Unique Outer Banks Water Activities

Hatteras ClammingBordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and innumerable sounds to the west, it’s a safe guess that most Outer Banks outdoor activities center around being on the water. With all the opportunities to enjoy time on the water and the extraordinary range of options, here are a few out of the ordinary suggestions for consideration.

Clamming Eco Tour
This is a worthwhile adventure that may be a bit of a trek for our guests. Captain Lee Setkowsky, owner, operator and captain of the Daybreak II of Hatteras Adventures, has a number of tours he does from his slip at Oden’s Dock in Hatteras Village, but the one that seems to be the most family friendly is his Clamming Eco Tour.

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Dynamic Outer Banks “Hot Spots”

The Outer Banks is a remarkably dynamic place with immense sandbars that rise above sea level. Because of this fact, the force of the wind and sea can have a dramatic impact on the shoreline. Yet the majority of the Outer Banks remains stable. Some of this stability is a result of geography or nature; other secure areas are the result of human intervention including South Nags Head’s recent success with beach nourishment.

However, there are some areas that are currently active, and are referred to as “hot spots.” Consistent steps are taken to stabilize these more dynamic areas.

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The Four Seasons of the Outer Banks

Being a part of the Outer Banks community creates a unique perspective on life. In most regions a change in seasons bring an obvious change in lifestyle. But since we reside in a popular resort community with tourism as our main industry, when visitors go home it seems everything in our lives change in distinct ways.

The Outer Banks is a series small towns linked together by a thin ribbon of road and common purpose. For those who genuinely appreciate small town life, winter is a great time of year to be on the Outer Banks.

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Daredevil’s Baseball on the Outer Banks

Daredevils Baseball OBXOuter Banks Daredevils baseball is back for another year at the First Flight High School ball field located in Kill Devil Hills, NC.

There are no aluminum pings when bat meets ball, just the satisfying “pop” of wood connecting with leather that has been a part of baseball since the sport was invented.

Bringing college talent to the Outer Banks, the Daredevils play in the Tidewater Summer League, a wooden bat league that gives college kids who’ve spent their careers playing with aluminum bats, a first chance to experience what playing under major league rules is all about.

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Five Surprising Outer Banks Facts

Every location has surprising nuggets of historical information and the Outer Banks is no exception. Here are five facts about this land by the sea that are likely not well known to those who reside outside of our region.

1. Mother Vine – The Oldest Documented Grape Vine in North America
On the north end of Roanoke Island, on the west side of old US 64 is Mother Vineyard Road—aptly named because it passes by the Mother Vine.

Nags Head WoodsThe exact age of this scuppernong grape vine is unknown. The vine is cited in a land transfer deed in the 1720s, so one can assume it was a mature specimen at that time. Legend has it that when the colonists of the Lost Colony fame arrived, there was a trellised vine growing on that site. Native Americans knew about trellising grape vines even in these early days. If that is the case, this vine is likely the oldest in the world.
2. Kitty Hawk Was a Logging Center
Maritime forests that are so prevalent along the soundside shores of the Outer Banks produce wood that is ideal for commercial use. From the late 19th century until 1930, the village of Kitty Hawk was an important logging center in eastern North Carolina.

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Sounds of the Outer Banks

For those of us who migrated to the Outer Banks as adults, one of the most confusing parts of the local language was the casual use of the various sounds as a way to give a location. It’s still done today, and anyone who’s lived here ten years or more is probably just as guilty as a native of saying, “I was out on Croatan Sound,” thinking that immediately describes a location to a visitor.

Currituck Sound Waterfowl
Currituck Sound Waterfowl

My hope is this blog serves as one part geology and one part linguistic lesson to clarity our local sound waters. There are five sounds that border the Outer Banks. From north to south, they are the Currituck Sound, Albemarle Sound, Croatan Sound, Roanoke Sound and Pamlico Sound. There is no clear delineation indicating when one sound ends and the next begins, simply a general understanding of areas that define these waters.

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History of Outer Banks Town Names

OBX Town NamesRegardless of what pundits, experts, historians or local authorities may say, the name origins of many Outer Banks locations are nothing more than speculation.

Some we know by fact. For example, Currituck comes from an Algonquin native American word meaning “wild geese” or “land of the wild goose.” The spelling is subject to debate which may explain why Caratoke Highway (NC-168) is another way to spell and pronounce “land of the wild goose.”

The tale of how Duck got its name is well-documented, and its origin can be traced back to the town’s first postmaster who labeled the town after its best known feature. And, Frank Stick came up with the name Southern Shores as a marketing tool to sell real estate. However, the origin of other town names is steeped in mystery.

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Winter Wonderland on the Outer Banks

There is a universal perception that when winter arrives Outer Banks sidewalks are rolled up. However, that is not an accurate depiction of life on these sandbars, starting with the fact that there are very few sidewalks and ending with the realization that there is plenty to do during the winter months.

Admittedly, the pace is considerably slower during the months of January and February when compared to activities available in the summer and shoulder seasons months. The winter is actually a wonderful “get away” season at the beach. The pace is slower, the crowds are nonexistent and rates are a great value. Many great restaurants and shops remain open, although night life venues are sparse. Here are just a few option available when you arrive: Continue reading “Winter Wonderland on the Outer Banks”

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Highlighting Outer Banks Museums

Although the Outer Banks has a rich cultural heritage, museums in our area are in short supply. With that said, there are locations that celebrate and document our heritage and region that are worthy of a visit during your vacation stay.

Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education
Located on the grounds of Currituck Heritage Park, which is also home to the Whalehead Club and Currituck Lighthouse, the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education is an extraordinary museum that educates visitors about the ecology and historical significance of the Currituck Sound.

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By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea

By the Sea Outer BanksAh! What pleasant visions haunt me
As I gaze upon the sea!
All the old romantic legends,
All my dreams, come back to me.
-The Secret of the Sea by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There is something extraordinary that occurs as we stand at the edge of a continent and contemplate the sea. A part of this connection is the seemingly endless horizon with occasional silhouettes of ships crossing the waters. We feel fortunate that the Outer Banks sand is soft and warm beneath our feet. The waves crest and roll to the shore with a rhythm that is soothing in its constancy.

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