No doubt you’ve heard of the famous Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, NC. Founded in 1587, this ill-fated settlement was the first English colony in what is now the United States. From the outset, the intrepid settlers – numbering about 112 to 121 – faced daunting daily challenges: scarce food, wary natives, and a wild, untamed environment. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site preserves known portions of England’s first settlements.
Heading to the Outer Banks with children in tow? You’ll be glad to know that these beautiful barrier islands offer countless opportunities for family-focused fun. Here are a few suggestions.
It covers less than two square miles, with a population right around 1,500. Yet Manteo, North Carolina, is one of the liveliest spots in the entire Outer Banks.
Enjoy a Unique Natural Environment
Natural beauty is undoubtedly one of the biggest draws of the Outer Banks. If you’re a nature lover, rent a kayak and spend the day taking in quiet water trails that wind through the islands, along the shore, through maritime forests, salt marsh canals, and estuaries. Floating in the bay for sunset is an unforgettable experience, as is paddling through a sound as birds and river otters play around you. Of course, no Outer Banks tourism guide would be complete without a mention of the area’s pristine wildlife refuges. Visit Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve,
Currituck National Wildlife Refuge
Here are some of our favorite nature spots in the Outer Banks:
Hatteras Island Ocean Center, Hatteras
Located near Hatteras Village, the Hatteras Island Ocean Center is a good starting place for your Outer Banks vacation. With a fully interactive setup, the center features exhibits, programs, and special events to help visitors of all ages learn about the unique environments of the Outer Banks. Want to develop your turtle sense? Looking to see, touch and hear some of the Outer Banks’ most popular marine wildlife? This is the place!
Duck Soundside Boardwalk, Duck
The Duck Boardwalk will take you through almost half a mile of sea breezes and scenic views of stunning Currituck Sound. There are multiple entry and exit points so you can pop in and out of the Waterfront Shops and Town Park for snacks and shopping breaks. Plan to take this walk slowly and really soak up your surroundings. This is a wide, level boardwalk, so it’s also an ideal way for those with wheelchairs or mobility challenges to enjoy an easy but majestic nature walk.
Duck Town Park, Duck
If you’re headed for the Duck Boardwalk, don’t overlook the Duck Town Park. This 11-acre green space features winding trails that lead through Maritime Forest, expansive green spaces, a swamp, and past breathtaking views of Currituck Sound. If you’ve got your own kayak, paddleboard or canoe, you’ll find an easy launch at the boat pier. This is a perfect dog- and kid-friendly place to hike — there’s a picnic shelter, playground, and even a water fountain just for your furry friend.
Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Nags Head
It’s hard to decide whether to join the action or just sit and watch at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. This area sports the largest natural-living sand dune in the east, and due to the steady breezes, is a haven for hang gliders. There are miles of hiking trails, picnic tables and public restrooms, so bring your lunch and spend the day flying a kite or watching the daredevils soar.
Nature Conservancy at Nags Head Woods Preserve, Kill Devil Hills
A Girl Time Escape to the Outer Banks
Whether it’s you and your daughters, multiple generations, or multiple families sharing a vacation property for the week, the Outer Banks is the perfect spot for the girls to relax and create memories together. Here are a few ideas to help you plan your special “girls-only” time.=&0=&=&1=&