You might have skipped your summer vacation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With multiple states opening up and things getting back to normal, now might be the perfect time to take a weekend getaway to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
With scenic lighthouses, miles of open beachfront and state parks, North Carolina’s storied coastline makes an ideal spot to take your first post-pandemic vacation, especially if you enjoy the outdoors. These are some of the top activities for visitors and locals in the Outer Banks.
Join Educational and Fun Walking Tours
If you’re not much for wandering around the Outer Banks aimlessly, you can join guided walking tours to see the sights and learn in depth details about the Outer Banks. Sign up for walking tours to know more about notorious pirates like Blackbeard who often hid in Outer Banks settlements after heists on the high seas.
You can also take guided ghost tours and follow the footsteps of the aviation pioneers, the Wright brothers. “Points of interest include reconstructed living quarters, flight hangars, and the Wright Brothers Monument,” according to OBX Walking Tours. Prices of walking tours vary among tour operators.
Hike Buxton Woods
Visitors don’t usually expect to find forests near beaches, but they do exist in the Outer Banks. Managed by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Buxton Woods is a 1,000-acre forest and “the largest remaining contiguous tract of Maritime Evergreen Forest on the Atlantic coast. The Reserve also contains the only occurrence of a maritime shrub swamp (dogwood subtype) community in the world,” according to NCDEQ.
Hiking trails offer opportunities to see a variety of wildlife including fox, river otter, mink and white-tailed deer. If driving, park management advises you to use a 4x4 vehicle to avoid getting stuck on the sandy roads approaching the forest.
Climb Bodie Island Lighthouse
No vacation to the Outer Banks would be complete without climbing one of the area’s historic lighthouses. Constructed in 1847 to guide ships passing through the area, Bodie Island Lighthouse was partially destroyed during the Civil War but rebuilt with materials left over from the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Standing 150-feet high, Bodie Island Lighthouse is usually open for visitors between April and October. Climbing offers physical exercise and breathtaking views of the Outer Banks and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.