Scenery and serenity

Barrier islands include famed Cape Hatteras

Outer Banks


A narrow chain of barrier islands, North Carolina's Outer Banks offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and serene bays and waterways on the other, as well as wildlife refuges and maritime woodlands.

The area also includes Kitty Hawk, the birthplace of flight, and Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Outer Banks has 15 towns along the length of the islands. Dining, recreation and shopping opportunities are growing, thanks to a recent building boom.

Where to stay

Most Outer Banks visitors stay in one of the abundant vacation homes, many of which are worth more than $1 million and feature five, six or seven bedrooms, in-ground pools, hot tubs and modern kitchens.

The 90-mile stretch of North Carolina islands is the most hurricane-prone spot along the East Coast north of Florida, so many of the homes are built on stilts. There are also a number of bed and breakfasts and hotels along the islands. For more information, check out or

Here are some options for accommodations:

Perched between the Atlantic Ocean and Currituck Sound, The Sanderling resort (1461 Duck Road, Duck, 252-261-4111, has three inns and four oceanside villas.

The Nags Head Inn (4701 S. Virginia Trail Drive, Milepost 14, Nags Head, 800-327-8881, has private oceanfront balconies that provide impressive water views.

The First Colony Inn (6720 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Milepost 16, Nags Head, 252-441-2343, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Blue Point (1240 Duck Road, Duck, 252-261-8090) overlooks the Currituck Sound and features waterside tables in an intimate setting. The menu includes seafood, steak and pork. Entrees: $19-$35.

Pigman's Bar-B-Que (Milepost 9, Kill Devil Hills, 252-441-6803). If you're in Kill Devil Hills and you've got a craving for pork, the authentic North Carolina pulled-pork sandwiches and sweet potato fries are sinfully tasty. Prices range from $4-$5 for sandwiches and are $20 or less for entrees.

The Weeping Radish (525 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Manteo, 252- 473-1157) is a Bavarian restaurant. An on-site butcher prepares Angus steaks, burgers and homemade sausages. Entrees: $11-$22.

The Back Porch Restaurant (1324 Country Road, Ocracoke Village, 252- 928-6401) is set among the trees and cacti off the beaten trail, but the food is anything but laid back. You'll find hand-cut steaks and fresh seafood. Entrees: $15-$24.


The Waterfront Shops of Duck (1240 Duck Road, Duck, N.C., 252-255-3109) This collection of 18 shops boasts an ocean view and also has a restaurant, a coffee shop and an ice cream parlor.

Outer Banks Mall (5000 Croatan Highway, Nags Head, 252-441-5620). Specialty shops and restaurants.

Pamlico Station Shops (24267 Highway 12, Rodanthe, 252-987-1416). Home decor, gifts, beachwear, fresh fudge, aromatherapy and dining.

Outer Banks Style (Highway 12, Corolla, 252-453-4388). Housed in the former Kill Devil Hills lifesaving station, the store has art and hand-painted furniture.


Kelly's Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern (Nags Head, U.S. 158 Bypass Milepost 10 1/2 , 252-441-4116). With live music almost every evening, Kelly's is a full-energy tavern for the 20- and 30-something crowd.

Howard's Pub and Raw Bar Restaurant (Highway 12, Ocracoke Island, 252-928-4441, features a regular assortment of live bands and the occasional live mike or karaoke night.


Kitty Hawk Kites/Carolina Outdoors (Milepost 15, Nags Head, 252-441-4124, Hang glide over dunes or tandem as high as 2,000 feet near the birthplace of flight. The facility also provides skydiving, rock-wall climbing and stunt-kite lessons.

Waterfall Action Park (Highway 12, Hatteras Island, Rodanthe, 252-987-2213). This park, which has been a part of the Outer Banks for 20 years, has more than 20 rides and bungee-jumping. No admission, but individual rides start at $6.

Frisco Mini Golf and Go-Karts (Highway 12, Frisco, 252-995-6325). Golf, go-carts and an 1,800-square-foot arcade.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge (10 miles south of Nags Head on Highway 12, 252-987-2394). A favorite among birders, this half-mile, 30-minute walk will reveal a variety of species.

The Grass Course mini-golf (Highway 12, Corolla, 252-453-4198). The natural grass course features 18 holes, including par 3s, 4s and 5s.



Ocrafolk Festival -- Along Schoolhouse Road and Howard Street, Ocracoke Island / 252-928-3411 or All day June 2-4. Music, arts and crafts and storytelling. Free.

Wil-Bear Wright's Festival of Fun -- Kitty Hawk Kites, 3933 S. Croatan Highway, Nags Head / 877-FLY-THIS or 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 14. Kite construction and flying, face painting and other children's activities. Free.

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