October 2014

Pick Up a Copy!

SlideshowSlideshow Loading
previous next
  • lnm

    Brad Styron -
    The iconic Cape Lookout Lighthouse along the southern end of the Outer Banks at the Cape Lookout National Seashore.
  • lnm

    Stephen Beaudet -
    At Shackleford Banks, a 9-mile island along the southern end of the Outer Banks, you can see wild horses run free.
  • lnm

    -
    The luxurious 88-room Sanderling Resort, which is unveiling two new swimming pools, lobby bar and deck this spring, is a a great home base for exploring Duck and Corolla in the northern Outer Banks.
  • lnm

    -
    Catching a wave at Cape Hatteras of the North Carolina coast.
  • lnm

    -
    Kiteboarding at Cape Hatteras
  • lnm

    -
    Some of the best kiteboarding conditions in the country can be found at Cape Hatteras along North Carolina's Outer Banks.
  • lnm

    -
    The quaint town of Duck at the northernmost section of the Outer Banks has shops, restaurants, art galleries and miles of pristine beaches.
  • lnm

    -
    Highway 12 is the main route that connects most of the islands and beach communities at the Outer Banks.
  • lnm

    -
    Jockey's Ridge State Park
  • lnm

    Stephen Beaudet -
    Cape Lookout Lighthouse
  • lnm

    -
    Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head has one of the tallest natural sand dune systems in the country. If you’re feeling adventurous, schedule a hang gliding lesson with Kitty Hawk Kites. You can even sail above the sand dunes while piloting an exact replica of the glider the Wright Brothers used to take flight in 1902.
  • lnm

    -
    At Fort macon State Park along the southern end of the Outer Banks, you can explore miles of pristine beaches, fish in the warm Gulf Stream waters and tour a restored Civil War fort.
  • lnm

    -
    The 13-acre Sanderling Resort in Duck boasts two swimming pools, gourmet restaurant, 88 spacious guests rooms with private balconies overlooking the ocean or the serene waters of Currituck Sound, along with a luxurious spa and nearby golf course and tennis club.

Outer Banks Bound

By Sam Boykin

Posted: Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013

Share Share

Although it’s about a seven-hour drive from Lake Norman to the Outer Banks, it’s well worth the trip. This 200-mile stretch of barrier islands along the North Carolina coast has everything from adrenaline-pumping water sports to beautiful nature preserves and pristine beaches perfect for lounging in the sun. And now is a great time to go as you can enjoy idyllic spring temperatures without the summer crowds. Here we map out a travel itinerary that includes some of the top not-to-be-missed destinations.

High-Flying Fun

You’ll arrive at the Outer Banks via Highway 64, which intersects with Highway 12, the main route that connects most of the islands and beach communities. Head north and the first town you’ll come to is Nags Head, best known for Jockey’s Ridge State Park, which has one of the tallest natural sand dune systems in the country. Here you can go hiking and sand-boarding or rent a kayak and explore the calm waters of the Roanoke Sound. If you’re feeling adventurous, schedule a hang gliding lesson with Kitty Hawk Kites. From Nags Head it’s about a five-minute drive to Kill Devil Hills, where you can explore the Wright Brothers National Memorial and climb to the 60-foot tower where Wilbur and Orville first took flight in 1903. By now you’ve probably worked up a thirst, so grab a beer and some crab legs at the Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills, the country’s first wind-powered brewery.

Northern Exposure

At the northern tip of the Outer Banks are the two resort towns of Duck and Corolla, both great destinations for watersports, shopping and fine dining. In Duck, the luxury 13-acre Sanderling Resort is unveiling a multimillion-dollar renovation in April, including two new swimming pools, an expanded lobby bar and deck and a revamped restaurant, which specializes in seafood and Lowcountry menu items. Accommodations include 88 spacious guests rooms, all with private balconies overlooking the ocean or the serene waters of Currituck Sound. Guests here can enjoy a luxurious spa, nearby golf course and tennis club, along with seven miles of pristine beaches. In Corolla, about 15 miles north of Duck, you can climb to the top of the northernmost lighthouse on the Outer Banks, rent a Jeep and go four-wheeling along the beach or visit the Corolla animal sanctuary where about 100 wild Spanish horses run free.

Catch A Wave

Jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Hatteras is the Outer Bank’s most southeasterly point. Thanks to its prominent location, steady winds, short continental shelf and shallow sandbars, some of the country’s best surfing and kiteboarding conditions are found here. For expert instruction, schedule a lesson with Real Watersports, which also has a 21,000-square-foot retail store and an expansive deck overlooking the water where you can grab a bite to eat and a cold beer at the deli-style restaurant. For accommodations, there’s Watermen’s Retreat, a three-story condo development with two- and three-bedroom units with full kitchens just steps away Pamlico Sound, an 80-mile stretch of gentle, waist-deep water ideal for kiteboarding. If surfing is more your thing, grab your board and walk across Highway 12 to the ocean.

Crystal Coast

The southern end of the Outer Banks is known as the Crystal Coast, and it includes the 56-mile Cape Lookout National Seashore, a state park and preserve with several pristine islands and beach communities. In the charming little town of Beaufort, which is based around a waterfront park with shops, pubs and restaurants, you can visit the North Carolina Maritime Museum, which has a full-scale exhibit of the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, which ran aground here in 1718. From Beaufort, take a ferry to Shackleford Banks, where feral horses run free, or to Cape Lookout National Seashore, a great destination for swimming and fishing or getting a bird’s-eye view of the beach from atop the iconic 163-foot Cape Lookout Lighthouse. At nearby Fort Macon State Park, located in Atlantic Beach on Bogue Banks, explore miles of pristine beaches and tour a restored Civil War fort.

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more