25 things to do in the Outer Banks

May 19, 2010

1. Spend time in Historic Manteo. Lots of dining, shopping and lodging available in Festival Park, a historically restored downtown area. (manteo.govoffice.com)

2. Go for a bike ride. Try the Roanoke Island Bike Path, an 8.8-mile walking, jogging and rollerblading path that runs the entire length of U.S. 64/264.

3. Picnic at the marina. The public docks at the Manteo waterfront have benches and gazebos. Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the boaters as they launch.

4. Celebrate the Fourth. Manteo oozes that small-town feel with a flea market, parade, children's games and contests. At night take in a concert at Festival Park.

5. Run for your life. The OBX Marathon starts in Kitty Hawk and ends in downtown Manteo. Also includes a half-marathon and Fun Run. This year held on Nov. 14. (obxmarathon.org)

6. Pump iron. The Outer Banks Triathlon Festival is held Sept. 18-19.

7. Go fly a kite. Rent or buy a traditional or cutting-edge kite. (kittyhawk.com)

8. Go be a kite. Learn hang gliding in one easy lesson.

9. View fine art. Enjoy the New World Festival of the Arts in downtown Manteo, a venue for 80 artists from Vermont to Florida. Aug. 11-12. (townofmanteo.com)

10. Touch a ray. The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is a small but state-of-the-art aquarium. Kids will love the large touch-tank and educational programs. (ncaquariums.com/roanoke-island)

11. Eat local. Enjoy an open air Farmer's Market every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the George Washington Creek Park near the Maritime Museum. May 15-October 2.

12. Visit Bodie Island Light. This historic structure is easily accessible from Roanoke Island. The lighthouse sits on 15 acres of prime bird-watching habitat.

13. Climb Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Is there anything more symbolic than the Cape Hatteras Light, the tallest in the nation and the subject of songs and yarns?

14. Get 'Lost.' Roanoke Island is home to The Lost Colony, Sir Walter Raleigh's infamous attempt at colonizing the New World in 1585. Visit Fort Raleigh National Historical Site. (nps.gov/fora)

15. Discover flight. The Wright Brothers National Memorial recreates the life and accomplishments of these pioneers. ()

16. See a play. The Lost Colony outdoor play is the longest running in the United States. It tells the tale of Sir Walter Raleigh's venture. May 28-Aug. 20. Tickets: $12-24. (thelostcolony.org)

17. Take a stroll. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore extends for 75 miles of pristine beaches. ()

18. Tiptoe through the tulips. The Elizabethan Gardens are a faithful recreation of a 16th century garden. You'll love the antique statuary, herb gardens and formal gardens. (elizabethangardens.org)

19. Enjoy nature. Take in the Nature Conservancy at Nags Head Woods Preserve, a 1,400 acre preserve with self-guided trails and many guided programs.

20. Get a massage. Several hotels offer beachfront massages, replete with sun, surf and salt. Check with your hotel for availability.

21. Go fish. Whether you toss a hook into the surf or spend a day on a charter boat, few places in the country offer better fishing. (oregon-inlet.com)

22. Spoil a good walk. Golf abounds on the Outer Banks.

23. Indulge In a ood read. One of the secrets of the Outer Banks is its abundance of quaint bookstores, some offering homemade treats and great coffee. ()

24. Shop 'til you drop. What better way to spend a rainy day? The main drags offer tons of shopping. Tanger Outlets in Nags Head draws big crowds. (tangeroutlet.com/nagshead)

25. Relax. Forget the shopping, visiting, hiking and spending. Pull out the lounge chair, stake a claim on some beachfront, dip your toes into the salty water, and breathe.

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