23 August 2022
By Jennifer LeVine, Assistant General Manager
There are many free and fun options while visiting the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Want to take a break from your oceanfront hotel rooms in the Outer Banks? Here are 6 free things to do in the OBX.
Ghost Crabbing is a good family activity. After dark, from late May to early September, you only need a flashlight to find these crabs. They can grow anywhere from 2-4”. Their eyes can see in all directions, so the key tip is to walk quietly.
Shelling is a popular activity. The best time to look is the hour before and the hour after low tide. Early in the morning or after a storm are also good times. You will find many options along the Outer Banks, from razor clams to scallops to lightening welch. You can also find scotch bonnet shells if you go further south towards Hatteras and Ocracoke. Whether you find a perfect shell or not, you will definitely find some to take home as souvenirs.
Not too far from our two oceanfront hotels, you will find Fort Raleigh. It is located on Roanoke Island in Manteo and is preserved due to the significance of the first English Settlement in North America in 1587. At Fort Raleigh, there is a visitor center, trails to explore, and Ranger Talks provided by the NC Park Service. You will also be able to visit the Freedman’s Colony site. There is a lot of history in this little area.
Another great spot for history, both local and national, is The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. This museum is located in Hatteras Village, just past the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It is easy to see both on the same day. This maritime museum focuses on the maritime history and the shipwrecks of The Outer Banks. There is even the original Fresnel lens from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and a “war room” that highlights the Outer Banks involvement from Revolutionary to Civil to World War II and so on. It is really a quite interesting stop to make. There is beach access to the point there as well.
You will find the wild horses at the other end of the island in Corolla. These wild Spanish Mustangs are unique to Corolla and Currituck Counties, and you won’t find them anywhere else in the world. The ones you see today are direct descendants of the horses that came ashore in shipwrecks in the 1500s. You can walk or drive to see them, and an afternoon outing is the best time. Please remember not to feed these majestic creatures and keep your distance – at least 50’.
Sand Dune Exploration
in Nags Head is also a fun and free activity. The sand dunes there are the largest living sand dunes on the East Coast. You and your family, even your furry family, can explore the tall dunes or play in the sound. There is also a nature trail. From the top, the sunset is spectacular! While the dunes are all sand, an observation deck near the visitor’s center will allow for viewing. Plan to spend a little time inside the visitor’s center when you go. There is a lot of information on the animals and plants and how the weather effects the shifting shape of the dunes.
There are many other free activities to do while you are visiting either one of our oceanfront hotels. Check out our outer
for Outer Banks vacations! Ask the Front Desk or any employee, and we will be glad to help. Safe travels, and we hope to see you soon!