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?
This picture comes to us from Hope Hurton of Ohio shared two pictures with us that she took on her vacation here on the OBX just two weeks ago.
One of them was taken early in the morning as she and a friend were walking on the beach and as they watched the sun rise over the ocean they found a pod of dolphins enjoying an early morning stroll as well.
These mammals are not only fun to look at as they rise to the surface every few seconds, but around here we consider them a sign of good luck. They are known as protectors as well. Protectors because it is generally believed that dolphins actually chase away small sharks whenever they are present. The good luck symbolism goes back to the days of ancient greeks, who considered Dolphins good luck because when they were off sailing to far off lands whenever they would see these characters the sailors knew land was not far away and they were in luck. True story!
Hope said the scene was breathtaking.
Hope also shared with us another photo that is Memory Monday worthy today and we share that with you here. Two of her children also frolicking in the same surf where the other picture was taken. It is clear this sibling duo was having a great morning and enjoying themselves immensely. As Hope so appropriately put it in the note she sent with the photo “My heart swells with love.”
We thank Hope again for staying with Outer Banks Blue, and for sharing her photo memories of her trip. It was our pleasure serving her family and we look forward to serving them again soon.
All the best from the beach!
There’s something about a historic lighthouse that can transport you back in time in an instant. Two different kinds of historic lighthouses occur throughout the barrier islands, and maritime aficionados will enjoy visiting both of them.
The Outer Banks has three tall or “coastal” lighthouses that were built to warn passing ships about dangerous offshore shoals: Bodie Island lighthouse (built in 1872), Cape Hatteras lighthouse (built in 1869), and Currituck Beach lighthouse (built in 1875).
The two “harbor lights” lighthouses were built to help ships pass through to safe anchorage: Bald Head Island lighthouse, or “Old Baldy,” was built in 1797 and Ocracoke lighthouse was built in 1823. As you tour these lighthouses and take in the unique and rugged geography around them, you’ll get a real appreciation for why lighthouses are such a beloved part of North Carolina’s history.
Kayaking is a truly special way to experience the Outer Banks. Miles and miles of calm waters and pristine beaches invite you to explore. Guided kayak tours are available throughout the islands, and tour exertion levels can scale up or down to fit almost anyone’s ability. Before you begin your kayak tour, an experienced guide will show you how to safely and easily navigate your kayak, and will give you an overview of what you can expect to see.
Popular kayak tours include gliding past downtown Manteo and Ocracoke Village, birding and nature tours through quiet canals, taking in spectacular sunsets, and dolphin spotting. Kayak tour companies are spread throughout the Outer Banks, and the largest is Kitty Hawk Kites. Kitty Hawk Kites has a variety of popular tours, so it’s a good idea to call in advance to reserve your spot for their nature, sunset, or overnight pack trips.
One of the biggest draws to the Outer Banks is offshore fishing for large fish such as tuna, swordfish, and mahi-mahi. Charters accommodate groups of up to six people, so splitting expenses with two other couples or another family is a nice way to make this a cost-effective activity. Your charter captain will take you out to the Gulf Stream at dawn, an exhilarating experience in itself, and set you up with everything you need to land a good fish story — and a delicious dinner. Bring plenty of food, drinks, sunscreen, and motion sickness remedies. White, long-sleeved shirts, polarized sunglasses, and sun hats are also a good idea.
Standup paddleboarding is a relaxing way to experience the Outer Banks from the water. Paddleboarding is easy to learn and can be adapted for almost any fitness level. As one of the largest watersports outfitters, Kitty Hawk Kites rents paddleboards, provides lessons, and offers paddleboard tours of Kitty Hawk, Duck, and Manteo. You’ll receive about 15 minutes of simple instruction heading out behind your tour guide through the peaceful Sound waters. Paddleboarders frequently have close-up dolphin encounters, so just relax, paddle slowly, and enjoy the views.
Speaking of dolphins, Outer Banks dolphins have a reputation for being just as excited to see people as people are to see them. A daytime or sunset dolphin cruise is the best way to spot friendly Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins as well as seabirds, turtles, and other wildlife. Paradise Dolphin Cruises is a popular dolphin-spotting choice for Outer Banks visitors. Their large catamarans are comfortable, shaded, and handicapped accessible, and their captains have a solid reputation for finding as many dolphins as you care to see.
With the top down, the sun on your face and the wind in your hair — is there a better way to experience Nature’s beauty than from a classic safari Jeep? Jeep tours in the Outer Banks allow you to cover plenty of ground while keeping you connected with the sights and sounds of these special surroundings. Corolla Jeep Adventures offer several ways to experience the Outer Banks from a safari Jeep. You can even reserve a Jeep for a 25-mile off-road self-guided tour where you’ll see wild horses, historic villages, lighthouses, and much more.
Touring the Outer Banks by land or sea is the perfect way to get to know North Carolina’s barrier islands. Whether you take a leisurely self-guided tour or follow an experienced guide along local roads, trails, or canals, a tour of the Outer Banks will be an enriching experience you’ll never forget.
First Time in the Outer Banks? Here Are the Top 10 Things You Must Do
If you are planning your first trip to the Outer Banks, you undoubtedly plan to spend some time on the beach soaking up the sun and enjoying the waves. But the Outer Banks has many other attractions and points of interest you will not want to miss, including fascinating historical sites, diverse wildlife, and delicious local cuisine. As you plan your trip, be sure to make room on your itinerary for these top 10 most popular attractions that hard-core OBXers recommend.=&0=&=&1=&
Marine Wildlife Encounters On The Outer Banks
The Outer Banks of North Carolina are home to a staggering number of wildlife species, from ducks, pelicans and cranes to the famous wild horses of Corolla. Just as numerous as the shore-dwelling creatures and waterfowl are the numerous marine wildlife species that you may encounter during your stay. As you prepare to hit the beach, keep your eyes open for some of these animals that may be sharing the water with you.
=&0=&Friendly, frolicking dolphins will easily win your heart with their antics. If you look closely, you may see a group of them in the waters near the beach. Watch for their curved fins and distinctive tails as they surface. For a better chance of spotting dolphins, a dolphin cruise will take you to places where dolphin groups have been spotted recently. Be sure to bring your camera and some binoculars, although sometimes the dolphins enjoy following in the wake of the boat, giving you the opportunity to get a close-up look.
These gentle giants can live 80 years or more and spend their entire lives in the ocean. Females return to shore only for nesting, when they dig a hole in the beach to bury their eggs. The babies hatch 6 to 10 weeks later and immediately make a beeline for the water. As you walk along the beaches of the Outer Banks, you may come across some of these nests, which look like mounds of sand. Wildlife preservationists often mark these nests with small flags. If you are lucky enough to see the hatchlings emerging from their nest, be sure to leave them alone — do not try to help them dig out or find their way to the ocean. Sea turtles are protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act and it is against the law to touch them or disturb their nests. However, you can enjoy observing them from a distance as they make their way back to their ocean home. Don’t forget to snap a few pictures for your memory book!
While the Outer Banks do not have the coral reefs and accompanying fish that other beaches are known for, it has an underwater beauty all its own. The waters of the North Carolina coastline are home to trout, bass, mullet, mackerel, flounder, croaker, pompano, bluefish, grouper, snapper, and many more. Fishing aficionados will enjoy casting their lines from the shore or from a boat in deeper waters. If you want to view the fish rather than catch them, try snorkeling around one of the numerous shipwreck sites under the waves. Depending on the time of year and the water temperature, you may see tiger sharks, damselfish, angelfish, wrasses, lionfish, and other tropical fish that migrate north in warm weather.
A Coastal Recreational Fishing License is required to fish on the Outer Banks, though kids under 16 are exempt. You don’t need a license for charter boat and pier fishing, which are covered by a blanket license. To get a license, visit the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.
Whether in the water or on the beach, watch out for jellyfish! These fascinating creatures pack a punch with their stinging tentacles. They often wash up onto shore with the tide, so watch your step as you explore the beach.
You can also find starfish in the tide pools after the tide goes out. Take some pictures, feel the starfish walk across your hands, and then be sure to return them to their home in the ocean.
Numerous types of crabs live in the water and on the beach. Sand crabs often come darting out of their holes to grab tiny delicacies from the surf, and you may see larger crabs in the water close to the shore. If you have children, be sure to schedule an evening for ghost crab hunting. These tiny, iridescent crabs come out in huge numbers after dark, searching the beach for a delicious late-night snack. Take your flashlight and a camera, and sweep your light slowly along the beach to catch the small crabs in the beam. When the light hits them, they will freeze for a few seconds, giving you the chance to take a quick picture!
Any time you enter the ocean, you know that large animals such as sharks and dolphins may be in the water. Sharks are an essential part of the marine ecosystem; however, it is highly unusual for sharks to come near the shore during the day. Reports of sharks appearing near swimmers at the Outer Banks are very, very rare. Avoid swimming near fishing areas or in the late evening, and you will have no need to fear these masters of the sea.
One of the best parts of visiting the beach is getting to observe and sometimes interact with wildlife that you don’t see every day. Dolphins, crabs, starfish, sea turtles, and other marine creatures provide exciting learning opportunities for visitors of all ages. In order to enjoy these incredible Outer Banks wildlife experiences to the fullest, remember to maintain a healthy respect for the animals as you share their natural environment with them.