5 Kid-Friendly Things to Do in the Outer Banks

Island Farms
The Outer Banks are a family-friendly vacation spot with something fun for all ages. From history to farm animals, water parks to sand-sculpting contests, your crowd will never forget a vacation in the Outer Banks.

The Island Farm

Located on Roanoke Island, The Island Farm is a living-history museum that takes visitors back to 1847. A farmhouse built by Adam Etheridge in 1757 anchors the museum, and it’s fun to see youngsters’ eyes get wide when they hear that the house is over 261 years old.

Outside on the grounds you’ll find an outhouse, smokehouse, woodshed, dairy, animal barns, chicken coops, a slave cabin, and a corncrib. You’ll even get to walk through the family graveyard.

Adults and young people love interacting with the free-roaming chickens, sheep, cow, Banker ponies, and the farm’s stately ox. Costumed interpreters are also out and about to help put history in context for everyone.

Introduce yourself to a real blacksmith, farmer, or cook, and then look on as you discover how laundry used to be done without any electricity or washing machine. Kids can ask questions while the interpreters work, and maybe also lend a hand.

Far more than just a fun outing, the Island Farm shows young people what life was like before modern technologies such as motorized vehicles, appliances, phones, and computers. (Imagining those days can be fun for adults, too.)

Check the schedule of hands-on activities including woodworking, 19th-century games, farming, and ox-drawn wagon rides.

H2OBX Waterpark

This innovative park is located in Powells Point, just three miles from the Wright Memorial Bridge. Designed to embrace the culture of the Outer Banks, the grounds are full of pirate, boat, and airplane references and motifs. The park caters to all ages with thrill rides for adults and older kids, and toddler-friendly play structures, soft obstacles, and swim zones.

Fifty private cabanas offer shade, complimentary bottled water, fruit, brownies, and Rice Crispies treats. Depending on size, cabanas accommodate 8 to 12 people; the whole family can take a nap after a day of play.

The park is handicap accessible and is open from the end of May through the first weekend in September.

Don’t forget that when you stay with Outer Banks Blue you can get discounted tickets to the waterpark!

Junior Ranger Program at the Wright Brothers National Memorial

Becoming a Junior Ranger is a tradition and a point of pride for kids visiting the Outer Banks. In fact, children love the program so much that the park now swears in over 6,000 Junior Rangers every year. Open to children ages 5 to 13, the Junior Ranger program helps young people learn about the National Parks and how they can help protect them. To get their badge, candidates must attend two Ranger programs (different programs take place each day), and complete the booklet for their age group.

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Improve Your Outer Banks Vacation by Researching Activities Before You Go

The Outer Banks has so much to do and see … performing a bit of research before you arrive can make this the best vacation yet!

Even if you just show up with your flip-flops and plop down in the sand, you’ll have a great vacation in the Outer Banks. However, a little research can go a long way toward an even better vacation.

There’s plenty of information available online about vacationing in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Start your planning by finding out what kinds of things there are to do in the area where you’ll be staying. Activities in the Outer Banks range from relaxing on the beach to taking an exhilarating kiteboarding lesson or helicopter tour. A quick Internet search will help you make a preliminary list of things that might be interesting for your family or group.

Grown-Up Stuff

Before you decide on any activity, poll everyone who will be on the trip with you. For adults, find out what they’re looking forward to most. For example, foodies and seafood lovers may be excited about finding the best fish tacos in the Outer Banks, while adventure seekers might be looking forward to trying their skills at ocean sports. Many adults hope to escape to some much-needed peace and quiet, so remember to plan for some do-nothing time.

Kid-Friendly Activities

Kids and teenagers may need some help discovering what would be most fun for them in the Outer Banks. Explore age-appropriate activities for each child, then designate time for them to have time to enjoy their choice. If building an elaborate sandcastle is your child’s top pick, schedule a morning or afternoon for the activity and get the whole family in on it.

Teenagers usually enjoy a little excitement and some time on their own. Browsing the surf shops or taking a surfing lesson may be their idea of fun. For kids and adults both, knowing everyone’s expectations upfront can help each person in your group have their version of a perfect vacation.

Allotting the Right Amount of Time and Money

Once you know what everyone wants to do, it’s easier to make a schedule and a budget. Some activities — like shell hunting — don’t require a schedule. However, activities such as lessons or tours may require reservations in advance. While nobody wants too much of a schedule on vacation, planning ahead can help your family or group make the best use of time. If you’re sharing a car with other adults, a loose schedule can ensure that it’s available for activities that require a drive.

Advanced planning not only ensures that you get to do the things you want to do, but it’s also a great way to save money. For example, enrolling in a Surf Camp that features three days of two-hour lessons gives would-be surfers a deep discount and an unforgettable immersion experience. Enrolling the whole family in surf lessons can also earn you a discount of nearly half the cost of private lessons.

Restaurants: Reservations or Not?

Food lovers or those looking for a romantic night out in the ideal restaurant will also want to research their options and make reservations. While most restaurants in the Outer Banks are casual and don’t require reservations, there are several worth visiting that do. Making a reservation is also a great idea if you have a large party or are celebrating a special occasion.

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Strawberry Season!

It is mid-May which means only one thing for a lot of folks – Strawberry Picking time!The endless winter of 2014 made for a slow start to the season, but things are in full swing now as all of the local spots are open and the fields are full of folks getting their fill of the tasty fruit.

Strawberries anyone?

There must be something about the sandy soil around here that makes for perfect growing conditions because we think the berrys around here are the best!There is a pick your own Strawberry patch just over the Currituck bridge in Point Harbor.  You can bring your own container or they have buckets available for you there.   You should bring something to put the berrys in after you pick them, and be aware that this is a cash only business.  They sell the berrys by the pound.  On Saturday the fields were full of families as well as fruit.  What a gorgeous day!The best thing about picking berries is that it is such a great family activity.   Here’s one of the author’s 10 year old twin daughters holding up a perfect berry.   Sadly, this berry didn’t make it to the bucket.  She ate it!All the best from the beach!By Tim Cafferty, President, Outer Banks Blue Realty Services

Top 5 Kid-Friendly Features to Look for When Booking a Vacation Rental

When you’re traveling with kids of any age, you know it’s critical to pack everything possible to make their experience a real treat. However, even though you’ll drive to the Outer Banks, it may not be feasible to bring all they want to your vacation destination.

When booking your family-friendly vacation rental, make a point to look for these five amenities. They go a long way to ensuring your little kids, tweens and even teens have a memorable time.

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Sleeping in a new environment is a fun experience for kids of all ages – if there is age-appropriate bedding, that is. Look for kid-friendly options including bunk beds, dorm-style rooms, single beds and other choices that will allow your children to have a blast and sleep soundly.

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Vacations are about having fun, so search for properties that offer games. Whether good, old-fashioned game tables (such as air hockey or foosball) or video game consoles such as Wii or Xbox, the entire family can play together.

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It’s impossible to control the weather during every vacation. Planning for days with poor conditions is a must when you have kids. Rentals that provide DVD players are a lifesaver in these instances. A quick trip to the local rental machine or store can turn the tone from tearful to joyful.

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The extra room that bedding, chairs and other essentials take up in your vehicle can be a strain. Look for vacation rentals that provide porta-cribs, highchairs, pack-and-plays, etc. to ensure your baby has everything s/he needs.

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Whether you’re reserving a beachfront cottage or a luxurious golf-course manor, a private pool is a must. Smaller kids can quickly tire of the wind, noise and confusion on the beach. Having a quiet pool all your own to relax or play in is the perfect alternative.

When you search the Outer Banks Blue site, be sure to check the box for “baby equipment.” You’ll be shown vacation rentals offering necessities that will make your child’s stay (and yours!) more enjoyable.