When you think about things for your kids to do on the Outer Banks, beach-related activities probably come to mind first. After all, it’s hard to ignore the vast ocean where you and your children can catch a wave, build a sandcastle, fly a kite and dig for crabs. What you may not realize is that the Outer Banks of NC offers some super-cool kids’ activities not found elsewhere.
See Wild Horses
There is no place else in the United States that you can view wild Spanish Mustangs in their natural habitat except Corolla, NC. Bring your camera, rent a Jeep and take off down the beach for an off-road wild horse adventure. These amazing creatures have roamed free in this area for half a century. Kids and teens who are animal lovers will be amazed at the beauty, power and grace these horses display.
Become a Junior Ranger
The Cape Hatteras National Seashore
offers a Junior Ranger program for kids ages 5-13. Running mid-June through Labor Day, the program gives kids the chance to learn about marine life through fun activities.
Visit The Pit
Teens want to be with others their own age and now they have three chances a week (during summer months) to do just that. The Pit hosts Teen Night
on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with the hottest music, a huge dance floor, dance contests, games and more. The best part (for parents) is the “friendly but firm” security that patrols the party, making sure everyone is safe. Teens and young adults ages 13-21 are welcome.
Hang at the Children @ Play Museum
From Science Thursdays with hands-on activities to the Teddy Bear Wellness Center where children get to play doctor, Children @ Play Museum has so much for kids to explore and learn. Your little ones get the thrill of discovering the first flight of the Wright Brothers, the joys of fishing and more that make for a fun afternoon while developing skill sets. They’ll want to return again and again.
Climb Historic Lighthouses
From Bodie Island to Cape Hatteras and more, let your young ones burn off some pent-up energy climbing the steps to the top of Outer Banks lighthouses. With 257 stairs, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse
gives a bird’s eye view of the water and also houses a gift shop, picnic area and nature trail. The Bodie Island lighthouse
has 214 steps and is surrounded by a mixture of marshlands, maritime forest and saltwater ponds: a great recipe for attracting birds and other wildlife. Be sure to bring your camera!
Become a Pirate
At Pirate Adventures of the OBX
, your kids can come aboard and experience a bit of the pirate life. They’ll learn the rules of the sea as they go in search of Pirate Pete and the map they need to find the sunken treasure. It’s an experience designed to educate, expand their imaginations and enlighten their minds.
Hang Out with Dolphins
You won’t find dolphins in every ocean in the world. They are partial to the Atlantic Ocean for its temperature and food sources. While you can often see dolphins swimming by from the shore, there are ways you can get closer to these extremely smart and friendly creatures. Booking a dolphin tour is educational and fun and isn’t as expensive as you might think. Join the Nags Head Dolphin Watch
and follow dolphins that have been observed for years, discover their behavioral patterns and see firsthand just how brilliant they are!
Explore Teach’s Hole Blackbeard Exhibit
This specialty shop and exhibit
documents the life and times of Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard the Pirate). Although short, his life was eventful and filled with intrigue and mischief. Learn what pirate life was really like, the items Blackbeard stole during his reign, women pirates of the time and much more.
Discover the Outer Banks’ Center for Wildlife Education
Welcome to all things wild! Games and activities centered around the Outer Banks wildlife, kayaking, crabbing, exploration, story time and much more are available on different days of the week for kids. Check for activities based on age ranges from 2-4, 4-7, 7-13 and 14+, and many are free or have a low cost. While you’re there, visit the N.C. Wild Store and pick up some truly unique souvenirs.
While you’re visiting the Outer Banks, you absolutely want to leave time for the beach. Splashing in the waves and playing in the sand are an exciting part of your vacation. But don’t neglect these unique kids’ activities found only in the Outer Banks. You’ll be glad you did!