The Outer Banks is famous for blue skies and bright golden sun. Yet, every once in a while, storm clouds do gather, and rain comes pouring down. When that happens, don’t worry. You and your family can still have a blast with kid-pleasing indoor activities. In fact, the occasional rainy day gives you a great chance to see the OBX from a fresh new angle. Check out rainy day options like these, all child-safe and family-approved.
Updated for 2021. It is not always sunshine and rainbows here at the Outer Banks, like everywhere else, we experience rain from time to time, now while we hope it does not happen when you’re on vacation here are 13 things you can do to pass the time or embrace the rain on those OBX days even when it rains.
Alligators. Stingrays. Sea turtles. River otters. All kinds of fish, from highly prized gamefish to rare exotic species. Plus the largest collection of sharks in the entire state.
If you’ve ever seen loggerhead sea turtles, you know just how amazing they are. Endearingly shy and gentle, these graceful aquatic creatures have beautiful heart-shaped shells covered with gorgeous markings. No wonder they’re among the most recognized – and best loved – turtles on earth.
When you think of vacationing in the Outer Banks the first thing that comes to mind is probably beach related activities. What you may not realize is the Outer Banks is consistently ranked one of the best family destinations and offers some super-cool kid activities not found elsewhere.
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
This is a fun activity for all ages. When I was a young child we would go crabbing in the sound all the time. There are a few things you will need for this activity. First you will need a bucket, a net, some raw chicken, and some string (strong enough to hold the chicken.) Once you have this you will want to cut the chicken into chunks and tie the string around it. After that you are ready to go. Once you get to the sound dump your chicken into the water while holding onto the string. Soon enough you will have a crab gran onto the chicken. Scoop the crab out of the water with the net and place it in the bucket with water. Once you have had all the fun you can handle you can release the crabs you have caught. You are able to keep them as long as they meet requirements. I would check with a local bait and tackle shop to see what the requirements are as they may change.
Visit a Lighthouse
Making a trip to the lighthouse can be both fun and educational. There are three different lighthouses to choose from here in the Outer banks. First you have the Currituck Lighthouse in Corolla, then you have Bodie Island located in South Nags Head, and last you have Cape Hatteras which is located in Buxton. The kids will enjoy climbing to the top and seeing the view.
Visit the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
This would be a fun rain day activity. Many places you visit will have an aquarium close by but the kids always seem to enjoy going. At the aquarium kids will be able to see alligators, otters, and the largest collection of sharks in the state. They will love the touching tank full of stingrays and the hand on sea turtle rescue exhibit. If you go when it is not raining make sure to check out the nature trail and the sound side pier.
The Island Farm in Manteo
After visiting the Aquarium make sure to stop by The Island Farm for a fun and educational experience for the whole family. Here you will be able to experience island life as it was more than 150 years ago. Children will get the chance to dress up, play with toys and games from the 19th century, and play and feed the farm animals. Be sure to check their event page online before going. They offer special programs such as ox-drawn wagons rides and wash day on the farm only certain days of the week.
Visit Jockey’s Ridge
What could be more fun than climbing a large sand dune?! Nothing! That is why visiting Jockey’s Ridge is on our list! Kids will love running up the large sand dunes and then rolling down. Be careful though! In the summer the sand can get hot.
Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial
Special thanks to Rachel Moore or Silver Spring, Maryland who provides us this week’s Memory Monday photo submission! Rachel and her family stayed with Outer Banks Blue in Nags Head in the Vacation Rental property “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem,” and sends us this adorable picture from one of her crew visiting the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island and having an up close experience with one of the fish there.
Thanks Rachel for sharing your photo memories. We look forward to serving you and your family again soon.
All the best from the beach!
By Tim Cafferty, President, Outer Banks Blue Realty Services
- the meeting of the Gulf Stream, coastal waters and Labrador Current
- occasional seasonal stormy conditions
- a narrow continental shelf that boosts great surfing waves
- a low-lying topography that’s exposed to the elements
These are a recipe for surf-worthy waves. In addition to these ideal characteristics, here are some of the perks of surfing the Outer Banks.
The Outer Banks: World-Class Surfing with a Small-Town Feel