Denver Post Author Enjoys Vacation with Outer Banks Blue.

Denver Post Author Enjoys Vacation with Outer Banks Blue.

This week on Everything Outer Banks we want to share an article that appeared yesterday in the Denver Post newspaper that was written by Ricardo Baca.   Ricardo stayed with Outer Banks Blue in late April and he obviously had a great time on the Outer Banks.  We were excited to see how happy he was with his stay and wanted to share his experience with you.

Here’s a link to his story:


Finding heaven in the OBX, aka North Carolina’s Outer Banks

Posted: 05/17/2013 04:33:59 AM MDT
May 17, 2013 10:39 AM GMTUpdated: 05/17/2013 04:39:57 AM MDT

By Ricardo Baca
The Denver

Kayaking guide Bobby Koch navigates the waters of an inland maritime forest in the Outer Banks. (Photos by Ricardo Baca, The Denver Post)

The scallops at the Outer Banks Brewing Station are a delectable treat.

NAGS HEAD, North Carolina — Driving to the Outer Banks of North Carolina — east through the marshlands, over Alligator River, past the signs marking high red wolf and bear populations, bridge over bridge over bridge, past more churches and roadkill possums than you could ever count — feels like driving to the end of the world.
And yet when you land on the iconic series of barrier islands that stretch for 200 miles along the scraggy Atlantic coastline, just barely hanging on to the Southeastern coast of the United States, you’re hardly in apocalyptic territory.
The Outer Banks (or OBX, lovingly) is a charmingly scenic fairy tale of iconic lighthouses, expansive national seashores, historic grassy knolls, sturdy-if-knotty piers, beach-side oyster houses and enough wind and water to secure its place as an international adventure sports mecca.
The Outer Banks’ popularity, especially for those near the East Coast, is easily understood. For the more mature tourists, there’s plenty of history, wildlife, dining and open stretches of protected, sandy beach. The younger set has access to plenty of killer happy hours, big party houses (that include volleyball courts, hot tubs, horseshoes, et al.) and an aggressive variety of adventure sports that can’t be found anywhere else.
Do you want to take a beginner hang-gliding or kite-surfing lesson on the same day you visit some of the country’s best-maintained lighthouses, check out the inspiring Wright Brothers National Memorial and feast on local seafood? Amazingly, that’s quite possible in the Outer Banks.
The proper OBX vacation takes a little bit of planning, but we’ll walk you through it. Our four steps toward a fun- (and relaxation-) filled time in the Outer Banks:
STEP 1: Home away from home, and other such necessities
Planning: One-three months in advance

A field at the Wright Brothers National Memorial marks the exact locations and distances of the Wrights’ first four flights.

most trips, let’s start with the most basics of traveling to the Outer Banks. Start working on these specifics one-three months out for best airfares and lodging availability.
When to visit? The sunshine is most consistent from the beginning of May to the end of September; the air (mid-80s) and water (high-70s) are warmest in August. Winter has its own charms on the islands, but count on much of the Outer Banks to look and feel like a ghost town outside of high season.
Getting there? The quickest route to central Outer Banks comes by flying into Norfolk International Airport in Virginia, which is 90 miles (less than two hours) from Nags Head. If the fares are significantly better, opt for Raleigh Durham International Airport, 210 miles (about 3 1/2 hours) inland from Nags Head. The towns, beaches and sites on the Outer Banks are spread out, and you will want a rental car.
Hotel or house? In the 100 central miles of the Outer Banks, from Duck to Hatteras, there are more than 3,000 hotel/motel rooms and 9,000 rental homes, according to the local visitor’s bureau. That’s an astounding number of rental properties, especially for such thin strips of land. Depending on the season, you can usually find a motel room for less than $100 per night.
But most tourists rent homes here, for a week at a time. A modest four-bedroom, two-bath unit off the beach will cost a family $750-$1,250 per week. Considerably larger houses are better suited for reunions and big groups of friends. One opulent option, the Atlantis at South Beach, is a beachfront property with 10 bedrooms, seven baths, a private heated pool and two hot tubs for $1,999 per week. You can find that option, and hundreds of others, via the highly recommended rental company Outer Banks Blue (
STEP 2: Hang-gliding, kite-surfing, kayaking and beyond
Planning: One-two weeks in advance
This part of the world

Many adventure-sports aficionados opt for hang-gliding lessons in the Outer Banks. Seen here, a beginning hang-glider takes instruction from Kitty Hawk Kites instructors, who run along with her on the dunes of Jockey’s Ridge State Park.

practically demands to be seen via alternate perspectives. So give it a try, from the cockpit of a kayak or the saddle of a horse, the bird’s-eye view of a hang glider to the sea-level view of a kiteboard. And make these plans one-two weeks in advance, as some classes and tours fill up fast.
There are plenty of outfitters in the area, but both Kitty Hawk Kites (, 3925 S. Croatan Highway, Nags Head) and REAL Watersports (, 25706 Highway 12, Waves) have stellar reputations, experienced guides, multiple locations and discounts when booking online/multiple activities.
Organized by your adventure level:
Adventure level 5: Kiteboarding
This wild and wet sport doesn’t start out that way, as your first lesson is often land-only. But once you understand the basics, you’re in the water working with (and against) the wind. Expect to pay: $70-$100 per beginner lesson.
Adventure level 4: Hang-gliding
A beginner lesson in hang-gliding involves ground school, yes, but then you’re taken to a nearby sand dune where you have a number of in-air run-throughs. After you’re rigged in, you walk, jog, run — and then you’re airborne, with instructors running with you, holding tethers, advising your positioning and monitoring your landing. It’s a thrill, and there are more classes you can take on your way to certification. Expect to pay: $100 per beginner lesson.
Adventure level 3: Stand-up paddleboarding
This straightforwardly titled sport lacks the quick decisions of kiteboarding and the height of hang-gliding, but it presents its own challenges. Lessons in this sport go a long way, as it’s really everywhere — from rivers to gulfs, seas to oceans all over the world. Expect to pay: $60-$100 per beginner lesson.
Adventure level 2: Kayaking
The most popular kayaking tour in the Outer Banks doesn’t involve whitewater or intense ocean breaks. The flatwater of Ginguite Creek makes for a relaxing, scenic float that requires no previous experience with paddling. Expect to pay: $40 for a two-hour trip.
Adventure level 1: Horse-spotting by horseback or Jeep
One of the most popular activities in the Outer Banks is horseback riding, and taking the horses out for a morning trek on the beaches of Corolla in the north is the way to do it. If you’re lucky you might see the wild colonial Spanish mustangs that roam freely up there, though you’re more likely to see them via a Jeep tour, which is also popular. Expect to pay: $50-$200 for two-hour trips, depending on transport.
STEP 3: See the sights, from lighthouses to the memorials
Planning: One-two days in advance
Sightseeing in the Outer Banks is best for nature lovers, lighthouse aficionados and history geeks. But to keep things simple and navigable, we picked four of the area’s top attractions and clustered them by area. If you can give four hours to the northern cluster and another four hours to the southern cluster, you’ll be in good shape. (They can all be seen in one day, but keep in mind that most of these outings close at 5-6 p.m.)
Northern cluster: It’s only a 10-minute drive south from the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills to Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head, and both stops are worth your while.
The national memorial that gives North Carolina its license-plate motto, “First in flight,” is nestled against a gently sloping hill that, combined with the region’s ubiquitous coastal wind, helped make history here. Your first stop is the visitor center, an educational museum (and gift shop) that arms you with history and an idea of what the Wrights’ planes looked like.
The life-size replica is truly a sight, especially when it’s explained by historian Darrell Collins.
Follow the path from the center’s front door, and you’ll find the field where it all happened. Stone placeholders mark the lengths and locations of the Wrights’ first, second, third and fourth flights — and a towering monument at the top of the hill serves as an omnipresent reminder of their monumental discovery. 105 Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills
Jockey’s Ridge State Park is home to “the tallest natural sand dune system in the eastern U.S.” If you’re thinking about a smaller Great Sand Dunes National Monument, with views of the Atlantic, you’re close.
It’s fun to simply walk the dunes, of course, but if you’re more organized, preregister for the park’s excellent programs: Kids can learn about maps and compasses on Wednesday mornings as they hunt for Blackbeard’s treasure, or adults can learn about crabs and crabbing (yes, how to catch them) on Tuesday mornings. Jockey’s Ridge is also the home of Kitty Hawk Kites’ Hang Gliding School. Milepost 12 Highway 158, Nags Head
Southern cluster: We’ll call this the lighthouse group. The Outer Banks is home to several historic lighthouses, but the tallest and most impressive of the group is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and the newly open-to-the-public kid on the block is the Bodie Island Light Station.
The Bodie Island Light Station is only 20 minutes south of Jockey’s Ridge, and the horizontally striped lighthouse is a stunner. This is the third lighthouse built on this section of the island, opening in October of 1872, and it opened for public climbing for the first time this summer. 8210 Bodie Island Lighthouse Road, Nags Head
The tallest brick lighthouse in North America, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has been open for climbing since 1993. This is the iconic, diagonally striped lighthouse that is representative of the Outer Banks to many. It’s an hour south of the lighthouse at Bodie Island, but the drive, along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, is a a must-see itself. 46368 Lighthouse Road, Buxton
STEP 4: Feast on fish, shrimp, scallops and more
Planning: One-two hours in advance
One of the best aspects of any trip to the coast is eating your way through the local waters, and this ocean and its many bays, rivers and inlets are home to shrimp, tuna, crabs, scallops and more.
Can you trust your new buddy the oyster shucker when he tells you that his oysters were caught in Wanchese yesterday? Not always. But in many cases, you’re eating local North Carolina (or Virginia) seafood. And that’s the idea, right?
Five ideas for eating the best of the Outer Banks (for others, click the restaurant tab on the excellent
Hurricane Mo’s Beachside Bar: The locals couldn’t have been more unanimous when they all seemingly agreed that Mo’s is home to the region’s best happy hour. After a delightful (if messy) couple hours at a seaside table, we couldn’t help but agree. Opt for the 10-cent shrimp and 25-cent wings instead of the $1 tacos (all happy-hour specials) and you’ll be in good shape. 120 Kitty Hawk Road, Kitty Hawk
Fisherman’s Wharf: The Daniels family and their many employees catch much of the fish and seafood you’ll eat in North Carolina, and across the United States. Their fishing empire (including two boats in Argentina and offices in Paris) is one of the biggest on the east coast; Fisherman’s Wharf in blue-collar Wanchese is their charming, family-oriented restaurant. Do not miss their scallop chowder, which was the best thing we tasted over four days in the OBX. 4683 Mill Landing Road, Wanchese
Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar: This longtime favorite is best known as the region’s only enclosed second-floor patio overlooking the Atlantic, and the view is as integral as the oysters to the full experience of the eatery. Make sure your server brings enough Carolina-proud Texas Pete Hot Sauce to the table. 2106 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills
Outer Banks Brewing Station: Of course, the Outer Banks needed a brew-pub with a smart menu and the occasional live music night, and this spot is a favorite with tourists and locals alike. The scallops are considerably better than the pork barbecue sandwich. But let’s be honest, you’re really here for the beer, right? Most pints are $5, and you can take two-liter growlers home for $20. 600 S. Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills
Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar: One of the more popular fine-dining options along the main stretch also specializes in martinis, which can be a nice switch-up from those ice-cold Yuenglings you’ve been enjoying. These proprietors have been serving up their food and drink for nearly 20 years and, yes, they are doing something right. 4700 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk
Ricardo Baca: 303-954-1394 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 303-954-1394 end_of_the_skype_highlighting , or

The Bodie Island Light Station on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a towering sight in the Outer Banks. (Photos by Ricardo Baca, The Denver Post)




Denver Post Author Enjoys Vacation with Outer Banks Blue.

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