Museums Galore in the Outer Banks
No matter where you are staying in the Outer Banks, there will always be a museum nearby filled with amazing exhibits, various historical facts and fun educational opportunities for the whole family to enjoy.
If your fun in the sun got rained out, or if you just want to set aside a day…
here are our picks of the top 10 Outer Banks museums worth exploring.
- Hatteras Histories & Mysteries Museum
40534 NC Highway 12
Avon, NC (252) 995-4241
Free guided tours are led by experts who take you through history beginning in 6,000 BC all the way to World War II. The museum is filled with rare artifacts and displays of unique information you won’t want to miss out on. A special gift store, historical books, games, glassware and educational project kits are all waiting for your arrival!
- Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Museum
46375 Lighthouse Road
Buxton, NC (252) 995-4474
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. 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. 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.
- Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
59158 Coast Guard Road
Hatteras, NC (252) 968-2995
This museum is dedicated to the history and shipwrecks that occurred off of the Outer Banks coast. The owners of the museum hope to pass on their knowledge of maritime heritage and the shipwrecks of the Outer Banks, which is dangerously close to being lost forever. The goal—to preserve the legacies of these local, regional and national shipwrecks for both present and future generations.
- The Corolla Wild Horse Museum at The Historic Corolla Schoolhouse
1126 Schoolhouse Lane
Corolla, NC (252) 435-8002
With information on the Wild Mustangs of Corolla, photos and interactive exhibits, this museum, located in the restored Old Corolla Schoolhouse of 1901, is the perfect place to learn more about the history of wild horses that have freely roamed the beaches of the Outer Banks for more than 500 years. Kids’ activities are available outside as well as the chance to pet a live horse that comes to visit once a week.
- Frisco Native American Museum & Natural History Center
23645 NC Highway 12
Frisco, NC (252) 995-4440
The owners of this museum have taken care of the land and created a museum filled with a collection of exhibits, artifacts and natural history displays. By visiting the Frisco Native American Museum, you will witness authentic arts and crafts from around the nation as well as instruments, tools and other hand-crafted items that reveal a glimpse of Native American life. Be sure to walk through one of the nature trails nearby.
- Roanoke Island Festival Park
1 Festival Park
Manteo, NC (252) 475-1500
The Roanoke Island Festival Park is one of the top attractions to visit in the Outer Banks if you are looking for fun, educational opportunities, nature, family-friendly activities and lots of history! Located across the Manteo waterfront, the Roanoke Island Festival Park is where people of all ages can enjoy a variety of both outdoor and indoor activities, plus concerts and special events! Also located at the park is the Outer Banks History Center, home to centuries of Outer Banks information available for scientists, journalists, writers, educators and the general public.
For more info, click here.
- North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
374 Airport Road
Manteo, NC (252) 475-2300
Home to the largest collection of sharks in the state of North Carolina, the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island gives you plenty of opportunities to both witness and interact with live animals! Plus, there are numerous family-friendly activities and programs throughout the year.
- Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education
Currituck Heritage Park
Highway 12, Corolla (252)453-0221
The Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education is a free museum that explores North Carolina’s coastal wildlife, history and coastal heritage. On display you will find an aquarium stocked with the fish native to Currituck Sound. You can also shop at the nature-inspired N.C. Wild Store.
- Wright Brothers National Memorial
1000 North Croatan Highway
Kill Devil Hills, NC (252) 473-2111
The Outer Banks’ rich history includes a historic moment in time. Kill Devil Hills in Kitty Hawk, NC saw the advent of flight, when the Wright Brothers took their historic first attempt. Your visit to the Outer Banks wouldn’t be complete without seeing the memorial that commemorates this piece of history.
For more info about this amazing event, click here.
- The Whalehead Club at Heritage Park
Historic Corolla Park, 1100 Club Road
Corolla, NC (252)453-9040
Built in the 1920s at the request of Edward Collins Knight Jr., it was the only hunting club of the time open to women. Today, the mansion is open for tours and is a beautiful example of this era’s construction and architecture. Throughout the building you will find a variety of house items and furniture as well as stories of the past revealing the history, heritage and legends of Corolla in the 1920s. The mansion also provides beautiful views of the Currituck Sound.