Outer Banks Nature and Outdoor Oriented Attractions

The Outer Banks landscape is a mesmerizing geographic wonder. Climb Jockey’s Ridge to see the Atlantic Ocean to the East, the sound to the West and the variations between thin strips of sand and flat marshland in between. Fortunately for you, Outer Banks outdoor activities aren’t limited to sunning on the beach and swimming in the ocean. Take advantage of the beautiful landscape by participating in activities that put the warm sun over your head and sea salty air in your lungs. With Outer Banks outdoor activities, you can look for native animals and plants in wooded nature preserves, take vehicle tours to find some wild ponies playing in Corolla, stand over the water on a pier, take a fishing trip with a captain who knows all of the top fishing spots, visit docks to watch boat captains and mates unload the day’s catches, promenade through lovely gardens and take nature-oriented classes at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, the Ocean Center in Avon or the Wildlife Education Center in Corolla. With such a wide selection of activities, you’ll stay busy and entertained. Check out the below listings of Outer Banks outdoor attractions that you can enjoy during your visit to the beach.


Outer Banks Attractions by Area

Corolla | Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills & Nags Head
Roanoke Island & Manteo | Hatteras Island | Ocracoke Island

Outer Banks Attractions by Category

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

Outer Banks Nature & Outdoor Oriented
Milltail Road, off U.S. Highway 64, Manteo
(252) 473-1131

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a 154,000-acre refuge on the mainland portion of Dare and Hyde counties. It was established in 1984 to preserve and protect a unique wetland habitat type, the pocosin, and its associated wildlife species. Pocosin is a Native American word meaning ‘‘swamp-on-a-hill’’ and is characterized by poorly drained soils high in organic material. The Refuge's diversity... read more

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a 154,000-acre refuge on the... read more

Back Beach Wild Horse Tours

Outer Banks Nature & Outdoor Oriented
1159-H Austin Street, Corolla
(252) 453-6141

Back Beach Wild Horse Tours' highly trained staff has a great reputation for being entertaining and informative. Their tours last two hours and incorporate quite a bit of local history to complement the sightseeing while showering you with interesting lore. In the four-wheel-drive area you’ll see the Corolla wild horses grazing in their natural habitat and the occasional deer and surfing dolphins. Back Beach tours are given in safari-style,... read more

Back Beach Wild Horse Tours' highly trained staff has a great reputation for being entertaining and... read more

Back Country Wild Horse Safari

Outer Banks Nature & Outdoor Oriented
Meet at Corolla Light Town Center, 1109 Ocean Trail, Corolla
(252) 453-0877

Scott Trabue’s Wild Horse Safari is an off-road eco-adventure that will deliver you and your family directly to the wild Spanish mustangs that have thrived on the northern Outer Banks for nearly 500 years. Your naturalist guide will carry you in custom open-air Safari Cruisers through 30 miles of beaches, dune and backcountry sand lanes to discover the Outer Banks’ unique wildlife. Shore life including... read more

Scott Trabue’s Wild Horse Safari is an off-road eco-adventure that will deliver you and your... read more

Bob’s Wild Horse Tours

Outer Banks Nature & Outdoor Oriented
817-B Ocean Trail, Highway 12, Corolla
(252) 453-8602

Bob White is a legend in the horse tour business! He and his highly trained staff have been offering tours since 1996 with a great reputation for being both entertaining and informative. Bob’s tours last two hours and incorporate quite a bit of local history and interesting lore to complement the sightseeing. In the four-wheel-drive area you’ll see the horses grazing in their natural habitat, often along with... read more

Bob White is a legend in the horse tour business! He and his highly trained staff... read more

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station

Outer Banks Nature & Outdoor Oriented
23645 N.C. Highway 12, Rodanthe
(252) 987-1552

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station is the nation’s largest and most complete existing example of the U.S. Life-Saving Service stations that were built along the Atlantic coast in the late 19th century to attend to shipwrecks and rescue survivors. The 1874 Station was the first operational station built in North Carolina, serving until 1954. Chicamacomico has been partially restored, thanks to numerous volunteers who formed a nonprofit... read more

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station is the nation’s largest and most complete existing example of the U.S.... read more

Corolla Wild Horse Museum

Outer Banks Nature & Outdoor Oriented
1129 Corolla Village Road, Corolla
(252) 453-8002

Housed within a historic home in Corolla village, the free Corolla Wild Horse Fund museum shares the wonderful history and legacy of the Banker Strain of Colonial Spanish mustangs. Descendants of Spanish mustangs brought to the Outer Banks nearly 500 years ago, they are a hardy and majestic breed that is teetering on the brink of extinction. The whole family can learn more from their... read more

Housed within a historic home in Corolla village, the free Corolla Wild Horse Fund museum... read more

Corolla Wild Horse Tours

Outer Banks Nature & Outdoor Oriented
1210 Ocean Trail, Corolla
(252) 207-0511

Corolla Wild Horse Tours has been guiding tours to Corolla’s horse country — the four-wheel-drive-only beaches north of Corolla — since 1996. With these experienced and knowledgeable guides, you can sit back and enjoy a comfortable, family-oriented tour. This company uses 15-passenger, open-air safari-style trucks that are safe for any age, including kids in car seats. Along the trip, your guide will tell you about... read more

Corolla Wild Horse Tours has been guiding tours to Corolla’s horse country — the four-wheel-drive-only... read more

Elizabethan Gardens

Outer Banks Nature & Outdoor Oriented
1411 National Park Drive (off U.S. Highway 64) next to Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Manteo
(252) 473-3234

Designed by two of America’s foremost landscape architects to pay tribute to America’s first English colonists, The Elizabethan Gardens is a rare treasure and a beloved Outer Banks attraction. It’s a haven of verdant, flourishing growth and natural prosperity. The gardens are in bloom year round with azaleas, dogwoods, roses, camellias, daphne, a variety of annuals and herbs and much more. Adding exquisite touches are... read more

Designed by two of America’s foremost landscape architects to pay tribute to America’s first English... read more

First Fridays in Manteo

Outer Banks Nature & Outdoor Oriented
Downtown Manteo, Manteo

First Friday is a family-oriented festival held in downtown Manteo on the first Friday of every month from April through December. From 6 to 8 p.m. downtown Manteo’s sidewalks come alive with a wide variety of musical performances and festive activities for all ages. Individual shops and restaurants frequently do their own celebratory activity such as live music, special sales, refreshments and hors d’oeuvres. Dare County... read more

First Friday is a family-oriented festival held in downtown Manteo on the first Friday of... read more

Island Farm

Outer Banks Nature & Outdoor Oriented
1140 N. US Highway 64, Manteo
(252) 473-6500

A living history site, Island Farm interprets daily life on Roanoke Island in the mid-1800s. Visitors feel as if they’ve stepped back more than 150 years as they explore the farm and see interpreters dressed in period attire carrying out the daily activities of the time — tending animals, blacksmithing, hoeing corn, doing laundry, making corn cakes. Hands-on activities and demonstrations may include woodworking, textile... read more

A living history site, Island Farm interprets daily life on Roanoke Island in the mid-1800s.... read more

Jennette's Pier

Outer Banks Nature & Outdoor Oriented
7223 S. Virginia Dare Trail, The Beach Road, MP 16.5, Nags Head
(252) 255-1501

Jennette’s Pier is a state-of-the-art educational center and fishing pier complete with a pier shop, classroom and banquet hall, and it's the newest Outer Banks attraction, drawing thousands of visitors each year. The pier features wide, clean public beaches, free parking and a bath house with outdoor showers. With its mantra of Fishing, Family and Fun, Jennette’s offers something for everyone. There’s world-class fishing, unique... read more

Jennette’s Pier is a state-of-the-art educational center and fishing pier complete with a pier shop,... read more

Lost Colony

Outer Banks Nature & Outdoor Oriented
1409 National Park Drive (off U.S. Highway 64), Waterside Theatre, Manteo
(252) 473-2127

More than 400 years ago, 117 men, women and children sailed from Plymouth, England, in an attempt to settle on Roanoke Island. They vanished just two years later. The only clue left behind was the word “CROATOAN” carved in a tree. The Lost Colony is their story. This outdoor drama is the longest-standing Outer Banks attraction, celebrating its 80th season in 2017!

Written by Pulitzer... read more

More than 400 years ago, 117 men, women and children sailed from Plymouth, England, in... read more