Every parent desires to build memories with their child and what better way to build memories than when you’re on vacation. Going on vacation can get costly especially if you have kids, but fun doesn’t have to be expensive. Here is a list of activities you can do with the kids for little to no cost while you are staying in the Outer Banks.
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
If you are visiting the Outer Banks, especially for the first time, a trip to the Wright Brothers National Memorial is a must! The Memorial is a tribute to the first flight completed by Wilbur and Orville Wright on December 17, 1903. When visiting the park make sure to stop by the front desk to pick up a junior ranger booklet. The kids will be able to play on the airplane replica, investigate the site alone with the activities, and be sworn in as a junior ranger once they have learned all about the Wright brothers. Children under the age of 16 are free!
Take a Tour to See the Wild Horses
The wild horse are a beautiful sight that the entire family will enjoy. Even though it may be a little pricey it is totally worth it. The tours typically last two hours. You will ride in an open-air safari style truck. The tour will take you out on the beach and back in the dunes to find/see the horses. If you have your own four wheel drive vehicle than you don’t have to go on the tour. Just drive our on the 4×4 beach and I am sure you will see them.
Catching Ghost Crabs at Night
Another fun crab activity for the family to do together with little to no cost is catching ghost crabs at night. All you need is a flashlight and a bucket. Once it gets dark head to the beach and let the fun begin. Shine your light on the sand and you will see the ghost crabs scurrying around. If the light hits them they will stop for a moment, this is your chance to catch them. Typically my niece and nephew will get super close to the crab and it will move and they will scream and run away. Once you have had all the fun you can handle release the crabs you have caught and head home, or out for some ice cream.
Build a Sandcastle
I am sure this is a given but just in case. Building a sandcastle is a fun way to interact with the kids. You do not have to use sand toys either. Use your imagination and get creative. When I was a child my brother and I would always have a contest at who could build the biggest drip castle (a drip castle is when you get watery sand and drip it between your two hands) before it fell over.
Go Fishing at Jennette’s Pier
Last on our list is going fishing at Jennette’s Pier. You could really go to any pier but Jennette’s is my favorite. Jennette’s Pier is a 1000 ft. concert pier located in Nags Head. Inside the pier shop there is large aquarium tanks, interactive science exhibits to learn about renewable energy, a snack bar, and unique gifts. This is a great place to go for the day if some the of the kids would like to fish and some don’t. During the summer months the pier offers programs such as catch it, clean it, cook it and surf fishing workshops. Make sure to check their website or call ahead to see what programs they are offering and if there is availability.
There you have it! Next time you come to the Outer Banks make sure to check out at least one of these activities. Is there an activity that you and your family like to do while visiting the Outer Banks?