Are you vacationing with a large group? Perhaps you’re booking an Outer Banks getaway for a wedding party, family reunion, church group, corporate retreat, or multi-family gathering?
No matter what your party’s purpose, you’ll find lots to see and do in the NC Outer Banks, including fun-filled activities ideal for larger groups. Here are just a few options.
Charter a Dolphin-Watching Tour
One of the best-loved mammals of all time, dolphins make their homes in the Outer Banks. Throughout the warmer months, bottlenose dolphins throng these balmy waters. And, fortunately, several local companies offer dolphin-watch boating excursions that accommodate sizable groups.
For starters, try Captain Johnny’s Dolphin Tours. Headquartered in Manteo, NC, this well-known OBX business provides guaranteed dolphin sightings aboard a comfortable, covered pontoon boat – 55 feet long, 14 feet wide, and Coast Guard-certified for safety.
During the season, Captain Johnny’s popular cruises depart daily, Monday through Friday, at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6 p.m. (for the sunset tour). If you prefer, you can charter the entire boat for a private, customized tour, with seating for up to 49 people. All ages are welcome, from infants to seniors. Soft drinks, snacks, and candy are available for sale. And yes, there’s a well-maintained restroom right onboard.
Each tour takes about two hours. As you cruise, your expert captain – a 9th-generation Outer Banks resident – will regale you with fascinating lore about bottlenose dolphins. Meanwhile, you’ll get to watch those sleek silver creatures as they leap, splash, and play in serene protected waters. It’s an unforgettable experience.
Want a more in-depth scientific look at the bottlenose dolphin? Join biologists from the non-profit Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research for an eco-tour aboard the Miss Bodie Island (departing from Manteo) or the 40-foot-long Phoenix (launching from Nags Head Causeway).
Each pontoon boat can carry up to 30-36 people across the tranquil waters of Roanoke Sound. While you glide along, you’ll spot dolphins frisking and frolicking right alongside the vessel. And you’ll hear about the ongoing dolphin studies conducted by the Center’s researchers. It’s a wonderful way to learn more about these marvelous mammals… from actual scientists engaged in cutting-edge research.
Explore the Mystery of “The Lost Colony” (with Special Discounts for Larger Parties)
In 1585, the first English settlers arrived at Roanoke Island. By 1590, they had completely disappeared, leaving no trace of their settlement and no clue to their fate – except the word “CROATOAN” carved into a tree.
What happened to these early settlers? No one knows for sure. But their story lives on in The Lost Colony, the nation’s longest-running outdoor drama, featuring over 130 actors, musicians, designers, technicians, and volunteers.
Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green, this Tony Honor-awarded play has thrilled millions of viewers since its premiere in 1937. Today it’s a massive production, combining drama, music, and dance on an outdoor stage three times as large as most Broadway theater stages.
But the action’s not confined to the stage. As you relax in your plush outdoor seat, you’ll be surrounded by colorful characters – intrepid British colonists, daring Elizabethan explorers, valiant Native American warriors – all in authentic period costume. You’ll witness the pageantry of Queen Elizabeth I’s court… the moving story of Virginia Dare, the first English baby born in America… the humor, joy, and heartbreak of life in the New World wilderness… and much more.
It all unfolds at the ocean-view Waterside Theatre on Roanoke Island, the very site of the original Lost Colony. Best of all, groups of 15 or more are eligible for ticket discounts… while groups of 50 or more also qualify for priority seating, backstage tours, and Character Dinners with the actors.
See the Legendary Wild Horses of the Outer Banks
Have you heard about the Bankers – those beautiful feral horses believed to be descended from Spanish mustangs brought to the Outer Banks in the 16th century?
Today about 400 of these friendly beasts roam free in specially sheltered areas on several OBX islands, including Corolla, Currituck Banks, Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, and Ocracoke.
What’s more, you can easily book a group tour to see these magnificent ponies. At Corolla’s Wild Horse Adventure Tours, for example, groups of up to 13 people can ride in a customized open-air Hummer across the Outer Banks Wild Horse Sanctuary, through gorgeous maritime forests, and along nearly 20 miles of pristine beachfront. Along the way, highly trained guides will tell you all about local ecology, beach lore, and natural history… as you enjoy a unique opportunity to spot the Banker ponies in their unspoiled natural habitat.
Feel free to bring snacks and drinks – and your camera! – for the two-hour tour. And, if your group is larger than 13, no problem. Simply contact Wild Horse Adventure Tours to make special arrangements.
So Much to Do, So Little Time
You’ll find countless additional ways to experience the Outer Banks with your larger group – from chartering a head-boat for inshore fishing to visiting the Roanoke Island Festival Park for a hands-on history lesson. Not to mention hiking through protected wildlife preserves, kayaking over the sounds, kiteboarding, surfing, sunset cruising … you’ll never run out of ideas!