Experiencing the Outer Banks Scenic Byway - Go Wandering

Experiencing the Outer Banks Scenic Byway

By Shannon Alfes |
Experiencing the Outer Banks Scenic Byway
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Many people in major cities and towns get tired of the hustle and bustle of city life. They tend to save their salaries and wait for the appropriate time of year to take a vacation or go on holiday. With their fixed schedules, deciding on a place to go might be quite a challenge. Taking a vacation can have massive benefits to a family, spouses, or individuals. It gives families time to bond and also eases the tensions of work life. When deciding on where to visit, seasons and weather changes matter immensely. The Outer Banks Scenic Byway begins north of Whalebone junction, the joining of US 64-264, US 158, and NC 12, in Nags Head, Dare County. The byway extends for 138 miles and 25 ferry-traveling miles. It crosses across several islands which include Cedar Island, Ocracoke Island, and Hatteras Island. The route also crosses two inlets through coastal villages. The best time of year to visit the Outer Banks Scenic Byway is September to November when the rates are still low, and crowds have also scattered. Having a week to journey this byway is advised since it gives you or your entire family time to enjoy all the priceless activities that exist here.

Places of Interest

Along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway, there are very many places that will interest vacationers. Known as one of the most beautiful stretches of pavement in North Carolina, the Outer Banks Scenic Byway is just a place of interest on its own. Filled with breathtaking sceneries and tropical beaches, it's truly a place full of wonder. These sceneries include four lighthouses, museums, islands filled with life from the villagers, wildlife, and pocket-friendly hotels. These places give a vast experience of the journey and also lifelong memories. From the different, charming, and coastal towns, right to their contemporary hotels filled with delicious meals and comfort.

 Breathtaking Islands

Getting from one island to another is a hustle, but it is seriously worth it. Once in the byway, visitors will travel across the Bonner Bridge, and to the southern tip of Hatteras Island. Once on Hatteras Island be sure to visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which is situated in Buxton. It’s the tallest brick lighthouse and even one of the most famous in the world. One can also visit the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, which focuses on the hundreds of shipwrecks that have occurred on the outer banks over time. The persistent wind in Hatteras and the natural cove created by the land make the conditions perfect the entire year for windsurfing, kiteboarding, and sailing.

Visitors will later board a free vehicular ferry that takes up to one hour to reach Ocracoke Island. At this point, visitors will drive to Ocracoke Village which is located at the southern tip of the small barrier isle. The beauty of Ocracoke Island and the quaint atmosphere are what keeps the people coming back time and time again. The Ocracoke Village is one of the most charming and isolated coastal towns in North Carolina. Be sure to visit the Ocracoke Lighthouse situated in the heart of the village, as this is one of the oldest lighthouses along the North Carolina coastline.

The next ferry comes into play at Ocracoke Island. Visitors board the Cedar Island ferry, which transports vehicles across Pamlico Sound on a roughly two-hour-long trip. Then it is another drive to Cedar Island. One can make sure the Cape Lookout lighthouse is located just offshore of cedar island, this lighthouse can only be reached by ferry or personal vessel.

Welcoming Villages

Different places in the world have different types of people with various means of going about life. Contrary to the above information, these villages along the Outer Banks Byway have a common cultural heritage that has been shaped by the well-known barrier islands. Visitors will notice that the tiny villages are held together by what they have and do. The villagers build boats, as well as fish, hunt, operate ferries, and even guard the coast. Fishing and hunting are their sources of livelihood and these give a clear indication of their shared culture that goes along with living on the coastal edge. The villagers also tour visitors around the villages, telling them stories of their cultures and how their villages came to be. The vast numbers of museums are also stopover areas to get to learn from not only the people around but also the history of the village.

Attraction Sites & Beautiful Sceneries

The drive across the Outer Banks Scenic Byway takes hours. When just driving through, it might take a shorter time compared to when one makes any stops along the way. It is therefore suggested that one takes several stops and fully enjoys the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you here. With Pamlico Sound on one side and Atlantic on the other, it is truly a fascinating sight. Along highway 12 on the northern tip of North Carolina, be sure to visit Corolla where you will see the graceful and beautiful wild horses on the beaches. “The Spanish Mustang,” as they are called, roam the sandy beaches of Corolla freely. Many visitors seek them out, either to take pictures of them, paint them, or write about them. Seeing these wild horses should be a bucket list item for anyone visiting these areas.

Most visitors understandably cannot wait to get into the water. The Outer Banks cater to outdoor activities, and they also give visitors a chance to bond with nature.  North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is a unique place to visit. You can schedule a dive with the aquarium sharks, and you can also explore the many exhibits and educational research that takes place at the aquarium.

The Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station is also a place to add to your list. This top attraction speaks for itself as one of the historical sites and museums that is truly a game-changer. It is an old structure that was constructed back in 1871 with the mission to search for the souls left at sea, as well as rescue the ones distressed at sea. It was later replaced by the Coast Guard when helicopters made ocean rescue easier.

On a summer vacation, the Outer Banks check off a lot of boxes for the family that many people want to capture. Be sure to use the North Carolina Highway 12, which has plenty of pull-offs with beach access areas. The beach is a favorite spot for visitors who are combing for shells, swimming during the day, and also taking part in recreational activities.

Visiting the Wright Brothers National Memorial is also another part of this journey that connects travelers with the past. It was here that the Wright Flyer lifted from the sands of the Outer Banks for 12 seconds before setting back down and forever changing the history of aviation in the US in December of 1903. Travelers are therefore advised to plan some time to visit all the exhibits and explore the grounds here as you make your way to the first flight boulder, which marks the exact location where the plane left the ground during that first flight.

Fun, Pocket-Friendly Activities

The Outer Banks is filled with endless fun activities to do both as a family or just as an individual. The Lost Colony Play is the second-largest outdoor drama ever performed. This amazing production involves more than 200 different actors! The play is about Sir Walter Raleigh’s attempt to establish a permanent settlement in Roanoke Colony in 1580.

When you are out for some relaxation, it’s good to visit one of the top Outer Banks spas. Outer Bank Spas help you escape into a deep state of relaxation and help you to fully unwind in a tranquil environment. After all, what is better than a massage, a facial, or other extravagant body treatment. Try visiting the Stillwater Spa, where the treatments offered are handcrafted by the owner using organic ingredients.

Creating long-term memories is part of going on a vacation. With beautiful shorelines, boating is a popular activity in the Outer Banks. You can enjoy scenic views and get to know about the area while creating unforgettable memories at the very same time. The Vineyard Voyagers combine boating and wine for a positively memorable experience.

How could one visit this coastline and fail to enjoy the remarkable dishes that are offered? After a long day of exhilarating activities, you will surely be starved. North Carolina is a hub of fishermen who work hard to pull in fresh native green and brown shrimp, blue crabs, tuna, and clams. Many of the restaurants found along the byway offer a variety of meals from gluten-free, vegan, and kid-friendly, as well.

Family-Friendly Activities

Taking a vacation on the Outer Banks Scenic Byway as a family is one of the best things you can possibly do. Being in such places as a family gives you time and plenty of chances to bond. The Outer Banks beaches have been consistently ranked as the best, family-friendly beaches since there are always activities for every single age.

The stores in Ocracoke offer a wide variety of activities to pick from. The most interesting to visit is Kitty Hawk Kites. This spot specializes in kites for kids to extremely high-tech equipment. At Kitty Hawk Kites, you can learn about kiteboarding, buy kiteboarding gear, or even climb the adventure towers. Doing some things for the first time might be challenging or scary, but Kitty Hawks Kites has nearly everything figured out since beginner lessons are offered as well as advanced lessons.

It is never too late to learn new things! At the Oregon Fishing Center, you will be given basic skills on how to fish. The Oregon Fishing Center is open year-round, and a fleet of about 48 ships offers several different fishing excursions. Even if you are not into fishing, be sure to stop by this place in the afternoon, as the boats dock and you will see the catches of the day being unloaded.

Being chock full of activities, visiting the Outer Banks and driving along this mesmerizing route should be at the top of your agenda. From its outstanding activities, widespread beaches, spectacular sites, and also affordable prices, this is the place to go for a fabulous vacation. This place truly showcases the beauty of North Carolina. From one point to the next, you are sure to encounter something new and exciting. The 138 miles of the byway carry heaps of lifelong memories. Before visiting the place blindly, creating a short list of practical considerations and utilizing a few essential itineraries as your starting points is highly recommended. This trip requires you to be fully open-minded about all possibilities, but it could not be more worth it. There are inexhaustible things to do here, and they all are so beyond interesting. Be sure to leave this place with a lot of stories to tell as well as a relaxed mind, body, and soul. The beauty of this place and the unforgettable experiences may just give you the exact peace of mind you need.

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