Outer Banks Attractions

Outer Banks Attractions: Nature and History

Nature envelops every aspect of an Outer Banks visit, and many of the Outer Banks attractions that locals and visitors most visit are associated with the natural world and the extraordinary history that has happened on these islands.

Each town has its own offerings. Corolla, despite the fact that it's the newest developed vacation area here, is resplendent with history – the stately Currituck Beach Lighthouse, an historic mansion built in the 1920s, a restored life-saving station and a village center made up of original buildings that have been repurposed as shops, a school, a spa/salon and more. Of course, other Corolla Attractions focus on nature: a wildlife center, town garden, nature trails and the beloved Corolla wild horses. Farther south, a monument to the first powered flight rises toward the sky the Wright brothers longed to take to (see Nags Head Attractions), while a giant sand dune and lush maritime forest provide places to explore.

Roanoke Island is Home to Many Outer Banks Attractions

Some of the most popular Outer Banks attractions are found in Manteo. Outdoor theater performances of The Lost Colony enchant patrons with the story of the first attempt of colonization in the New World, and the Elizabethan Gardens pay tribute to these colonists. Other Roanoke Island attractions give you a glimpse of life on a mid-1800s farm (Island Farm), of screw-pile lighthouses, of Native Americans who lived here long before the attempts of English colonization and of a Freedman's Colony that was formed toward the end of the Civil War. The NC Aquarium brings the sea and her creatures up close, and the Roanoke Island Festival Park helps you get up close to Outer Banks history with an interactive museum, the representative ship Elizabeth II, period actors who display the behavior and everyday actions of colonists from the 1500s as they interact with visitors, a Native American village and an outdoor pavilion that hosts musical events. 

Hatteras and Ocracoke Attractions Show a Wild Side

Ponies (look at Ocracoke Attractions), bears, wolves and alligators bring a wild side to Outer Banks attractions. And birding in the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge draws visitors from across the country -- see Hatteras Attractions. Then, add to this the fact that you're on islands surrounded by sounds full of dolphin and fish and miles of undeveloped seashore bordering Mother Ocean, and you have a vast bounty of Outer Banks attractions to enliven your experience here.

You’re likely to need more than one visit to take in all that the extraordinary Outer Banks attractions have to offer. Enjoy!

Outer Banks Attractions by Area

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

Jennette's Pier

Outer Banks Attractions
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, classrooms and banquet hall. It's one of the Outer Banks' star attractions, drawing thousands of visitors each year. The pier features wide, clean public beaches, free parking and a bath house with outdoor showers. With its motto of Fishing, Family and Fun, Jennette’s offers something for everyone. There’s world-class fishing,... read more

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

North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

Outer Banks Attractions
374 Airport Road, Manteo
(252) 475-2300
(800) 832-3474 x4

The North Carolina Aquarium remains one of the most popular attractions on the Outer Banks, and it got a fantastic renovation that was completed in the summer of 2016. Yes, it's perfect for a rainy day, but you will also appreciate the cool, quiet environment when you've had enough of the sun. Just stepping into the aquarium’s lobby is like diving into the ocean’s depths.... read more

The North Carolina Aquarium remains one of the most popular attractions on the Outer Banks,... read more

Ocracoke Alive

Outer Banks Attractions
Island-wide, Ocracoke
(252) 921-0260

Ocracoke Alive, Inc. was formed to enrich the Ocracoke Island community by serving the cultural and artistic needs of the island. Through fundraising and donations, this group has rejuvenated the musical, educational and artistic vein of the community by organizing and sponsoring multiple events throughout the year including the annual Ocrafolk Festival, community plays and school programs.

Ocracoke Preservation Society and Museum

Outer Banks Attractions
49 Water Plant Road, Ocracoke
(252) 928-7375

For a peek into Ocracoke’s past, visit Ocracoke Preservation Society’s Museum. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to preserving the island’s history and cultural heritage and to protecting its environment. Housed in the turn-of-the-century home of Coast Guard Capt. David Williams, the museum lets visitors glimpse island life in the early to mid-1900s. Many of the architectural elements are intact, and a bedroom, living room and... read more

For a peek into Ocracoke’s past, visit Ocracoke Preservation Society’s Museum. The nonprofit organization is... read more

Oregon Inlet Fishing Center

Outer Banks Attractions
98 N.C. Highway 12, Nags Head
(252) 441-6301

Charter a variety of fishing excursions at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center year round (weather permitting). Nearshore, inshore and head boat vessels offer half-day or full-day trips, while offshore vessels offer full-day trips. Anglers go for a variety of species, depending on the season, including billfish, tuna, mahi mahi, wahoo, Spanish mackerel, flounder, drum, bluefish, cobia and more. Anglers aboard charters do not need to purchase... read more

Charter a variety of fishing excursions at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center year round (weather permitting).... read more

Roanoke Island Festival Park

Outer Banks Attractions
1 Festival Park, Across from the Manteo Waterfront, Manteo
(252) 475-1500

Experience a new adventure in an old world at Roanoke Island Festival Park. This 25-acre historic site allows guests of all ages to experience first-hand what life was like for the first English settlers in 1585. Historic costumed interpreters are featured through Indian Town, the Settlement Site and the Elizabeth II ship to show and tell how the first settlers lived worked and played on... read more

Experience a new adventure in an old world at Roanoke Island Festival Park. This 25-acre... read more

Whalehead

Outer Banks Attractions
1100 Club Road, Historic Corolla, Corolla
(252) 453-9040

Whalehead is an historic house museum on the northern Outer Banks. The grand residence, dressed in bold yellow and striking copper, stands on a vast green lawn bordering the Currituck Sound. At first sight of the more than 21,000-square-foot Art Nouveau home, so out of place in the Outer Banks landscape, it’s immediately apparent that it has an intriguing past and a fascinating story to... read more

Whalehead is an historic house museum on the northern Outer Banks. The grand residence, dressed... read more