Navigating the Outer Banks

Navigating the OBXTravelling through the Outer Banks is remarkably easy since there are only two directions one can go, north or south. The two exceptions to this rule are Colington Island and the town of Manteo (located on Roanoke Island), which are both situated to the west.

In the heart of the Outer Banks, there are two main roads for travel through the towns of Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head: US 158 and NC 12. These highways each have two reference names, US 158 or Croatan Highway and NC 12 or Virginia Dare Trail. When using GPS or SIRI for directions, it’s important to use the street names for both road systems.

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Military Planes Along the Outer Banks

Ah, yes. A perfect Outer Banks beach day. Not a cloud in the sky, and there’s just enough of a breeze from the southwest to keep the heat from being oppressive. The ocean water temperature is somewhere around 73 or 74 degrees—cool and refreshing.

One of the ubiquitous biplanes of the Outer Banks flies by, towing a banner for a local restaurant, flying from south to north.

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Navigating Outer Banks Terminology Part II

Navigating on the Outer Banks is simple; everything is either north or south. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and extensive bays, estuaries and sounds are to the west. Even at it’s widest point, the Outer Banks is barely two miles across.

Nonetheless, when asking directions and a resident casually replies, “Oh, yeah, that’s in Colington,” your confusion will likely continue. We hope this helps to understand our region and assuming terminology.

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Navigating Outer Banks Terminology Part 1

Every area has its own phrasing to describe how to get around their community. First time travelers to New York City likely won’t know references to the “Village” mean Greenwich Village. The same logic applies to San Francisco’s Nob Hill or Kensington in London. Those new to the Outer Banks will find local lingo is quite similar.

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Outer Banks and WWII

When the War was at Our Doorstep

OBX WWII Submarine
Photo courtesy of the OBX History Center

The history of the Outer Banks is filled with the tales of pirates and sea battles. But not all the battles fought off the coast of North Carolina were shrouded in the mists of history and legend. One of the most horrific battles of WWII was the Battle of the Atlantic, and North Carolina was on the front lines of that struggle.

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