Here’s a small round-up of the activities we did while on vacation in the Outer Banks!
Jockey’s Ridge State Park – http://www.jockeysridgestatepark.com
The best sand dunes in OBX are located in Jockey’s Ridge state park. The park states the dunes range from 80 to 100 feet from the base! There are a lot of activities occurring on the dunes at any time – hang gliding, kite flying — and you
can also walk up and down them and explore. In addition, there is a small museum that explains the dunes, the area, and some of the wildlife that rely on the dunes.
It was educationally kind of geeky and fun. LOL And walking the dunes was neat! There aren’t many places you can ‘hike’ happily in your bare feet, ya know? 🙂
The park was free to get into, and is open each day from approximately dawn to dusk (hours range by season).
My advice? Take water and go early or late. There’s very little shade out on the dunes, and it gets hot VERY quickly. You’ll be amazed at how thirsty you are as well 🙂
If you’re interested in partaking in the activities that occur on the dunes, I recommend you stop at Kitty Hawk Kites, first, and see what they offer! 🙂 They’re the exclusive excursion provider in the area, so all kayaking, hang gliding, etc goes through them.
Wright Brothers Museum – http://www.nps.gov/wrbr
Admittedly, the husband and I LOVED this stop on our trip. We went in basically thinking ‘Well, it’s here, I guess we should do it….’ but ended up really enjoying it. I think we spent almost 3 hours here!
The museum and grounds are maintained by the National Park Service. As you enter, there is a fee of $4 per adult, which you receive a receipt for – the receipt will get you in for an additional 7 days without paying again. After you enter the grounds, there is a small, built-in-the-1960’s-and-shows-it museum that is very interesting, and then…you can climb to the memorial.
I’m not sure if the dunes or the memorial are higher, but I’m betting the memorial. It’s a beautiful view from the top, and the hike up really isn’t that bad.
When you’ve finished, you walk back down the hill and enter a series of hangers with more information, history, and a gift shop.
Loved this place!
North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island – http://www.ncaquariums.com/roanoke-island
We drove to Roanoke Island to try out the Aquarium one day. We live about 45 minutes from the National Aquarium in Baltimore (aka HUGE aquarium) and this one was significantly smaller, but still very enjoyable. We both agreed it was the perfect size for children — just large enough to keep their attention, but not so big they get tired and cranky. 🙂
$8 per person gets you into the Aquarium, and is useful all day to go in and out. We spent about 2 hours here, and had fun 🙂
Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island – http://www.elizabethangardens.org
We visited the gardens on a whim. We had already driven the length of Roanoke Island, and spent time at the Aquarium, so we stopped here as well. The gardens were created and are maintained by the Master Gardeners in the area. It’s truly lovely and peaceful!
The tour is self-guided, and includes a brochure with information about each ‘area’. The tour is $8 per person, and it took us about an hour to walk through and enjoy it. There are butterflies everywhere!
We had obviously missed ‘rose season’ as the rose gardens had been cut back already, but everything else was still lush and beautiful the beginning of September.