Most everyone on the Outer Banks knows where the Outer Banks Brewing Station is located. It’s a very interesting building, designed by local architect Ben Cahoon, an architectural nod to the turn-of-the-century lifesaving stations including a 30 foot boat-shaped bar and brick inlays in the dining room floor that point to the ocean and were collected over the years from cottage debris that washed to shore. Located at Milepost 8.5 on the bypass in Kill Devil Hills, what makes it most noticeable is the wind turbine in the backyard, and yes, it is functional. But, what the Brewing Station is really known for is excellent beer and food and great live entertainment.
Soft sand and vast uncrowded beaches are just two reasons thousands of visitors pack their cars, load up their families and head to the Outer Banks. But, it is not just people who look to the Outer Banks as the perfect summertime haven.
From mid-May to mid-September sea turtles emerge from the surf and onto the beach for the purpose of laying eggs. This activity tends to be more active on the southern beaches, but if you’re vacationing on the Outer Banks from the southern island of Ocracoke and north to the town of Duck, you may experience egg laying or the birth of baby sea turtles.
During your next Outer Banks vacation, why not schedule an adventure that includes exploring a few unique town highlights? This is a great way to learn more about Outer Banks’ towns and communities, while enjoying time spent with family and friends. Some selections are well known, while others are hidden gems, but all allow visitors to explore extraordinary features of the Outer Banks.
COROLLA: Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education
Located in Currituck Heritage Park, the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education shares the grounds with the Whalehead Club and Currituck Beach Lighthouse, two sites that seem to receive all the press. The museum, though, is every bit as fascinating as its famous neighbors. This remarkable museum guides visitors through the history of Currituck Sound and its ecosystem and is filled with family friendly exhibits and hands-on demos.
If you’re on the Outer Banks during springtime, there’s one place that locals and visitors alike absolutely must visit. Just over the Wright Memorial Bridge on the mainland, there’s an inviting sign that reads “Strawberries,” and a smaller sign below that that reads “Open Today.”
Turn right after the sign. The road is called Pine Lane, although almost no one knows that. About 200 yards up, turn right again onto the dirt road with the strawberry banner to enter strawberry heaven.
Only on the Outer Banks..
The Outer Banks is home to some of the most diverse and thrilling outdoor activities that you will find on a family vacation. Although some of these activities are popular in other parts of the country, ours are unique because the Outer Banks offers the full package. Nowhere else on the East Coast can visitors enjoy such an array of activities and adventures all on one tiny stretch of coastline.
Extending as far into the Atlantic Ocean as the Outer Banks does, it’s no wonder the surfing conditions here are undisputedly the best on the East Coast and rival many well
known surf spots around the world. Surfers can enjoy dramatically different conditions depending on where they paddle out on the Outer Banks, based on the currents and the wind. It is hard to recognize the best surf spots, because they vary from year to year depending on where the sandbars form. Some popular sites in the past have been S Curves and the Rodanthe Pier down south, and the relatively even shore breaks of Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. Tune in to any local radio station in the morning, and you’re likely to hear the excited chatter of the daily surf report. WVOD 99.1 is a great resource with voices from Corolla to Avon.
The history of the Outer Banks includes a number of unsavory characters, namely, derelict pirates. This brings to mind the old saying, “Ho, ho, ho and a bottle of rum,” and the exciting new topic of an upcoming business, Kill Devil Rum and Outer Banks Distilling, that has everyone talking.
Located in the town of Manteo, partners Scott Smith, Matt Newsome, Adam Ball and Kelly Bray just opened the first Outer Banks distillery. Or, more accurately, the first legal distillery on the Outer Banks! The partners have an extensive background in beer brewing, having worked at the Outer Banks Brewing Station before venturing into the world of distilled spirits.
For many of our guests who come to the Outer Banks, a visit to the gym is an important part of their daily ritual. For others, an Outer Banks getaway includes a chance to include a good daily workout that seems impossible at home. For those who want to include a vigorous work out during their stay, there are some very good local gyms that offer everything from treadmills to kickboxing.
The Outer Banks YMCA in Nags Head has it all—exercise classes, indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, basketball courts . . . they even have a skate park. The largest facility on the Outer Banks, the Y has the widest range of activities for the whole family.
After the front passed out to sea, a clear and cool day dawned on the Outer Banks. The Atlantic Ocean, still in turmoil from the passing storm, was thundering ashore, and the crescendo and decrescendo of each wave as it collided into and retreated from the beach carried easily a half mile inland.
The waves were not that large, yet there was a thunderous power to them as they crested and then crashed into the surf with the slowly retreating tide. At its highest point the storm had pushed the sea’s waters to the very base of the dunes, but those mounds of sand held and the ocean never encroached upon the homes or road along the shoreline.
The cooler Outer Banks winter months bring a slowdown in activities but that doesn’t mean the fun ceases to exist. It’s true that some restaurants and businesses close after the holiday season and don’t reopen until March, and others reduce hours and services, but there remain some very good reasons to visit the Outer Banks. Here are just a few:
1. Wright Brothers National Monument: The Wright Brothers Monument in Kill Devil Hills is one of the most visited National Park sites. In summer months, there are lots of people walking through the exhibits, listening to the historic interpreters and enjoying the monument and outlying view. The memorial is also open and available to guests during the winter months. Offseason visitors can still enjoy the historic monument and elevated views, but fewer people allows for a more relaxed experience to absorb interpreter information and freely ask questions about this historic moment in human history.
For those visiting the Outer Banks in the winter months, it becomes quickly apparent that the pace of life during the off-season months is much slower than during the summer. That’s good for residents since it would be tough to keep up our summer pace year round. It would actually defeat the purpose of why we live here!
Along with the slowdown of visitors, our businesses slow down as well—especially restaurants. Some completely close their doors in the months of January and February and many cut back on hours, so finding a place to eat can become a challenge.