Guide to Visiting State & National Parks in the Outer Banks

26 April 2023 |  Published By: Hotels OBX

By Christine Flanagan, Marketing Manager & Facilities Coordinator

Visiting State and National Parks in the Outer Banks: A Must-Do Experience

The Outer Banks, or OBX for short, is a popular tourist destination located in North Carolina. Known for its beautiful beaches, historic lighthouses, and unspoiled state and national parks, the Outer Banks is a must-visit for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. If you're planning to visit the Outer Banks, you should consider adding several state and national parks to your itinerary. Some of these parks include the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Jockey's Ridge State Park, and the Wright Brothers National Memorial. As for accommodations, OBX hotels in Nags Head are a popular spot to be near multiple destinations.

Plan an Outer Banks Tour

While you plan your visit to the Outer Banks, remember that one of the best ways to explore the area is with an Outer Banks tour of the state and national parks. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a great place to start. With over 70 miles of shoreline, visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, and surfing. The park also offers guided tours of its historic lighthouses during the summer, including the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. In the off-season, there are immersive virtual Outer Banks tours you can experience from your OBX hotels in Nags Head or your own home. Another must-visit park is Jockey's Ridge State Park. Known for its massive sand dunes, Jockey's Ridge is a popular spot for hiking, hang gliding, kiteboarding, sandboarding, and birdwatching. Visitors can also take guided Outer Banks tours to learn about the park's unique ecosystem and wildlife. Local’s Tip: This is one of our favorite spots to watch the sunset. For those looking for a more laid-back experience while visiting the Outer Banks, the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve is a great option. This 1,800-acre reserve features hiking trails, kayaking, and birdwatching. Besides walking the trails, the top 2 ways to experience the reserve areby Kayak or Stand Up Paddleboard. Both activities can be done either individually or with a guided tour company. With multiple access options to the reserve from Kitty Hawk, check which is the best option for you.
  • At the end of Ridge Road (Ridge Rd Trailhead),
  • The end of Birch Lane (Birch Ln Trailhead), and
  • At the intersection of Amadas Lane and Colleton Ave (4 x 4 required). 
  • The public boat ramp can be reached from the Bob Perry Launch.

OBX Hotels

When planning your visit to the Outer Banks, be sure to book a stay at one of the many OBX hotels in Nags Head. Its central location is the perfect base for exploring the surrounding area. The Comfort Inn South Oceanfront is in Nags Head, conveniently within walking distance of Jennette’s Pier. This comfortable OBX hotel in Nags Head offers spectacular ocean views, a private outdoor swimming pool, and beach access. Plus, the town offers plenty of dining and shopping options when you need a break from the great outdoors. Located less than 7.5 miles north of the Comfort Inn South Oceanfront is the Comfort Inn on the Ocean in Kill Devil Hills. Another great option for your home away from home on your visit to the Outer Banks. The Comfort Inn on the Ocean is closer to the Kitty Hawk Coastal Reserve when determining which OBX hotel to make a reservation at.

Packing List For Visiting the Outer Banks

Your packing list may vary depending on which park you visit in the Outer Banks. Here’s a list of the top 10 things to bring when you visit the Outer Banks Nation Seashores. If you realize you have forgotten something, check with your OBX hotel front desk team, who can guide you to finding the right spot to pick up necessities.
  1. Sunscreen
  2. Beach towels
  3. Swimsuits
  4. Comfortable walking shoes
  5. Insect repellent
  6. Hats or visors
  7. Beach chairs or umbrellas
  8. Snacks and drinks, especially water
  9. Camera or phone for photos
  10. Binoculars for wildlife viewing
Overall, a visit to the Outer Banks isn’t completed without stopping at least at one of the state and national parks. An Outer Banks tour, it’s a must-do experience for anyone looking to explore the area's natural beauty and rich history. So, pack your bags, book your stay at our OBX Hotel in Nags Head, and get ready for an unforgettable OBX adventure!

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