One Day in the Outer BanksAAA editors suggest these activities for a great short vacation experience. Those staying in the area for a longer visit can access a 3-day itinerary at AAA.com/TravelGuides.
Morning To fully appreciate North Carolina's Outer Banks on vacation, a car is a necessity.
Start your day off right with breakfast at Miller's Seafood & Steak House, which is where to eat in Kill Devil Hills. A popular brunch spot for both locals and vacationers, this family-owned and -operated restaurant serves up generous portions of chocolate chip pancakes, Texas-style French toast, omelets, country ham and other breakfast favorites. Be sure to order a colossal cinnamon roll on the side.
What to Do in Kill Devil Hills
Visit one of the most important things to see in the Outer Banks: the Wright Brothers National Memorial . History was made here on a wintry day in 1903 when Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully completed the first manned, heavier-than-air flight. The visitor center has a full-scale reproduction of their flying machine, and markers on the airfield point out the distances achieved on each of the four flights the brothers made on that historic day. The visitor center and the nearby Centennial Pavilion have exhibits about the Ohioans, their gliders and the history of aviation. An imposing granite monument at the top of Big Kill Devil Hill commemorates the realization of the brothers' dream of human flight.
As you leave the birthplace of flight and head to the northern end of the Outer Banks, a good place to go for a quick lunch is The Duck Deli in Duck. This small roadside food place in a wood-frame building along SR 12 is known for its barbecue—pulled pork, ribs, chicken and beef—as well as wings, baked beans, hush puppies and Philly cheesesteaks. The casual atmosphere, reasonable prices and fast, friendly service are a decided plus.
Adventurous Things to Do in the Northern Outer Banks
For an off-the-beaten-path experience, continue north on SR 12 to Corolla. Book an excursion with Wild Horse Safari , which takes passengers on off-road tours in open-air, safari-style beach cruisers to see wild Spanish mustangs running free on Currituck beaches. The mustangs are believed to be descendants of horses brought here more than 400 years ago by Spanish explorers. Naturalist guides provide information about area ecology and wildlife that can be viewed on the expedition, including shorebirds, dolphins and pelicans.
Historic Corolla Park provides two other things to do while in Corolla. You can climb the 220 steps to the top of the unpainted brick Currituck Beach Lighthouse , which has been guiding navigation since 1875. The partially renovated Art Nouveau-style Lighthouse Keepers' House is adjacent. Or step inside the Whalehead in Historic Corolla to see the elegantly furnished “cottage” built 1922-25 as a winter retreat by a wealthy Northern couple who enjoyed wildfowl hunting on the northern Outer Banks. The home's cork floors, Tiffany lighting fixtures, copper roof and five chimneys are things to see.
Splurging on an exceptional meal is one of the perks of a vacation, and several fine-dining options in the northern reaches of the Outer Banks in Duck await your choice. Overlooking Currituck Sound is The Blue Point , which describes its menu as Southern coastal. Seafood is the focus here, from the she-crab soup to the crab cakes, but be sure and try one of the heavenly desserts. Sound views can also be enjoyed at Kimball's Kitchen , an elegant 60-seat bistro that is part of the Sanderling Resort complex. The local restaurant's name is a reference to both the left bank of the Seine River in Paris, France, and the actual location of the food place on SR 12. Contemporary American cuisine with a French bent is matched with wines from the restaurant's highly regarded collection. The menu changes, sometimes daily, to reflect the best-available seasonal ingredients.
Fun Things to Do in OBX
Eating out? Linger over a glass of wine or coffee and a decadent dessert, but save time for watching the sun set over the waters of the sound, a walk on the beach and one last chance to pick up a seashell that will commemorate your Outer Banks vacation.
Outer Banks, NC
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2028 S Virginia Dare Tr. Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948