Discover the Out Banks – North Carolina

By on October 31, 2014

By Tomas Bruce –

When visiting the Outer Banks, your list of things to do may very well exceed the amount of time you have to spend in our area. There is so much to do and see here that it cannot possibly all be done in one vacation’s time. That being said, make sure to extend your budget while on your vacation and capitalize on those activities that are free! Check out our list of the best free Outer Banks activities.

Climb Jockey’s Ridge

natural sunscreen with zinc oxide

Jockey’s Ridge is one of the most famous landmarks on the Outer Banks and a favorite amongst the youngsters. Take your family to visit the tallest natural sand dune in the Eastern United States. Running down the massive dunes of sand while watching people fly kites and take hang gliding lessons will be sure to keep you entertained. After a day spent checking out all of the action, be sure to take in the sunset from the dunes as it is an experience you and your loved ones will never forget. In addition to the massive sand dunes, enjoy an educational experience in the visitor’s center or eat lunch under one of the many picnic shelters. Visiting Jockey’s Ridge would be extremely convenient when staying in one of our Nags Head Vacation Rentals as it is located at Milepost 12.

Hike the North Pond Wildlife Trail

If you like to immerse yourself in nature, then the North Pond Wildlife Trail in Pea Island is for you. North Pond Wildlife Trail is only about 3 miles over the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on Hatteras Island. The trail guides you along a scenic walk from the parking lot (located adjacent to Highway 12) to the sound. While walking along the half-mile nature trail towards the Pamlico Sound, visitors will be able to see the various wildlife that inhabit the area. Turtles, cranes, and a variety of ducks are a common site in Pea Island. Once hikers reach the end of the trail they are greeted by a two story observation deck that gives a great panoramic view of the sound, island, and ocean all at once.

Visit Downtown Manteo

Downtown Manteo, located on Roanoke Island offers a beautiful waterfront equipped with great restaurants and a variety of sailboats. There are wonderful shops in Downtown Manteo as well. When walking around the downtown area, visitors can check out galleries, playgrounds, and coffee shops. On the other side of the bridge from the Manteo waterfront sits Roanoke Island Festival Park. While the park itself is not free, the walk over to the visitor’s center is quite pleasant and offers a great view of the Elizabeth II and the waterfront. The Elizabeth II is a representational ship built to interpret one of the seven English merchant vessels from the Roanoke Voyage of 1585.

Check out Jennette’s Pier

Visit one of the most beautiful piers on the east coast. Jennette’s Pier is a historical landmark that was completely rebuilt and re-opened in 2011 as the fourth location of the North Carolina Aquarium system. The pier was destroyed by Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and since then the state had gained ownership of the property. In addition to the 1,000 foot long pier that extends well out into the Atlantic Ocean, the pier also features an Aquarium. Get a different view of the Outer Banks coastline while learning a little bit about what is swimming beneath you at Jennette’s Pier!

The previously discussed attractions are a short drive from many of our Outer Banks vacation rentals and are just a brief sample of what the Outer Banks has to offer. The fact that you do not have to break the bank in order to have a good time in our area is quite possibly the best thing about the Outer Banks. The natural beauty of our area provides all who visit with views and landscapes that are second to none, for free!


Thomas Bruce- Thomas is an avid adventurer and Outer Banks local. He enjoys the ocean and helping others find out more about the area he lives and visits.

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Discover the Out Banks – North Carolina