Ultimate Adventure Guide (2024)

For the Adrenaline Seeker

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We are widely regarded as having the best surf breaks on the entire East Coast. And that’s on a bad day. On a good day, if the forces of nature decide they feel like jamming together, Cape Hatteras could rock and roll for days with the endless raw energy of a teenage garage band.

Hang Gliding

Did you know you can learn to hang glide at the world’s largest hang gliding school in the Outer Banks? Kitty Hawk Kites offers lessons for beginners and provide all the hang gliding equipment you’ll need.


This is a sport fisherman’s paradise, a four-season destination. Find charter boats, fishing piers, license info and other angling opportunities that make our waters some of the best in the world.

Aerial Tour

Make like Orville and Wilbur Wright by taking flight over the barrier islands. Get a bird's eye view of the famous Oregon Inlet or look for shipwrecks in the Graveyard of the Atlantic waters below.

For the Outdoor Aficionado

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There’s just as much sound, bay and estuary water as there is ocean beach on the OBX, making for a maze of salt marsh and open shallows that beckon paddlers. Hop on a guided tour, peruse specialty shops and outfitters, and pick the perfect launch site at public water accesses for kayaks, boat, & canoes on both sides of these barrier islands.

Appropriate for any level rider, the OBX hosts bridges, wide flat shoulders, and rolling paved paths. Most of the tracks are level, making an ideal leisure stroll for families or long stretches for serious cyclists trying to test their bike’s speed. Take the avenue less traveled and explore beaches and maritime forests on foot also. Did you know we have three Coastal Maritime forests in Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and Buxton? Put on some hiking shoes and check them out!


Sleeping under the stars has never been better. Dare County has three NPS campgrounds and handfuls of private choices too. OBX is a compelling destination for camping families looking for a cost-effective experience in a vibrant and family-friendly atmosphere. Reconnect with you and yours near the calm waters of the sound or underneath blankets of live oak trees.. Many of our sites are only a few sandy steps away from the ocean, nestled near rolling dunes.

Things To Do With the Family

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  • Lighthouses
  • The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island
  • Island Farm
  • The Lost Colony
  • Jockey's Ridge State Park
  • Wright Brothers National Memorial
  • The Elizabethan Gardens
  • Birdwatching
  • Stargazing

Animal Lover's Paradise

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Protected Wildlife Species

We receive many unique and rare wildlife visitors during every season. Birds flock to our shores during migration and mating seals rest along the shoreline during their journey South. Sea turtles nest and their young hatch during the night hours. It is important to observe all of our wildlife from a distance without feeding, approaching, or exposing them to other dangers. Learn more about ways you can help do your part and keep this place special at outerbanks.org/ResponsibleTravel.

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

The refuge includes more than 154,000 wildlife acres of wetland habitats and a wide variety of wildlife, ranging from wood ducks and alligators to black bears and red wolves. Plant species, including Atlantic white cedar, bald cypress, wildflowers and shrubs, are abundant. Visitors will find hiking and wildlife trails, observation platforms, fishing areas and kayaking and canoeing routes.

Horseback Riding in Cape HatterasNational Seashore

Horseback rides along the south end of Hatteras Island are a unique way to explore the habitat of the Carolina coast with Equine Adventures. Enjoy a trail ride through the maritime forests of Frisco with some of their experienced guides, take in the sites of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in the distance and leisurely stroll along the water’s edge. Kick it up a notch and feel the wind in your hair with an exhilarating canter down the beach.

Nags Head Dolphin Watch takes visitors on an eco-tour in search of wild Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Passengers are able to see how biologists and researchers with the Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research, a nonprofit organization, conduct their research and hear about some of the discoveries from more than a decade of studies & monitoring. These excursions will allow you to closely and safely connect with these incredible animals in the wild.

Let’s get you there. For decades, people have called the Outer Banks their happy place. To others, the islands are the center of their joy. It’s been said if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. We’d add that if you nurture that place where your heart finds its bliss, your soul will never grow old. Life on the edge of the continent isn’t easy nor for the faint of heart, but for the spiritually fortunate who’ve discovered their passions on the OBX, working hard to live life to the fullest is the easiest choice to make.

Ultimate Adventure Guide (2024)
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