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Outer Banks Attractions and Historical Sites


Currituck Beach Lighthouse

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse was the last of four brick towers built from Cape Henry, Virginia, to the Outer Banks. It is 162 feet tall with 214 steps to the top. On your way up, take a moment to read over the interesting facts and history of this lighthouse for a chance to rest up. When you finally reach the top, the magnificent view of the sound side and ocean are unbelievable (bring your camera.) There is a fee of $7 to climb; although, there is group rates available in advance. Also, enjoy the museum shop, wind horse museum, and the historic Whalehead Club just south of the tower.

Currituck Wildlife Museum

Between the Currituck Lighthouse and the Maritime Museum, you will find the Outer Banks center for Wildlife education. On a daily basis, this museum offers many educational programs focusing on natural, and cultural history associated with northeastern North Carolina.

The Whalehead Club

The Whalehead Club, located at the Currituck Heritage Park, is more than just family fun, it's an educational experience for all. Step back in time while exploring the Whalehead club by visiting, taking a tour, or participating in one of their many events year round.


Duck Town Park

This community recreation facility, an 11 acre gem exactly, is quite popular throughout the summer. Take advantage of the amazing sunsets from the renewed boardwalk, sound side activities, great music, and many different family activities in the heart of Duck, NC.

U.S.A.C.E Field Research at Duck Pier

Catch an hour tour at this unique facility. The U.S Army Corps of Engineers conduct research on the ocean processes affecting the coast, storm impacts, and erosion. 

Kitty Hawk

Children at Play Museum

This fun children museum host interactive exhibits for children to learn about fishing, measuring catches, lighthouses and lifesaving, flying an airplane, etc. There is a small fee of $5 to enter, located at milepost 4.5.

Kill Devil Hills

Wright Brother National Memorial

The Wright Brother National Memorial is a popular spot for many who visit the Outer Banks.  When you come to vacation on the OBX, a "must do" activity is visiting the exact spot where Wilbur and Orville Wright launched the first successful flight known to man. Think of the what has happened to travel since their first historic flight! The Wright Brother National Memorial offers exhibits and educational programs on a daily basis for your family to enjoy.

 Nags Head

Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse is located on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, with the grounds and buildings surrounding the tower in the hands of the National Park Services. It is not open to the public for climbing although you may visit the keepers duplex which is now a small museum and gift shop. This lighthouse has had to overcome many struggles during over the years in the past including the rebuilding of the towers time and time again due to miscalculations, the Civil War, and the natural shifting of the sand. Even though you cannot climb this tower, it is worth making the drive to discover the picturesque views and natural beauty surrounding the Bodie Island Lighthouse. From Memorial Day to Labor Day you may visit between the hours of 9 am. to 6 p.m.

Jockey's Ridge State Park

Jockey's Ridge State Park is home to the nationally known living dune. This is the largest dune on the east coast, and attraction you don't want to miss out on! Participate in free programs, walk along the board walk, or just catch magnificent sunsets overlooking both the sea and the sound side of the Outer Banks. Located across from the Jockey's Ridge Crossing shopping center.

Nature Conservancy at Nags Head Woods

The Nature Conservancy is complete with animal and plant life that is extremely rare to find on barrier Islands, like the Outer Banks. Hike through five miles of gorgeous scenery including towering oaks, hickories, beech trees, and many species of birds. The trails range from easy to difficult levels.

Roanoke Island

Civil War Trail

This trail runs directly through Roanoke Island, and Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks.  Adventure this historical experience to find important monuments, and displays of the Civil War.

Elizabeth II

At the Elizabeth II the children have a chance to step back in time while helping the sailors pilot a course, swab the decks, play checkers with a sailor, raise the anchors up, and help set up the sails. Explore the entire ship, and enjoy the view while the little ones take action! 

Fort Raleigh National History Center

Colonists back in 1585 and 1587 attempted to settle right at this very location.  This is where you will find the Waterside Theater, The Lost Colony, and a outdoor drama. Visit the visitor's center, participate in offered programs, and head down the nature trail as a family.

Island Farm

The Island Farm is quite amazing. Here you have a chance to step back in time to the mid 1800s. Visit almost a dozen buildings, animals, and learn exactly how things were done during this time period on the Outer Banks.

The Lost Colony

Over the years, The Lost Colony has become known world wide. This musical drama, which debuted in 1937, is one of the first outdoor dramas performed in the United States. The show covers the plight and the mysterious disappearance of America's first English settlers. From battles with Indians to the majesty of the Queen to the birth of Virginia Dare, this is a must see event. Bring the entire family for an afternoon show during the summer months. 

The North Carolina Roanoke Island Aquarium

Don't miss out on the adventure of discovering everything there is to know about the Atlantic, and what lurks within it. The aquarium also provides events throughout the day for the family.

Outer Banks History Center

The Outer Banks History Center is located in the heart of historic Manteo. It has regional archives, and research library in which documents the history as well as  development and growth of this coast.

Roanoke Island Festival Park

Multiple family activities, and events are held at the Roanoke Island Festival Park. Here you can enjoy many shops, the Elizabeth II, the American Indian Town, the Settlement Site, the Roanoke Adventure Museum, performance series, and the Art Gallery. Bring your furry friends with you to play in the open areas.

Roanoke Island Maritime Museum

While exploring Roanoke Festival Park take time to experience vintage boats at the Maritime Museum to learn about the craft, and history of boat building on Roanoke Island. This is a free attraction, and makes a great day for the family.

The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

This lighthouse was needed to help direct mariners through a narrow channel connecting the Pamlico Sound to the Croatan Sound. It is simply modeled after a screwpile lighthouse from the late eighteen hundreds to the mid nineties, and is the fourth incarnation. It is located at the end of the pier on the Manteo Waterfront and free to visit. Note that hours vary with the seasons.

Theater of Dare

The community theater for the Outer Banks, founded in 1991. Catch the next show here with the family with all proceeds benefiting scholarships for Dare county students, and the cost of productions. Check their website for upcoming shows this season.

Hatteras Island

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest brick lighthouse in America, is also second tallest brick lighthouse in the world. With a total of 248 steps to the top, the climb is taxing, but the views from the summit are well worth the effort. There is a small fee to climb the tower, $7 for adults and $3.50 for seniors and children under 12 years of age. There is also a visitor center and gift shop located at the lighthouse.  Feel free to visit the nearby beach to enjoy some surf and sun before or after your climb.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a beautiful State Park on the Outer Banks. Plan a day to visit the “ribbon of sand,” where these narrow barrier islands change constantly. Discover new life like sea turtles who tend to nest on these beaches. The national seashore is complete with a variety of plant and animal life for you to come across!

Chicamacomico Life Saving Station

This life saving station is the most complete sites of its kind the nation. Listen to stories of storm warriors - in other words heroes - and watch demonstrations of the entertaining Beach Apparatus Drill. During the summer months they host special programs, demonstrations, reenactments and other events for the family!

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

Discover the preservation, advancement, and presentation of the maritime history and shipwrecks of the North Carolina Outer Banks in Hatteras at this fascinating museum. Dating back to the early exploration and colonization to the present. Here you will find ship wrecks either on display or visible during low tide hours. Over 1500 ships have been lost in the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

Ocracoke Island

Ocracoke Island Lighthouse

Although the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse is not open to the public, visiting the Ocracoke Island is a delightful day trip. Ocracoke is only accessible by ferry (about a 2.5 hour  ride), and once you get there, you can enjoy the gifts shops, seafood restaurants, and a wild pony reserve. This area is also a part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, owned and kept by the National Park Services.