When it comes to vacation destinations, the Outer Banks of North Carolina is a true gem. Known for its stunning beaches and iconic landmarks, this coastal paradise has much more to offer beyond the popular tourist spots. If you're seeking unique and unusual things to do in the Outer Banks, look no further. In this blog post, we will take you on a journey to discover some of the lesser-known attractions and hidden gems that will make your OBX vacation truly unforgettable.
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You Are Going to Love These Unusual Things to Do!
1. Graveyard of the Atlantic
The Graveyard of the Atlantic, a hauntingly beautiful stretch of the Atlantic Ocean off the Outer Banks, is a maritime graveyard that has claimed over 2,000 ships over the centuries. Dive into the rich maritime history of shipwrecks, pirates, and rescues at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras Village (reopening early 2024). This museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the region's seafaring past, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts of all ages. If you have your scuba diving certification, there are a plethora of amazing sites to dive.
2. Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station
If you are into unique things to do in the Outer Bank, you will love this one for its name!! Visit the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station (pronounced chi-ka-ma-COM-i-co) in Rodanthe to learn about the heroic acts of the brave men who served as surfmen in the United States Life-Saving Service. This historic site offers guided tours and showcases the original station, boats, and equipment used during daring rescues. Gain a deeper understanding of the perilous conditions faced by these courageous individuals and their vital role in maritime safety.
Check their event calendar for events and happenings. You may be lucky enough to witness a historic Shipwreck Rescue Reenactment. If you are looking for a unique wedding venue, you can even get married here.
3. Outer Banks Distilling
For those 21 and over, embark on a unique tasting experience at Outer Banks Distilling in Manteo, where you can sample their award-winning Kill Devil Rum. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the distillery and learn about the art of crafting artisanal rum. Discover the history of rum running on the Outer Banks and the role it played during the Prohibition era.
4. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
Escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. This sanctuary is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, fishing, kayaking, guided programs, and wildlife photography. Spot a variety of migratory birds, sea turtles, and other coastal wildlife as you explore the refuge's trails and boardwalks. Be sure to stop by the visitor’s center for information and recent bird sightings.
5. Currituck Banks Reserve
For a secluded and pristine beach experience, head to the Currituck Banks Reserve in Corolla. This protected area is known for its unspoiled beaches, sand dunes, and maritime forests. Take a peaceful stroll along the shore, admire the untouched landscapes, and enjoy a tranquil beach day away from the more crowded spots.
6. Elizabethan Gardens
Indulge in the beauty and serenity of the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo. This lush garden oasis spans over ten acres and features stunning displays of flowers, plants, and sculptures. Take a leisurely walk through the carefully manicured gardens, explore the Renaissance-style gatehouse, and breathe in the fragrant aromas of the blossoming flora.
Click here for more great things to do in Manteo and Roanoke Island.
7. The Sanctuary Vineyard
Wine lover will want to head to The Sanctuary Vineyard for a “grape” experience! Voted NC Wine Grower of the Year, they are a local Outer Banks vineyard growing 30 acres of European vines in coastal sands. Explore their selection of wine with a wine tasting or attend one of their events. The Sanctuary Vineyard also offers Vineyard Voyages, where you enjoy a cruise paired with a wine tasting. How amazing is that? They are also a unique wedding venue for Outer Banks weddings and elopements.
8. First in Freedom: A Cultural of Diversity on the Outer Banks
First in Freedom is self-guided discovery that begins at NCBalckHeritageTour.com. The website gives you the information needs to journey through dozens of visitable points of interest and African American influence. When you visit the Outer Banks, you can discover a few of these legendary touchstones. From the Hotel de Afrique to the Freedman’s Colony, you can experience historic sites and explore the stories that celebrate of African American. Discover the significance of this cultural heritage on the Outer Banks of NC.
9. Nags Head Woods Preserve
Kill Devil Hills, NC
Escape the ordinary and step into the serene Nags Head Woods Preserve. This hidden gem, encompassing over 1,100 acres of maritime forest, offers a sanctuary for nature lovers. Explore the winding trails, meander through ancient sand dunes, and marvel at the diverse ecosystems that call this coastal forest home. Nags Head Woods provides a tranquil retreat, allowing visitors to connect with nature in its most pristine form.
10. Wright Brothers' Garage Monument
Kitty Hawk, NC
The Wright Brothers' Garage Monument stands as a tribute to the innovative spirit of Orville and Wilbur Wright. The monument marks the spot where the brothers built their first glider in a garage. This glider was used to test their theories on flight, before building the first airplane. It's a humble yet powerful reminder of the determination and vision that forever changed the course of history. The monument you see today is a 1987 replica of the 1928 original. Click here to read more about iconic Wright Brothers Memorial.
11. Springer's Point Preserve
Escape to the serene beauty of Springer's Point Preserve on Ocracoke Island. This coastal haven offers walking trails through a maritime forest and marshlands, providing a peaceful retreat for those seeking solitude and natural beauty. As you explore the preserved landscapes, keep an eye out for the remnants of a historic cemetery and the legendary Blackbeard's hideout, adding an element of mystery to this tranquil escape. For more information on how to take an epic day trip to Ocracoke Island, click here.
By venturing beyond the well-trodden paths, you'll discover the captivating stories, natural wonders, and cultural delights that make this destination truly extraordinary. Embrace the spirit of exploration and dive into the unusual things to do in the Outer Banks.
If you are craving more unique things to do, CLICK HERE!
Creating memories that last a lifetime when you pair a unique Outer Banks vacation rental with one of more unusual OBX experiences. Now that you have enough off-the-beaten path itinerary ideas, it is time to select the ideal rental. Click below to start your search today.