Outer Banks Vacations

Enjoy pristine beachfront and learn about early American history at North Carolina’s famous barrier islands

Stretching 200 miles (320 kilometers), the barrier islands of the Outer Banks are located off the coast of North Carolina and southern Virginia. The region, often referred to simply as “OBX,” is known for its temperate climate, clean beaches and pristine landscape.

Although countless towns and villages are scattered throughout OBX, the most popular destinations are Kitty Hawk, Duck, Nags Head and Rodanthe. Hotels fitting every budget are located throughout OBX. Many people opt to rent beachside bungalows. For a more rustic adventure, camp at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

OBX is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, offering swimming, surfing, kayaking, biking and sailing. Tee up at one of the region’s many golf courses or cruise down the shorefront on an off-road dune buggy. Get your camera ready and head to the beach, where you’ll find wild mustangs roaming in their natural habitat. Charter a fishing boat for the afternoon or enjoy fresh seafood at a local restaurant.

Enjoy a perfect sunset or go sand surfing at Jockey's Ridge State Park, which boasts the U.S. East Coast’s tallest sand dunes. Climb to the top of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, where you can capture panoramic views of OBX.

Visitors of all ages will delight in living history at Roanoke Island’s Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. Explore England’s first American colony with interactive exhibits and, during the summer, catch the renowned musical The Lost Colony at Manteo’s Waterside Theatre.

Learn about the shipwrecks off the sometimes treacherous shores of OBX at Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, located on Hatteras Island.

Discover early flight at the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills. At the site of the brothers’ famous first successful flight in 1903, the monument and museum offer a variety of exhibits related to aviation.

The closest airport to OBX is the Norfolk International Airport, 82 miles (131 kilometers) north. You can also reach the barrier islands via a scenic drive down U.S. Route 158 East or U.S. Highway 64 East. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) also offers daily ferry trips to major OBX destinations.

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