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.
On the south side of the Wright Brothers Monument, a westbound turn onto Ocean Bay Boulevard leads back to the community of Colington. As an unincorporated part of Dare County, Colington is not actually a part of Kill Devil Hills, but since the only road to the island is through Kill Devil Hills, one would assume it is a part of the town.
Colington is its own community that consists of a smattering of stores and small restaurants. It’s also the home of Billy’s Seafood that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives when Guy Fieri brought his show to the Outer Banks.
The island is one of the oldest settled areas on the Outer Banks. In 1663, the Lords Proprietors of the Carolinas granted this area to Sir John Colleton, a British noble. Although there is no record that Colletion visited his New World holdings, his name lives on in Colington Island. The established plantation was an abysmal failure which ceased operations by the 1670s.
First Flight Village
Located just to the north of the Wright Brothers Monument, First Flight Village is a community that is completely residential. Its boundaries are somewhat ill-defined, but West 1st Street is the heart of this community.
For those lucky enough to be on the Outer Banks during Halloween, the homes on West 1st going south to Canal Drive put on the most amazing Halloween display imaginable. This celebratory event is one worth experiencing at least once.
As early as the 1830s Nags Head tourism had found a foothold in the town of Nags Head. There is a historic district along the Beach Road, although it is rarely used as a reference point. More likely, locals will refer to either Jockey’s Ridge, which is visually unmistakable, or Whalebone Junction.
Whalebone Junction is the intersection of US 158 (the Bypass) and US 64. It is either the beginning or the end for the routes, depending on how this point is viewed in your travels.
Village at Nags Head
Bordering Jockey’s Ridge to the south, the Village at Nags Head is a large subdivision that is often used as a reference point for directions, typically when providing directions to residential areas that are on the west side of the Bypass.