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OBX on a Budget (Part 2)

Updated on August 17, 2011

This part two of a multi part hub. If you missed the first one please check it out at

although I did not intend it to be part of the series check out my "Family Friendly OBX" Hub

it contains some additional money saving tips for making the most of your OBX vacation while staying on budget.

Hope this series is helpful for your next family outting

High up in the sky
High up in the sky

Go Fly a Kite

No, I am not telling you to go away... I really mean it. Go Fly a Kite!

Whether you bring one from home or purchase one locally, it can be a wonderful afternoon spent outside. A great place to take your kite is Jockey's Ridge State Park, and yes, you guessed it- free admission! There is a great exhibit in the visitor's center to go through and if you want a cool sovenier spring for 51 cents to get a pressed penny. There are four designs available in the machine located next to the front information desk.

Make sure to wear light colored clothing if you decide to trek up the dunes. Bring a water bottle and wear some shoes or sandals that work well in the sand because it can get very, very hot on the toes. (especially for young children)

If you would rather not make the climb, there is still plenty of wind available down by the shoreline for getting your flyer in the air. Kids love the parasails- available while in the OBX or even for purchase online. These fantastic kites have no hard pieces - so even if your young flyer may crash and burn, no one is going to get hurt. The great thing about a parasail style kite is that the kids can normally get the kite to fly without a whole lot of adult assistance. Giving them a great sense of accomplishment and you a little bit of a break!

Currituck Lighthouse
Currituck Lighthouse
Within walking distance from the lighthouse
Within walking distance from the lighthouse
Located at the Corolla Schoolhouse and Free- be sure to not miss it!
Located at the Corolla Schoolhouse and Free- be sure to not miss it!


One of the many cool things to visit for free in the Outer Banks are the lighthouses. There are five total. (although I have never made it to Cape Lookout- it is on my bucket list) the northern most lighthouse is Currituck located in Corolla. For a fee, you can climb the stairs to this lighthouse. There is also a gift shop located in the old light keepers cottage. Be aware- this gift shop is in an old house and tight quarters. If you have small children watch out because there is a whole lot of stuff that is breakable and within reach of little hands. (even if you are holding them) There is a nice porch and some rocking chairs to sit on if you happen to take shifts going inside. If you make a visit to the northshore to see this lighthouse make a day of it. Be sure to go to the Corolla Schoolhouse that has been rennovated to be the Wild Horse Museum. This small schoolhouse contains a ton of information about the horses as well as some cool videos and of course a gift shop. There are wild horse tours available in the general area, but if you ask a local they can point you in a general direction and with some patience you will maybe get to see them. If you prefer the guided tour be sure to clip a coupon (I included a link below for a popular travel guide with some great savings) Always be aware that these are WILD horses, not pets. If you are blessed enough to see them- give them space.

Bodie Island Lighthouse (pronounced BODY)
Bodie Island Lighthouse (pronounced BODY)
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse- you can climb this for a fee
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse- you can climb this for a fee

The next next lighthouse in the line from north to south is Bodie Island Lighthouse. This lighthouse was given a face lift in 2010 and was covered in scaffolding, but I am pleased to announce that it looked wonderful in 2011. There is a small shop located at the base of the lighthouse with a display about its history. You are not able to enter this lighthouse but its striking black and white contrasts make for wonderful photos. It is free to enter the history museum area and well worth stopping by.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in the United States and is next on the list. This lighthouse is still in use today and the beacon shines bright against the night sky in the evenings. The lighthouse was moved from its original location in 1999 due to the threat of shoreline erosion. The lighthouse is able to be climbed for a fee, but small children are not advised in this structure as you are not allowed to carry them if they get tired for safety reasons. There is a wonderful display in the Cape Hatteras Light Station which is located next to the lighthouse and there is no fee to enter. I included a link below from the US National Park Service that includes some information about the move. It is amazing!

Ocracoke Lighthouse
Ocracoke Lighthouse

To continue the lighthouse tour you will need to take the ferry over to Ocracoke Island. Go early in the morning and make a day of it. If you do get caught in the ferry line, don't dispair! There are restrooms and snacks available and another pressed penny machine next to Parrot Bay for your inexpensive and easily packed sovenier. Once you have crossed over onto the island and are making your way along south 12 you will see the Ocracoke Ponies and Pens about 7 miles before you get to town. There are signs and a parking lot (located on the right side of the road as you are headed south). Do not feed or try to pet these ponies as they are liable to kick or bite you- they are wild animals. The Lighthouse is located on a side loop in town. You are unable to enter this lighthouse, and there is no museum or gift shop on the grounds. Unfortunately due to cramped quarters there is also limited parking. This stop is primarily for the diehard lighthouse fans. Since the lure of Ocracoke for the kids is not typically the lighthouse anyways you are probably safe viewing this one from the car. The kids want to hear about Blackbeard, the famous pirate. There is a fee paid museum located in Ocracoke called Teachs' Hole that most young pirates will love to visit. There is also a gift shop that has a variety of pirate items for that young buccaneer and you can go in there without paying a fee. Grab a walking map while you are in town and check out all the neat things in this historic seaside village.

Since I have yet to take the second ferry ride to the south, I can not give a whole lot of advice on the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. It looks like another great adventure that I will definitely plan in the future. Until then, check out the link for the National Park Service web page.

Surf Fishing

A possibly exciting day at the beach, even if you are not the one fishing. You never know what that next cast will catch. Just watch your fingers and toes- some of the salt water fish have teeth!

Make sure you plan ahead if you want to enjoy this activity. Saltwater equipment is available to purchase in many locations while you are in the OBX. Just remember to make sure you have room to pack it to take it home so you can enjoy it on your next visit. Save time and aggrevation by purchasing out of state fishing licenses ahead of time. The less time you spend getting ready to go fishing while you are on vacation means more time to actually enjoy the surf.

Well, that is it for this Hub. Follow me and stay tuned in for part 3 in the series.

Until then...

"May you always have a seashell in your pocket and sand between your toes"


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    • Hreichel profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather Reichel 

      7 years ago from Northwestern Pennsylvania

      Thanks! I totally forgot about that... Nags Head Woods should have probably gotten a mention too... Working on the beach driving now- (this one may get a funny vote- well, not if you ask my husband) I will possibly add a part 4 if this hub takes off- there are so many cool things

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      This is turning into a very comprehensive series of the Outer Banks and is very well researched.

      I would add the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education which is adjacent to the Currituck Lighthouse grounds, is free to enter and often has low cost programs for adults and kids that enhance their appreciation of nature.

      Great job! Voted up across the board except for funny.


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