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Get away from it all with a trip to North Carolina’s Outer Banks

Atlantic Beach front rooms offer great access to the open Atlantic Ocean.
Atlantic Beach front rooms offer great access to the open Atlantic Ocean. Sun Herald

North Carolina’s Outer Banks offer plenty of adventure, history and fun for vacationers who venture to this hideaway destination.

The Outer Banks is a narrow strip of barrier islands separating the open Atlantic Ocean from the inner Sounds off the coast of North Carolina.

Hatteras Island, the largest of the barrier islands, is a 50-mile-long narrow spit of land separating the open Atlantic Ocean from the Pamilco Sound.

The community of Hatteras toward the south end of what is known as the Outer Banks is consistently ranked as one of the top five surfing spots on the U.S. Atlantic coastline, and indeed surfers can be found catching waves all along the Atlantic-side coastlines virtually any time of year.

Kite surfing also is a popular water sport on the Outer Banks both in the open Atlantic and on the Sound side of the islands that include Hatteras Island, Ocracoke, Roanoke Island, Bodie Island, Île d’Ocracoke.

Close proximity

No matter where you stay on the Outer Banks, all of the islands are just a short distance away offering tours of such historic sites as Roanoke Island, which is the site of the first English settlement in America, Kitty Hawk or Kill Devil Hill, which is where the Wright Brothers made the first manned motorized flight, or the historic Ocracoke Village on Ocracoke Island, which is about an hour-long free ferry ride from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island.

Northern Beaches

The Outer Banks are divided into the Northern Beaches of Northern Beaches of Carova, Corolla, Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head.

For the most part, the Northern Beaches of Carova, Corolla, Duck and Southern Shores are populated by newer vacation homes and resorts and upscale shopping villages. Wild horses roam the beaches and there are plenty of outfitters offering tours to see the herd of Wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs.

In Corolla, you can visit the Currituck Beach Lighthouse or Whalehead hunting club.

Wright Brothers monument

Today known as Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, this is the site once known as Kitty Hawk, where the Wright Brothers ventured in the early 20th century to perfect motorized flight because of its high winds and soft sandy ground covering.

Today, it is a national park where visitors can visit a National Memorial, built between 1927 and 1932, on the hill from which the Wright Brothers perfected their flights, including the first motorized flight of 120 feet in 12 seconds on Dec. 17, 1903.

Also on the site, visitors can see a sculpture depicting that first flight, complete with Orville Wright at the controls and brother Wilbur running along behind as others look on and photograph the historic event.

Park rangers conduct history speeches on the Wright Brothers at intervals through the day and there is a visitors center and souvenir shop. A remodeled visitors center is expected to be complete by summer 2018.

Roanoke Island

Roanoke Island is the site of Roanoke Colony, an English settlement established in 1585 by Sir Walter Raleigh and the site of the first English born child in North America, Virginia Dare, who was born to Gov. John White and colonist Eleanor Dare.

About a year after establishing the settlement, White returned to England for supplies but his return to Roanoke was delayed by war. When he finally made it back to the island in 1590, the colony had vanished, and the fate of the colonists remains a mystery today.

On Roanoke Island, you can visit Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and tour the grounds with a formal English garden, walking trials.

During the summers an outdoor theater troupe presents Paul Green’s outdoor drama “The Lost Colony” which mixes fact and fiction to tell the tale of the historic Roanoke settlement. The play has been presented annually since 1937, with a brief hiatus during World War II.

Also, on Roanoke Island you will find the community of Manteo with features an Elizabethan era settlers village with shops, restaurants, theater and a pirate ship replica.

Also on the Northern Beaches is Nags Head with plenty of restaurants, shops and amenities for tourists.

Hatteras Island

On Hatteras Island, you’ll find this communities of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras.

There are plenty of beach-side hotels, homes, rental properties, restaurants, shops and attractions both on the beach and on the Sound sides.

Fishing, surfing, kite flying and relaxing are there for the taking.

The historic Hatteras Island lighthouse is also open for tours and visitors.

Ocracoke

If staying on Hatteras Island, it is just a one-hour free ferry ride on the Hatteras/Ocracoke Ferry to the north end of Ocracoke Island.

Once upon Ocracoke Island, you’ll find a village dating back to the 18th century that was home to such notorious sailors as Blackbeard the pirate who was beheaded off the Coast of the island in 1718.

There are restaurants, miles of beaches, hotels and shops for visitors and you can visit the historic Ocracoke Island lighthouse.

Scott Hawkins: 228-896-2424, @ScottHawkins4

For more about the Outer Banks

Plan your trip to the Outer Banks by visiting the Outer Banks Visitors Guide at https://www.outerbanks.com/index.html

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