No one has the same vision for the perfect vacation. Some may picture peace, quiet, and seclusion while others may picture plenty of activities close by. Regardless of what your ideal vacation looks like, there is an Outer Banks town perfect for everyone.
Have you ever been to Manteo?
If you’ve visited this quaint island town in the NC Outer Banks, you may have noticed a picturesque structure at the end of a wooden pier just east of the downtown area. It’s the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse… and it’s unlike any tower-style lighthouse you’ve ever seen.
As you probably know the Outer Banks has deep roots in aviation. The Wright Brothers migrated to this ribbon of sand about 120 years ago to conduct experiments that ultimately led to this area being the birthplace of aviation. On December 17, 1903 the Ohio brothers successfully launched the first self powered aircraft in what is now Kill Devil Hills.
One of the great things to do while on vacation is to take an air tour of the Outer Banks. At the Manteo airport, which was a key military air field during world war II, there is a company that offers breathtaking aerial tours of the Outer Banks.
This week Sue Kehrig shares her photo memories of the experience.
Sue, of Sterling Heights, Michigan stayed with Outer Banks Blue in Nags Head and shot this picture while on a plane tour. That is Jennette’s Pier in the foreground of the picture, and Roanoke Island in the background of the photo.
If you get the opportunity you should definitely take the time to see the beach from the air. The Wright Brothers would be jealous of your view!
Sue also sent a 2nd Memory Monday photo to us and that is of the Corolla wild horses roaming on the beach.
We thank Sue for sharing her photo memories and we invite you to come and visit with us this summer to create your own photo memories. Be sure to share them with us here at Everything Outer Banks so you can see them one Monday in the future.
Until then, we look forward to serving you and your family soon.
All the best from the beach!
For basic orientation, the string begins in North Carolina at Carova to the north and ends at Okracoke Island and Portsmouth Island to the south. If you look at an Outer Banks map you’ll notice how far the islands extend into the Atlantic Ocean. In part due to the separation from the mainland, and in part due to the unique history and geography, each of the barrier islands has its own culture.
Carova, Corolla, and Knotts Island
The northernmost section of the OBX is Carova. This area includes beautiful and secluded Carova Beach, Corolla, and Knotts Island. Carova and most of Knotts Island can only be accessed by boat or four-wheel drive, making it the perfect spot for those who really want to get away.
Carova has stunning ocean views and luxury beach rentals. There is a sense of isolation, but you’ll also have easy access to Carolla’s grocery store, restaurants, and gear rental agencies. Keep your binoculars handy if you’re hanging out on the beachfront patio – you may spot the famous wild mustangs having a sunset stroll. Though legally you’re required to stay 50 feet away from the wild horses, many visitors have reported horses nosing around their yards and front porches.
If you have come to the Outer Banks to see the famous wild horses, stay in nearby Corolla and plan a day trip to Carova. Corolla is best for beginning surfers and beach lovers, and has a few restaurants and shops. Love the idea of the simplicity of times gone by? Stay on the northern islands.
Bodie Island has changed over time into a peninsula due to years of shifting beaches, but it has retained it’s originally name for the area. It includes the notable towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head.
If you’ve come for history or watersports Bodie Island will keep you as busy as you want to be. Duck is a quaint “new” town built mostly to accommodate vacationers, and it’s a no-fail choice for first timers. Duck will keep you happily diverted with cultural events, high-end restaurants, shopping, and a scenic boardwalk.
The rest of Bodie Island is famous for its place in aviation history and the busy Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head have a variety of restaurants and shops, ample beach parking, and bathhouses near some boardwalks. For kite boarders and windsurfers Jockey’s Ridge is a pilgrimage. Even if you’re not that daring it’s fun to see the giant sand dunes and watch the more adventurous zip across the waves.
Bringing your dog? Duck and Nags Head have the most dog-friendly beach rules.
Roanoke Island includes the small towns of Manteo and Wanchese. These villages are pedestrian-friendly and offer watersport gear rentals, events, restaurants, and wonderful, wide beaches. Roanoke Island has a legendary history that you’ll feel immersed in it as soon as you arrive. It is also a good midway point if you want to take in both the north and south islands of the Outer Banks chain.
Hatteras Island encompasses the vacation-friendly towns of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras. Several towns (Rodanthe, Waves, Frisco, Avon, and Salvo) are small with basic provisions nearby and Nags Head just a short drive for anything more you might need.
If you’re looking for a quiet place to unplug, Rodanthe is the place to do it. Buxton is also low-key and is the home of the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. If you surf, the Atlantic side of Buxton and Hatteras has the biggest waves in the Outer Banks. The sound side of Hatteras Island is a haven for other watersports. The larger town of Hatteras has the most activities and rentals for vacationers, and is a popular destination for anglers.
What Ocracoke Island lacks in square mileage it makes up for in history. Remote and reachable only by ferry, private boat, or private plane, visitors to Ocracoke Island will find there are enough restaurants, shops, and activities to make a nice vacation. History lovers will appreciate the British cemetery, the old fort, and a visit to the site of Blackbeard the pirate’s last stand.
Even though roads connect the islands of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, each has managed to develop it’s own culture. No matter which one you choose, you’re sure to enjoy your foray into the fascinating history and unspoiled beauty of this special place.