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Free Things To Do on the OBX

Vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re maintaining a budge on your trip, then we have some awesome ways to enjoy the most of the OBX without needing to reach into your wallet.

  1. Beach Combing

This is a given, it really is such a wonderful way to spend time on your vacation. Shells, sea glass, sea stars, etc are not only exciting finds, but they’re also a free souvenir! Win-win!


2. Lighthouses

We have some wonderfully beautiful lighthouses on the OBX — 5 of them to be exact. While there is a small nominal fee to go into and climb the lighthouse, their grounds are totally free of charge. Bring your camera and snap some great photos of these gorgeous relics. Bonus ti- is that this would be a great place for family photos.

3. Jockey’s Ridge

The east coasts largest sand dune offers forth spanning, panoramic views of our sandbar. This makes it a great place for sunrise and sunset, as you can see the ocean and the sound from atop a dunes peak. This is a great way to wear out kids and pets energy as well. There is wildlife to observe while here, and its also fun to watch the paragliding school. Kitty Hawk Kites puts on kite festivals at this location, which is free and quite the show!

4. Sunrise & sunsets

Free shows twice a day, everyday! Theres truly no spectacle quite like it. Sunrises are for the ocean, and sunsets are for the sound.

5. Stargazing

Given our location and distance from any large cities, the light pollution is minimal. You will see more stars than ever before! There are some really cool free phone apps that will use your camera to scan the sky and it will outline constellations and point out planets and other significant stars. Its relaxing, educational, interesting, and 100% free!

6. Ghost crabbing

If you’re out stargazing on the beach, you’ll probably encounter groups of people running after something in the sand. They are catching ghost crabs. Its a fun activity for kids. The crabs aren’t for keeps, they’re not the type of crab you eat anyway. Its about the excitement of actually catching one. Its important to remind kids to be gentle once they catch them, because they are still animals after all. Kids get a kick out of this one!

7. Stroll through the maritime forests

The OBX has very diverse ecosystems, and while its our beaches that attract folks, there is another aspect to the OBX that often gets overlooked. Our maritime forests are ancient and rich in biodiversity. There are quite a few nature walks worth checking out. There’s Nags Head Woods, Kitty Hawk Woods, Sandy Run Park, Buxton Woods, Currituck Banks Reserve to name a few. The live oaks make for some stellar photo ops.