Posted by Outer Banks Blue

A Perfect Day in Kill Devil Hills, NC

Wright Flyer in Kill Devil Hills

Quick. Where did the Wright brothers launch the first powered flight of a heavier-than-air vehicle?

Most people assume the brothers' legendary biplane took off from Kitty Hawk. But the actual site was Kill Devil Hills, bordering Kitty Hawk to the south. No wonder the Wright Brothers National Memorial is situated here in the very heart of this historic Outer Banks town!

But the Memorial isn't the only attraction in beautiful Kill Devil Hills. Spend a day here during the season to experience all the family fun this beach paradise has to offer.

Start with a Scrumptious Breakfast

That bracing sea air can give you a keen appetite. Fortunately, Kill Devil Hills is known for affordable restaurants that focus on flavorful breakfasts. Fuel up at a popular local eatery such as:

  • Bob's Grill, 1219 South Croatan Highway: Home of plate-sized pancakes and gigantic omelets, this brunch-&-breakfast bistro is a favorite with Outer Banks natives. Chow down on hearty Southern fare like fluffy biscuits 'n gravy, fresh eggs with savory sides, and cheesy shrimp & grits with spicy andouille sausage.
  • Henry's Restaurant, 3396 South Croatan Highway: Want a taste of the sea or sound with your luscious breakfast or brunch? Order Henry's farm-fresh eggs - scrambled or fried to order - with tender trout or catfish filet plus all the classic fixins. Or, if you prefer, build your own loaded omelet. Yum!
  • Stack 'Em High Pancakes and So Forth, 1225 South Croatan Highway: Famous for pancakes, waffles, and biscuits, this family-owned eatery serves up satisfying breakfasts every day except Wednesday. Following a special diet? No problem. Vegan and gluten-free options are available, too. 

Then Head to the Wright Brothers Memorial (1000 North Croatan Highway)

This indoor/outdoor museum is open all year 'round, every day except Christmas. What's more, it's located right at the site where Wilbur and Orville Wright took their historic first flights. Spend an hour or two discovering:

  • The Visitors Center, where you and your family can view colorful exhibits, watch fascinating videos, and explore a full-size replica of the legendary Wright Flyer, the iconic airplane Orville Wright flew on December 17, 1903.
  • The reconstructed hangar where the Wright brothers housed their plane. Back then, the Outer Banks were relatively unpopulated, so the brothers had to rough it, sleeping in hammocks and subsisting on canned foods. Peek inside the reconstructed workshop and living quarters for an intriguing look at the brothers' hardscrabble lifestyle.
  • The First Flight markers, numbered outdoor stones showing where each of the initial four flights landed. A special granite boulder marks the spot where the Wright Flyer rose off the ground for its first successful flight.
  • The Commemorative Sculpture just south of Big Kill Devil Hill - a cluster of life-size bronze and steel statues representing the historical figures who witnessed the famous First Flight.
  • The Wright Brothers Monument, towering 60 feet high atop the wind-swept dune where the Wright brothers launched their early glider flights. Climb more than 70 stone and iron stairs to the top of this impressive monument for a sweeping, stunning view of the surrounding scenery - the very same view the brothers enjoyed as they glided over the dunes.

Take a Break for Lunch

Tuckered out after climbing all those steps? Grab some tasty takeout from the Country Deli (1900 South Croatan Highway) or Kill Devil Grill (2008 South Virginia Dare Trail). Then picnic at a picturesque spot such as Aviation Park (103 Veterans Drive), Meekins Field (1634 North Croatan Highway), or Hayman Park (West Hayman Boulevard).

Next, Explore the Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve, 701 West Ocean Acres Drive

Don't let the "Nags Head" name confuse you. This 1,400-acre retreat is actually located in Kill Devil Hills. Open daily dawn to dusk, it offers a network of nature trails amid towering maritime forest, marshes, ponds, and wetlands. Depending on the time of year, you'll catch glimpses of native wildlife and exotic migratory birds. You'll wander beneath high ridges where hundred-year-old oaks and hickories form a protective canopy. And you'll spot countless plants and shrubs: In all, over 150 native plant species thrive in these lush, sheltered woods.

Trails range from short and easy to fairly steep and strenuous. Choose from Center Trail, ideal for small children; Sweet Gum Swamp Trail, for adventurous hikers; ADA Trail, paved and wheelchair-accessible; Discovery Trail, perfect for the entire family; and others.

If you hike to the end of Roanoke Trail, you'll reach a quiet beach bordering Roanoke Sound. It's a lovely spot for a relaxing rest or a refreshing wade in the water.

Stroll Along the Ocean Shore

By this point, it will be late afternoon, and your energy may be flagging. But the kids will probably be clamoring for more, so why not spend a pleasant hour or so exploring the oceanfront? Kill Devil Hills provides over 25 public-access paths to the beach, including pedestrian trails. So, go ahead. Take a leisurely walk over the soft white sand. Or just sit on a bench or blanket while your kids frolic in the waves.

Relax and Rewind Over Dinner

As the sun sets over Roanoke Sound, head to one of Kill Devil Hills' finer dining establishments - such as Captain George's (705 South Croatan Highway), known for its succulent seafood; or JK's Restaurant (1106 South Croatan Highway), specializing in "surf and turf."

Or simply grab some delectable takeout to bring back to your Kill Devil Hills vacation rental.

Either way, it's the perfect ending to a perfect Outer Banks day.

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