Bordered 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.
On this three hour tour, Captain Lee heads out to the shoals dotting Pamlico Sound, sharing his knowledge and experience in equal measures. Anchoring in the shallows of the shoals, he hands out clamming rakes, buckets and instruction and the fun begins.
This truly is a unique adventure for everyone, and Captain Lee’s ability to communicate and motivate kids is fantastic. But the best part of the tour is the clams that go home for chowder, steamer pots or fried delights . . . and there’s plenty of them!
Sanctuary Vineyard Tour
Leaving from the Duck pier located by the Kitty Hawk Kites store, Captain Christine Lester takes people across the sound in a pontoon boat to Dews Island, a hunt club on the mainland side of Currituck Sound.
Passengers then travel on a dirt road to Sanctuary Vineyards on the property of the Cotton Gin located in Grandy, NC. The tasting is a blast! Elton, who has been running the tasting room since it opened four years ago, is extremely knowledgeable and is funny while remaining very professional. As a local resident, I can attest that the quality of their wine productions has pleasingly improved over the past few years so plan to purchase a few selections to take home.
The Thursday tour is a bit longer, giving passengers the opportunity to enjoy their weekley Acoustic Sunset music and outdoor wine tasting. Tours are seasonal, so days and times may vary. Please check first with the tour sponsor, Kitty Hawk Kites, for availability.
Learn to Sail
There are a number of business that offer sailing lessons on the Outer Banks, and overall the feedback is quite positive. However, when asked to choose one place with the widest range of services, equipment and staff, my recommendation is John Britt’s N’orbanks Sailing and Watersports in Duck.
They offer classes for both entry and intermediate level sailors, and instruction is typically geared toward the younger students, but anyone would benefit from their classes. In addition to general classes, N’orbanks also offers private lessons and family instruction.
Fishing on the Sound
There are a lot of ways and places to drop a line in the water and see what takes the bait on the Outer Banks sounds, but the best way to go, especially if kids are involved, is a half day or even a two hour charter on the sound with an experienced captain. There are many captains who are accomplished and skilled, making it difficult to point to just one. I’m going to single out Chad Hemilright of Havin’ Fun Soundside Charters.
Chad grew up in Kitty Hawk and has been fishing local waters all of his life. He gets the nod because of an offhand remark he once made, commenting that one of the things he enjoys most about taking people out is the excitement kids get when they land a fish for the first time. In my mind, that’s a good recommendation.