The Cuisine Scene of the Outer Banks

The cuisine scene of the Outer Banks is wide and diverse, offering restaurants that just seat a few to one that see a few hundred. They serve up food from high stacks of pancakes, fried country ham and grits swimming in butter for breakfast, to plates featuring the latest culinary trends, often made with local ingredients, for dinner. There are coffeehouses that roast and brew their own beans, and restaurants that brew their own beverage of another sort – beer.

Along the Banks, there are seafood-centric restaurants that include oyster bars to fine dining eateries. Some are relatively new on the scene, while others have been feeding families of visitors for generations. Some seafood is done Old School style, crispy fried, while others are crafted with such techniques eleas sous-vide. Other restaurants cater to the surfing community, with Baja-inspired dishes of fresh catch and high quality beef and pork tucked in tortillas with seasonal vegetables and homemade salsa adorning the dishes. Here, look for tropical drinks and buckets of cold beer to temper the spicy heat.

Still others feature Southern cuisine, like barbecue, fried chicken, roasts, and homestyle vegetables. Some you pull up a chair at a wooden bar, and others you sit down at a crisp white linen topped table.Look for restaurants with stunning views of the water; there are numerous offerings that allow diners to gaze out from the dining room, or in some cases, a patio.

Feel like relaxing with family and friends at your cottage? Order up an assortment of dishes from a variety of restaurants, like steamed seafood, barbecue, and the like, and have an effortless patio party with local beer and wine. Not only do you get a great taste of the Outer Banks, but you are left with more time to enjoy your visit to the beach. Many eateries are members of the Outer Banks Restaurant Association (OBRA.)

The OBRA showcases a number of its restaurant partners during special dining events throughout the year.
In early spring the OBRA features scores of restaurants and their cuisine through special events during the Taste of The Beach, a unique – and delicious – perspective of the area during shoulder season. The weekend-long event offers visitors several days of wine tastings, cooking classes, a chowder cook-off, special menu presentations at area restaurants, brewery tours, tapas crawls, and more.

Everything cumulates with the Taste of the Beach Grand Tasting where some two-dozen restaurants and other vendors gather for samples of their food and exhibitions of their hospitality in vying for prizes and recognition. Other unique opportunities to get a flavor of the Outer Banks are through two restaurant weeks, a period where eateries offer specially priced prix-fixe menus as an incentive to come out and try new restaurants and rediscover old favorites. Look for the Spring Restaurant Week and the Fall Restaurant Week. Later in the autumn is the March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction, another event that showcases the talent of local culinary professionals while raising money for the group.

A visit to the Outer Banks provides an opportunity to explore the many culinary offerings from the wide-and-diverse restaurant scene. Each bite is a savory souvenir of the trip.

Roanoke Island Festival Park


A park celebrating the first English settlement in America.


Twenty-three years before Jamestown, there was Roanoke Island. The settlement didn’t survive, but the history, adventure and family fun did. Roanoke Island Festival Park is an interactive family attraction located on 25 acres, across from the Manteo, NC waterfront.

Explore Coastal Algonquin culture and history in the American Indian Town, the Park’s newest exhibit. Longhouses represent the historical homes of American Indians from the region. See our dance circle, planting and harvesting area, work shelters offering activities like rope making, mat and basket weaving, net mending, food preparation, tanning hides and fishing. Climb into the creek-side canoe and then board the Elizabeth II, a representation of one of the seven English ships from the Roanoke Voyage of 1585 and help set the sails, plot your course and swab the decks!

Also visit the Settlement Site and try straw and feather beds, woodworking and games. See the blacksmith 16th century fashion wares. Explore 400 years of Outer Banks history in the hands on Roanoke Adventure Museum fun for all ages. And you won’t want to miss out on The Legend of Two-Path film capturing the main themes of the history and drama between the American Indians and the Europeans.

Enjoy the Art Gallery with monthly changing exhibits, the Fossil Put, Museum Store, Outer Banks History Center and marsh-side boardwalks that surround the site. Walk across the bridge to the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum just a block away, which features a working boathouse and the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. For more information call 252-475-1500 or

Roanoke Island: Crown Jewel of the Outer Banks

Find a quieter slice of life just across the bridge from Nags Heads on historic Roanoke Island.


Only eight miles long and two miles wide, the quaint and peaceful life on Roanoke Island definitely runs on a slower pace. But there’s still plenty to do, from exploring the picture-perfect waterfront town of Manteo to setting out for an adventure with only a kayak and a camera.

Exploring historic Manteo, you’ll find a village of fisherman and artists, store owners and relaxation-seekers. The waterfront town is full of quaint gift shops, art galleries, cafes, delis, bookstores and restaurants. Relax on the docs, visit with the colorful storekeepers, or sip on a cold drink at an outdoor cafe while watching people go by.

Roanoke Island is most famously known for the site of the first English colony in the New World. In the 16th century, Sir Walter Raleigh organized two efforts to settle here, with both attempts ending in failure—the fate of the second string of colonists is still unknown. Learn about the mystery at Roanoke Island Festival Park, a 25-acre island park featuring a recreation of the ship Elizabeth II, settlements sites, performances, films and museums.

Watch the mystery come to life on stage at the neighboring Waterside Theater. The Lost Colony outdoor drama has told the 400-year old history for more than 70 years. The theater and its adjacent gardens are both a part of the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, a 513-acre site that commemorates those early colonists. The park also features a visitors’ center, museum, historic trail, gift shop and picnic area.

Another popular attraction on Roanoke Island is the North Carolina Aquarium. Featuring interactive exhibits, live animal encounters, daily programs and activities, the aquarium is a favorite for kids. Don’t miss the Graveyard of the Atlantic tank—a USS Monitor replica sits at the bottom of 285,000 gallons of water as tropical fish and sharks swim around.

With history and culture around ever corner, Roanoke Island is a charming place. Explore the scenic streets, parks and attractions, and let yourself indulge in the slower pace of life. Do as the locals do—just relax.

Wright Brothers National Memorial


History of the Wright Brothers and their National Memorial

Defining moments in history are few, and perhaps no single moment has so defined an era as that singular point in time—10:35 a.m., December 17, 1903—when the Wright Flyer, with Orville Wright at the controls, trundled down the tracks laid on the side of a hill, and leaped into the air for a glorious 12 seconds of flight. Exactly 111 years ago today!


It was not only that the airplane flew—it was that it was controlled in flight and landed safely. And perhaps most remarkably, the Wright brothers were able to achieve this feat over and over again.

It was those 12 seconds of flight and three subsequent flights made that day that has forever identified the Outer Banks with the Birth of Flight.

The Wright Brothers National Memorial, located in Kill Devil Hills, is at once a testament to the human spirit and a place where history comes alive. When Orville and Wilbur Wright first came to the Outer Banks, it was a desolate and windswept place—in fact, it was the winds that brought them here.

The location of that first flight is no longer the desolate strip of bare sand of 1903. By the 1920s, the significance of the Wright Brothers’ achievement had become a source of national pride and steps were taken to preserve the site.

The Monument that crowns the stabilized Kill Devil Hill was dedicated on November 14, 1932 on a cold day highlighted by a driving rain. Designed by Rodgers and Poor a New York architectural firm, the 60-foot tower is considered an outstanding example of art-deco commemorative architecture.


A highlighted of any visit to the park is the replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer housed in the rotunda. Talks on the aircraft and how and why the Wright brothers are able to achieve flight on that famous day are delivered at regular intervals throughout the day.

Given by park historians whoa re masters at engaging even the youngest children, these are lectures that adults will find fascinating and educational and are an important part of any Outer Banks vacation.


Fishing Charters in the Outer Banks


Your best bait when it comes to fishing charter in the Outer Banks

For more than 60 years, the Outer Banks has been a destination for anglers from all over the world looking to land a trophy or to fill their freezers. Only rarely are they disappointed. You see, there have been many state and world records set right on the Outer Banks for many species. From the giant blue marlin to the ever-hungry bluefish, the fish are here and in numbers unheard of in most other coastal areas. One of the reasons OBX has such amazing fishing opportunities is because the string of islands is situated at the confluence of two major ocean currents, the southbound Labrador Current and of course the northbound Gulfstream. Many anglers know this, and many more are learning that the OBX really lives up to its reputation as “Game Fish Junction.”

The charter bot fleets along the Outer Banks are among the best in the world. The captains and crews are professional and courteous and will go out of their way to see that your fishing experience will be pleasant and productive. The boats going offshore about 30 or 40 miles will put you into yellowfin and bluefin tuna, marlin, sailfish, dolphin and wahoo. Many times the catch can be incredible with over 500 lbs. of fresh fish going home to your freezer.

But the great thing about charter boats  is you don’t need to be a professional angler to have a good time. Renting a charter boat for a large group of people is extremely popular in the Outer Banks and can be an enjoyable experience for a person of any age. Kids, adults and grandparents alike are sure to have a memorable experience aboard a charter boat, where you can catch fish at a price you can afford!

Here is a list of some fishing charters available in the OBX that will give you a fishing experience that is safe, fun and definitely worth your time!


Backin’ Up In-Shore Charters
Captain Ritchie Howell, 3o years experienced, offers half day, 3/4 day, full day and extended full day in-shore fishing charters. Bait, Tackle and Licenses included.
7665 South Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head-Manteo Causeway
(252) 441-5028

The Country Girl
Enjoy offshore wreck fishing! Departs at 7 a.m. and returning at 4:30 p.m. The Gulfstream charters are available year-round from 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
2000 Sailfish Drive, Manteo
(252) 473-5577

The Crystal Dawn
An exciting half day of fishing on the inlet or sound. Daily trips are available, including evening trips with commentary on the OBX history.
2000 Sailfish Drive, Manteo
(252) 473-5577

Outer Banks Fishing Boating Center
From pontoon boats and skiffs for rent, inshore charter boats, rental rods and reels, bait and tackle, crabbing supplies and a crabbing pier—they really do have it all!
7665 South Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head-Manteo Causeway
(252) 441-5028

Sharkey’s Bait, Tackle & Charters
Offshore, in-shore and sound charters available. A half, 3/4 and full day trips as well as custom trips, dolphin watch, sunset cruises and headboat.
Duck Barrier Island, Duck
(252) 255-2248

T-Time Charters
Offering the best in light tackle fishing, half, 3/4 and full day trips in the back country or ocean year-round and crabbing and sunset cruises.
2000 Sailfish Drive, Manteo
(252) 423-1401

Water Witch Off-Shore Sportsfishing
Off-shore fishing on a 54 foot boat for a full day adventure. Bait, tackle and License included. They will put parties together as well!
Oregon Inlet Fishing Center in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
(757) 679-5815

If you would like to know more about the rules and regulations of charter fishing before heading out into the big blue, see this helpful resource.

Fishing Tips for the Outer Banks


What you need to know about fishing in the Outer Banks

If you don’t already know, the Outer Banks is one of the best places to fish on the East Coast because of the easy access to the barrier islands and the wide variety of ways to fish. Deep-sea, offshore, surf, pier and charter fishing are available in the Outer Banks, making the sport enjoyable for both beginners and anglers alike. If you are visiting the OBX on vacation, the easiest and fastest way to start your day of fishing is off a pier. Fishing piers are located all down the 200-mile long strip of land where you will find all types of fish depending on the month and season.

Outer Banks Fishing Piers:

Avalon Fishing Pier
MP 6, Beach Road
Kill Devil Hills
(252) 441-7494

Avon Fishing Pier
41001 HWY 12
(252) 995-5480

Fishing Unlimited Sound Fishing Pier
Nags Head-Manteo Causeway
Nags Head
(252) 441-5028

Frisco Pier
54211 Cape Hatteras Pier Drive
(252) 986-2533

Rodanthe Pier on Hatteras Island
24251 Atlantic Drive
(252) 987-2323

Jennette’s Pier
7223 S. Virginia Dare Trail
Nags Head
(252) 255-1501

Nags Head Fishing Pier
MP 11.5, 335 South Virginia Dare Trail
Nags Head
(252) 441-5141

Outer Banks Pier
MP 18.5
South Nags Head
(252) 441-5740

If you are curious as to how the fishing conditions are at each pier before you actually make the trip, check the report first to find out the wind, tide and surf conditions, swell direction, weather and much more. Another important task to take care before a day a fishing is to make sure you have your fishing license on you. The Outer Banks doesn’t require a fishing license for pier and charter fishing, but all other types of fishing require a license that you can either purchase online or in-person.

If you want to know more about Outer Banks fishing like tips, best places to cast and more of what to know before you go, check out  this helpful website


Shopping in the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks has been a popular destination for beach goers for decades. Far from the mega complexes that are characteristic of big cities, the local merchants of the Outer Banks have made their living on this 80-mile long strip of beautiful sand beaches.

The quaint character and charm of the one-of-a-kind mom and pop shops that are so characteristic of the Outer Banks will keep you busy and entertained for days. From home décor to souvenirs, area shops are chock full of unique items that echo the spirit of the Outer Banks. Find fashionable clothes and accessories at area boutiques and surf shops. Browse galleries that feature original paintings, sculptures and crafts by local artists.

The area is filled with a wide variety of restaurants, including ones with gluten-free menus that are sure to please any craving, whether it’s an energizing breakfast, a waterside lunch or a scrumptious seafood dinner.
Aside from purchasing some tempting edibles, you’ll be able to find that perfect souvenir you’ve been looking for–or the original creation you didn’t know you needed until it was love at first sight.

The shops of the Outer Banks include everything from surfboards to sand dollars. If you are looking for a unique gift for a loved one back home, handmade glass and jewelry shops abound, with many of these precious stones having rolled in with the tide–literally. Local artists have turned Mother Nature’s wash-ups into beautiful and colorful jewelry.
Other items to be found in the Outer Banks:

  • Paintings, stunning beach photography handmade clothing
  • Last minute items you forgot at home or couldn’t fit in the car
  • Quality surfboards, skim boards, boogie boards and wakeboards
  • Swimsuits, sunscreen, umbrellas, kits and various beach toys
  • Handcrafted hammocks
  • From casual shoppers to serious spenders, all visitors are invited to enjoy the wonderful variety of shops across the Outer Banks!

    Discover Jockey’s Ridge State Park


    The East Coast’s Tallest Sand Dunes

    Picture a quiet beach with miles worth of flawless sand, gentle waves crashing onto shore and a breathtaking view atop of the Eastern Shores’ tallest sand dune structure. Jockey’s Ridge State Park towers high above all in both height and pleasure. The massive dune system spans over five miles northward and is protected by thick maritime forest meandering through the community.

    sand dunes
    The Outer Banks’ tallest point of land boasts more than just sand dunes. Jockey’s Ridge offers three different self-guided tours, water activities and airborne activities. There is also three nature trails to adventure through:

    The Boardwalk

    • 360 feet long
    • Located next to the parking lot
    • Scenic view on either side
    • Informational displays along your walk giving information on plants and animals who reside in the area
    • A deck with a bench as your final destination with a beautiful view of the dunes

    Tracks in the Sand

    • 1.5 mile leveled trail
    • Begins at the parking lot leading its way over the dunes
    • Focuses on the sand dune environment
    • A chance to witness wildlife
    • Must wear shoes on this hike for you never know what plants will be growing in your path!

    Soundside Nature Trail

    • 1 mile loop trail
    • End at a great view of Jockey’s Ridge
    • Concentrates on the ecosystems found in the park



    But that’s not all. People from all over flock to Jockey’s Ridge because it is home to perfect conditions for both onshore and offshore activities. No matter what your age, you will certainly find a fun activity to do while spending the day in this famous Outer Banks destination.

    Water Activities
    On the soundside access of Southside Road, locals and visitors come for an adventurous, yet peaceful day of water sports such as kayaking, windsurfing and swimming. These activities are perfect for family vacations to Jockey’s Ridge because there is a shallow swimming place for the kids and the adults can pick up on new skills while kayaking or windsurfing.

    Sand Boarding
    From October 1st to March 31st, the park permits sand boarding with the possession of a permit from the park office. Sand boarding is similar to snowboarding in that it requires a board with both feet strapped in and uses the same techniques to successfully ride down a dune. However, sand boarding is, of course, taken place on sand dunes, is usually available year-round and you don’t have to wear so many layers! This unique and rare sport is worth a shot if you want to experience a recreational activity that is hard to come by while on a beach vacation, especially on the East Coast.

    sandboarding 4325722077_0594a199ed_z

    Airborne Activities
    There are just two types of airborne activities permitted in Jockey’s Ridge, but trust us, you won’t want to miss out. Have you ever wanted to go hang-gliding? Well, this park is the place for you. Jockey’s Ridge offers the most perfect conditions for hang-gliding, so team up with Kitty Hawk Kites to provide lessons for anyone who is willing to try this exciting sport. Visit the Hang-gliding Facility near the Visitor Center before you hit the dunes to sign up! If you rather not be attached to a kite, why not just fly one yourself? Kite Flying is another popular airborne activity to do while in Jockey’s Ridge because of the awesome view from the top of a ridge. Pick out your favorite kite and then let it fly!





    CLICK HERE to read more about State Parks in the Outer Banks. 



    10 Amazing Attractions in the Outer Banks


    Family Fun Activities in the Outer Banks

    While the pristine beaches remain the biggest draw to the Outer Banks, it’s the dozens of exciting destinations that sets them apart from other coastal resort areas. Let’s take a look at 10 spectacular sights that will make your vacation unforgettable.

    Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
    Measuring more than 150,000 acres of wetland, Alligator River is the perfect destination to witness wildlife, observe platforms, fish, kayak and much more. With five diverse trails to adventure through, this refuge is filled with habitats that are home to some of the most rare animals on the East Coast, from wood ducks and alligators to red wolves and black bears.


    Bodie Island Lighthouse and Marshes
    Pronounced “Body” Lighthouse, this attraction located just south of Nags Head has been catching the eye of those who drive by for hundreds of years. This black and white horizontal structure is more than just a lighthouse—it is a symbol of history. Starting in 1837, the Bodie Island Lighthouse was constructed three different times before it was stable and functional enough to provide a beacon to passing ships. Today, the attraction is beautiful pit stop surrounded by a mixture of maritime forests and marshlands.

    Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve
    As the largest maritime forest remaining in North Carolina, this 2,500-acre forest boasts more than just hiking trails and marshes. Well-preserved dunes and a dozen rare animal species and plants are scattered throughout the area making it one of the most unique natural communities on the East Coast.

    Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
    Being one of the most famous symbols in the nation, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse serves as a visitors’ center and museum highlighting the island’s maritime history. As the tallest brick lighthouse in the country, people from all over come to climb the 257 steps it takes to get to the top of this well-known landmark where they will witness breath-taking views. The beacon at the top of the lighthouse can be seen from 20-miles out to sea and has been a guide for ships for over 100 years.

    The Elizabeth Gardens
    Discover what is beyond the beach at this 10-acre garden of wonder. Enjoy the presence of flowering shrubs, herbs, flowers, Renaissance statues, native plants and more as you stroll through this elegant and enchanting attraction located on National Park Drive. Representing the Elizabethan explorers that settled here, this garden is full of both history and breath-taking beauty.

    The Lost Colony
    As America’s first and longest Outdoor Drama, The Lost Colony is an exciting reenactment story written by Pulitzer-Prize winner Paul Green and performed under the stars at the beautiful Waterside Theater. Presented nightly June through August (except Sundays), this show is a wonderful way to bring the family together on a night out in Roanoke Island.

    See here for a glimpse into The Lost Colony

    Jennette’s Pier at Nags Head
    Known for the best place to fish in the Outer Banks, this 1,000-foot long ocean pier has become so popular over the years that it’s now home to large fish tanks, educational displays, a tackle, gift and snack shop and a bath house. Both beginners and experts come here from all over to get hooked on some of the best catch in North Carolina. With special events happening all year long, Jennette’s Pier is a great place for fishing, family and fun!

    Jockey’s Ridge State Park
    Home to the tallest sand dune system on the East Coast, Jockey’s Ridge is a pleasurable park for both a quiet and adventurous beach day. This park is most famous for its flawless dunes, but also for its three wildlife trails and perfect conditions for hang-gliding.


    Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
    A 5,834-acre refugee home to more than 265 species of birds, this island is available to explore year-round. Canoe tours offer an up-close look at all the wildlife that roams the area as well as trails surrounded by lovely ponds and marshes full of nature. Observe “turtle pond” from above on the boardwalk or paddle through the Atlantic Ocean to the Pamlico Sound to witness jaw-dropping views.

    Wright Brothers National Memorial
    Once you have spotted the 60-foot granite monument, you have found what leads to a National Park with a full-scale reproduction of the original plane, information services, the history of the Wright Brothers and much more. Aviation enthusiast, history lovers and just about any Kill Devil Hills visitor flock to this memorial destination for a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience history.