On the fourth day of sand, sun and surf, kids may start to think, “Is there anything to do besides swim in the ocean?” The first thought of parents at that point is often, “Now what?”
To calm the fears of parents wondering what to do with a suddenly bored eight-year old, we’ve assembled a list of four outdoor things to do with kids.
Fishing from a Pier
There are five fishing piers from Nags Head to Kitty Hawk—Outer Banks Fishing Pier in South Nags Head, Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head Pier, Avalon Pier and Kitty Hawk Pier. These are great places to have some fun! The Outer Banks Pier, Nags Head and Avalon have a pier house that is staffed with locals who really know what’s happening in the waters. Jennette’s Pier offers classes geared toward kids, and even if you decide not to fish, Jennette’s Pier is worth visiting.
Go Fly a kite
It would be hard to imagine a better place to fly a kite than the Outer Banks. The gold standard is Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The highest sand dune on the East Coast, Jockey’s Ridge is about 100’ above sea level, although that can vary up to 20’ depending on wind conditions. There is nothing to stop the wind at Jockey’s Ridge, so there is almost always an opportunity to put a kite in the sky. With Kitty Hawk Kites just across the street, there is a vast selection available—they sell quality kites of every shape and size. Jockey’s Ridge is not the only place to fly a kite, however. The grounds of the Whalehead Club are ideal, or try flying a kite on the beach! For kids that are a bit older, try a stunt kite—even teenagers will admit flying a stunt kite in the right wind is pretty cool.
Take a hike
There are so many places to take kids for a walk in the woods. Many visitors don’t realize the network of trails that the Outer Banks offers! At one time, a maritime forest stretched from Nags Head north to Corolla. Remnants of that once magnificent wood still remain, and the paths through them are well marked and easily navigated. The two easiest trails are the Currituck Banks trail and the Pine Island Trail, both in Corolla. The Currituck Banks trail is a well-marked 1.5 mile trail through the woods just north of Corolla. The Pine Island Trail is also very easily navigated—it was once the road that led to Corolla, so it’s wide and flat. The trail runs along Currituck Sound from the north end of the Sanderling to Pine Island Racquet Club. Nags Head Woods has the most difficult trails with some surprisingly steep elevation gains. Insect repellant is a must.
Stepping aboard the Elizabeth II, adults will probably think, “Who in their right mind decided to sail from England across the Atlantic Ocean in this?” For kids, it’s a completely different experience. There are actors on hand dressed in 16th century garb telling the story of the crossing and what life was like on the ship. Permanently berthed at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo, the 69’ ship is a fascinating step back in time. A faithful replica of the Elizabeth, one of the ships that originally made the trip Roanoke Island to begin the unsuccessful Lost Colony venture, the Elizabeth II is seaworthy and generally makes at least one journey around the Outer Banks sounds every year. While there, check out the rest of Roanoke Island Festival Park—it’s worth a visit.