Through the month of July we have been sharing ideas for summer staycations. Today we head to one of the most popular vacation destinations on the East Coast. The Outer Banks of North Carolina.
175 miles of pristine beaches, quaint towns, and historic islands. “You can find your own quiet little piece of island, regardless of how many folks are down here. There’s always a little nook and cranny to explore.” The Outer Banks has been the setting for family vacation memories for generations, include for Meteorologist Myles Henderson. This is him enjoying a beach day in 1986.
If you’re looking for fun ideas outside of a relaxing beach day. Check out one of the many lighthouses like the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla. “These lighthouses built in the 1800s are beautiful. They have aged so well architecturally, and they were intended to be fabulous” says Meghan Agresto, Site Manager at the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. “We ask almost everybody, have you been here before and so many of them are like, not since I was six and they are here with their kids.”
It’s 220 steps to the top of the lighthouse but when you get there, it’s a great view. Less than a mile between the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck Sound. Agresto says, “We do have fans all the way up, our windows are wide open, so we do have air flow, and once you get to the top there is almost always a beautiful breeze.”
Just steps away from the lighthouse is the Corolla Wild Horse Museum. A great place to learn about the herd of Colonial Spanish Mustangs that roam freely on the northernmost Currituck Outer Banks, only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles. There are several local wild horse tour companies that can get you to the herd, but there are two important rules… Stay at least 50 feet away and do not feed them.
Another spot to check out is Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head. Jockey’s Ridge is the largest active sand dune on the East Coast. This mountain of sand is about 80 feet tall and offers an incredible 360-degree view. Joy Greenwood, Superintendent at Jockey’s Ridge State Park says “It gives you a great idea of how small our island actually is, how very narrow a strip of sand that we are standing on.”
Jockey’s Ridge is the smallest of the North Carolina state parks but it gets the most visitors, last year… 1.8 million. It’s a great location to fly a kite, try out hang gliding, or just explore nature. But the most popular thing to do at Jockey’s Ridge is to watch the sunset. Greenwood says, “Every sunset is unique and beautiful. When I first started here at Jockey’s Ridge I thought after a while I’d get tired of it, it would get kind of old news and I was totally and completely wrong. It’s absolutely beautiful. The colors are different every single night.”
For more information on these locations and other things to do on the Outer Banks, check out these links…
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