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Our love of nature, history, and architecture drives our selection of activities and attractions. We recently spent four days on the Outer Banks and enjoyed the places listed. Another day or two would have been great for more beach time. We arrived via Highway 158 and left via Highway 64.
We enjoyed staying in the peaceful area between Duck and Corolla at the Hampton Inn and Suites (made affordable by traveling off-peak season). If you like more people and activity, look for lodging in the busy Kitty Hawk area. For a couple, a moderate priced hotel is less expensive than renting a house.
I've written separate reviews of the items listed below, but this provides a quick list.
The budget-minded traveler may find this list useful.
Wing-shaped pylons of varying heights recognize significant accomplishments and milestones in aviation history. The monument is located in the area of the visitor center just off Hwy 158 where the eastbound road turns south.
pretty lighthouse; visitors may climb to the top for a reasonable fee
This lovely park is comprised of 39 acres on the sound side of the island. It is anchored by the Currituck Lighthouse and Whalehead Club Historic House Museum. Check out the nicely constructed bridge. This is a good area for photos.
We enjoyed a partial ocean view, but we really didn't spend much time on the balcony in spite of the view -- preferred to spend the time walking the great beach. Unless oceanfront is really important for ocean and sunrise views, choose the non-view room for a lower price; third floor rooms on the front (parking lot side) of the hotel might have a distant view of the sound as well as a good sunset view.
Shoppers will enjoy the cute shops along the boardwalk. We enjoyed a lovely sunset here.
This is the best historic site on the Outer Banks. Take your time here. The history of the pursuit of flight by the Wright Brothers is so much more than what we learned in school.
If you have a national park pass, be sure to take it with you for this attraction.
fun walk on huge sand dunes; an opportunity to watch others learn to hang glide
stop for beaches, lighthouses, and fishing
Drive a short distance or all the way to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
For a really long day, take the free ferry to Ocracoke Island (we did not go that far).
Check out the national park website ahead of time to determine what interests you.
Pretty lighthouse. Mid-day, snap a photo of the sun behind the top of the lighthouse. If you want to climb the lighthouse, check the website before traveling to know when it is open for climbing. The NPS reduces staff in non-peak season, and climbing is not available.
The city of Manteo's picturesque reconstruction of Marshes Lighthouse. The boardwalk and little city park are a great place for a short stroll.
Check the city website for information and photos. This is not a tall lighthouse. Since it is a reconstruction, the inside of the building just has a small exhibit.
We enjoyed taking photos here. We also enjoyed a picnic lunch in the nearby park with a great view of the lighthouse.
We made a short stop at Fort Raleigh on our way back to the mainland.