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Outer Banks Family Vacation

Updated on October 15, 2010

The Outer Banks, a series of barrier islands that runs for 130 miles just off of the North Carolina Coast, could be the perfect vacation destination for your family. The Outer Banks offers plenty of activities to keep you and the kids busy—from beachcombing to climbing sand dunes to watching wildlife. You can enjoy the water by sailing, fishing, and windsurfing. Kayaking is also a popular way to enjoy the breathtaking coastal scenery and explore the salt and freshwater marshes.

Swimming is popular all throughout the Outer Banks, but is particularly good between Corolla and Duck in the northern part of the Outer Banks and around Ocracoke Island in the southern part. Free ferry services are available in many instances to help you navigate between the islands.

Another attraction in the Outer Banks is Cape Hatteras National Seashore on Hatteras Island. This seashore is administered by the National Park Service and visitor centers are open in the summer to help you experience all that the island has to offer. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, a black and white striped lighthouse located on the island, is also a popular tourist attraction.

In addition to the natural beauty of the Outer Banks and the water sports you and your family can enjoy, the Outer Banks also offers many man-made attractions. Small towns and inns give the Outer Banks distinctive charm, and miniature golf courses and amusements parks give visitors plenty to do. The Wright Brothers Memorial, the North Carolina Aquarium, and the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge are also popular attractions.

Festivals and celebrations are held throughout the year in the Outer Banks and can provide your family with great fun if you time your trip right. The Annual Inter-Tribal Powwow celebrates Native American traditions and takes place in April. The Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular and Air Games are in May, and the OcraFolk Festival takes place in June. In July, you can enjoy the Corolla Wild Horse Day and Kitty Hawk Kites Hatteras Kite Festival.

Summer is the ideal time of the year to visit the Outer Banks. This is the prime season for windsurfing, kayaking, swimming, and other water sports. During the spring and autumn, the water is still warm but the crowds are thinner. If a winter vacation is on your calendar, several charming cottages are available for rent at a fraction of the cost of renting them in the summer. At this time of the year, you can experience a true secluded experience. Avoid visiting the Outer Banks in August and September, as this is the heart of the hurricane season.

Image Credit: Outer Banks Real Estate, Flickr


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  • dallas93444 profile image

    Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

    I almost sailed there on a 50' raft from Fiji. Great place to SCUBA dive... Thanks for sharing.

  • profile image

    Fiddleman 7 years ago

    My wife's sister and her husband just returned for the Outer Banks. They go every year and always seem to enjoy the trip. We were afraid this year of all the rain and flooding but fortunately they missed the bigger part of the bad weather.