completing the Junior Ranger booklet for your age group. If you are visiting the park during any other time period, you can complete the booklet to attain Junior Ranger status.
Eat North Carolina Bbq
There are plenty of good eats in the Outer Banks, but one of our favorites is a little shack called Corolla Village BBQ. This walk-up window service BBQ joint specializes in chopped pork BBQ with a delicious North Carolina vinegar sauce, hickory smoked chicken and ribs. Many people pick up take-out here, but we like to enjoy it on the picnic tables just outside. There is a small park just across the parking lot where kids love to play after lunch or dinner. My recommendation is to arrive early. They are open until 8:00 p.m. in the summer, or until they run out of food, which has happened to me more than once.
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Check Out A Lighthouse
There are 5 lighthouses on the Outer Banks that you can visit. We have been to 4 of them over the years. They are neat to see in person and most, if not all, give visitors the chance to climb up to the top for a small charge.
One thing to note the climb is no joke. Tight, small, winding staircase to the top which is not only physically challenging, but at those heights, its mentally challenging as well. We climbed the Currituck Beach Lighthouse a couple of years ago and I found that looking DOWN gave me a near anxiety attack. I made it all the way up and back down but I probably wont be climbing up a lighthouse in the near future.
Roanoke Island Festival Park & Maritime Museum
Roanoke Island Festival Park is an interactive family attraction that celebrates the first English settlement in America. Explore the Elizabeth II, a representation of one of the seven English ships from the Roanoke Voyage of 1585. Discover the American Indian Town and a 16th century Settlement Site. Learn about the construction and creation of traditional watercraft and related maritime activities at the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum.
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Spend A Day At The Beach
Our Outer Banks trip involved a lot of time near water, as we were steps from the beach and rented a house with a pool. Several companies offer gear rentals if your house doesnt include beach gear and you decide not to bring any. Depending on the type of beach vacation you want, you can choose from a variety of family-friendly options. Corolla Beach is known for its calm waters perfect for kayaking or swimming, for example, while Kitty Hawk Beach and Kill Devil Hills Beach have big waves ideal for surfing. Families will also love the pet-friendly Duck Beach or catching the sunset at Nags Head Beach and its adjacent Jennettes Pier. One unique beach activity my family enjoyed was watching the sand crabs come out at night. These critters would scurry across the beach, and we used flashlights to help catch them in the act!
What To Eat In The Outer Banks With Kids
Finding kid-friendly food options shouldnt be hard in the Outer Banks. If you have a rental home, chances are you will enjoy at least some meals there. While many beachgoers bring food for their stay, there is plenty of flexibility to hit the grocery store during your vacation or even have groceries delivered. In Duck, we tried to experience as many eateries as we could. To name a few, The Village Table and Tavern, The Blue Point, and Coastal Cantina offered dining on the Currituck Sound famous for its sunset views. Places like Red Sky Café, Coastal Cravings, and Tullios Bakery lacked a view, but made up for it with yummy food to start or end our day. And we visited Growlers to Go more than once to taste local craft beers.
There was no shortage of treats for kids to enjoy, which isnt surprising in a beach town! Our first stop was, naturally, the original Duck Donuts. As it was during the COVID-19 pandemic, we needed to order well ahead, so check out that option before visiting. There are plenty of other spots to indulge in and enjoy local candy, bakery treats, and ice cream. The most unique ice cream spot was Donutz On a Stick Ice Cream its name explains the offerings quite well! I promise youll eat well on your family beach vacation in the Outer Banks!
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Visit The Wright Brothers Memorial
Visitors to the Outer Banks should not miss the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk. Walk along the field where they first flew their historic flights, and let the kids do the junior ranger program and play on the airplane replica. Hungry afterward? Stop by Kitty Hawk’s Frozen Custard and Beach Fries from some family-friendly food your kids will love.
Things You Need To Do On The Outer Banks In Winter
If youre looking to escape the snow, but dont want to be too hot, the Outer Banks in winter is the perfect vacation spot for you. The weather in the winter months is refreshing. Plus, you can avoid the summer crowds! Before you plan your OBX holiday vacation, make sure to request access to our freeVacation Guide. Weve crafted the best list of restaurants, attractions, and entertainment for your enjoyment on your winter visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
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Jump For Joy At Jumpmasters Trampoline Park
Get airborne at this one-of-a-kind attraction, with fun for the whole family. Jumpmasters OBX is the ONLY trampoline park on the Outer Banks. Check out these incredible features for the Indoor Park: Ninja Warrior Course, Battle Beam, Foam Pits, Dodgeball, Air Bag, and 3D Climbing Wall. Jumpmasters also offers Toddler Time for kids 5 years and younger. With so many options its tough to imagine not having fun here!
When Is The Best Time To Visit The Outer Banks
The most popular time to visit the Outer Banks is during the warmer summer months, from May to September. This is the time it will be most busy with visitors. If you want fewer crowds and lower accommodation rates then consider visiting off-season. Therefore, a better time to visit the OBX would be March to May, or September to November.
I have always visited the Outer Banks during the summer months. The traffic can be very heavy on the weekends, especially Saturdays when many visitors are arriving or departing their vacation rental. If your schedule allows it is worth looking for a vacation rental that begins and ends on Friday or possibly Sunday.
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Jockeys Ridge Sand Dune
Where else can you trudge over the tallest living sand dune on the East coast?! Jockeys Ridge is a unique experience you wont forget. Youll feel like youre in the desert with sand as far as you can see. Its a premier location for kites, sightseeing and sunsets, with a view arcing from the ocean to Roanoke Sound. A visitor center with museum and 360-foot boardwalk with exhibits explain the dunes ecology and are a gradual entry to the massive dune field. Hang gliding lessons are available through a vendor in the park.
Northern Beaches In The Outer Banks:
The Northern Beaches of the Outer Banks may have some names you recognize, namely Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills. Kitty Hawk is best known as the town where the Wright Brothers performed their aviation testing and propelled themselves into history. Kill Devil Hills is where the Wright Brothers successfully took flight and is home to a National Memorial dedicated in their honor. This area is a great place to station yourself during your vacation given its central location and access to the other barrier islands. The Northern Beaches offer a wide variety of activities, as well as abundant lodging and dining options. Below is our break down of the Northern Beaches:
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Spend Time At The Pristine Outer Banks Beaches
We just sat the whole day doing nothing but everything at the beach. Albeit, it may appear as if doing nothing is too much indulgence, however, every now and then it proves to be the reinvigoration one needs.
Yes! We spent quality time together enjoying the endless water surface, reading a book, making castles of our dreams, going for leisure walks along the sandy beaches, letting the waves kiss our feet, and collecting seashells as our lovely souvenirs.
The 200-mile long seashore has numerous beaches for sun basking, the most common being the Northern shores of Duck and Corolla or the Southern shores of Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hill.
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The southern beaches are more touristy with most of the OBX attractions close by.
The Northern shore is a quaint little town with a beautiful neighborhood where one would want to stay and enjoy the 4*4 ride on the beach.
It has more vacation rentals while the hotels and resorts around southern beaches.
We were lucky to get the hotel room by the beach. It was great to wake up and see the sunrise and sea waves crashing from your window. Our kids just loved playing on the beach the whole day, splashing through the waves.
Jockeys Ridge State Park
Overlooking the sand dunes from the boardwalk
An Outer Banks vacation is mostly about nature and coastal experiences, but not all are water based!
We love visiting unique state parks, and Jockeys Ridge State Park is home to the tallest sand dune system in the eastern United States and is one of the most popular things to do in OBX.
The dunes here are constantly changing shape due to wind and reach up to 100 feet high from where you get spectacular views of the Carolina coastline on one side, and Roanoke Sound on the other.
Start at the visitor center and museumto learn about the ecology, then head out to explore the massive dune system by following the 360-foot boardwalk.
Popular activities here include hang gliding, sand-boarding and kite flying , nature trails, sunset viewing, and learning to hang-glide .
Ranger-led programs throughout the year are mostly free, but some require pre-registration.
And during the warmer months it is highly suggested to bring your own shoes, sun protection and plenty of water sand dunes get HOT.
There are no entrance fees to enjoy the park. But keep in mind, this is a day-use only park with no campgrounds!
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Go past the sand dunes to West Soundside Rd, it goes to a nice beach on the sound where you can walk in the water forever.
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Hang Gliding At Jockeys Ridge State Park
Its not all surf, sand, and scrumptious seafood in the OBX.
All good vacations need a dose of adventure. A chance to step out of your comfort zone and create a story to share forever.
Hang gliding in Jockey Ridge State Park is the story youve been looking for.
The tall dunes of Jockeys Ridge comprise the tallest natural dune system on the East Coast, ranging from 80 ft. to well over 100 ft. tall and provide the perfect platform for learning to hang glide.
They have plenty of height for beginners, and are soft for landing and offer beautiful views of Roanoke Sound and the Atlantic Ocean
Kitty Hawk Kites have been providing lessons at this site for over 25 years. Not only is this super fun and one of the best things to do in the Outer Banks with kids, but it will connect you to some of the history of the area as it was in these parts that the Wright Brothers took the first flight.
Ill admit, when we walked up to the top of the sand dune and looked down over the area wed be flying realizing I wasnt doing it as a tandem, my stomach started to churn. What was I thinking?
To showcase bravery to the two strong, independent women were raising, I took a deep breath and volunteered to go first, silently repeating the instructions in my mind we learned at the 30-minute school beforehand.
Move the bar 2 niches forward to go up, 2 inches back to go down. Hips to the side to turn. Flair arms and legs outstretched to land
Were walking, were running, were flying .