Given its impressive history and bountiful natural beauty, the Outer Banks boasts a wealth of attractions and activities for guests of all ages and energy levels. Sanderling’s Adventure Concierge will be happy to assist in your adventure and experience planning by suggesting dining and shopping stops, making reservations, and providing directions, maps, time estimates and traffic strategies.
Road Trip Recommended by National Geographic
ROANOKE ISLAND HISTORY ROAD TRIP
Travel south to Roanoke Island Festival Park. Children of all ages will enjoy this walk through English settlement history, which features a recreated 1585 sailing vessel, numerous interactive exhibits, a visual arts gallery, seasonal concerts and nature walks. And if your children are older, the famous evening outdoor drama, The Lost Colony, is not to be missed.
SAND DUNE ROAD TRIP
People of all ages will enjoy ambling over the Outer Banks sand dunes. Discover the little-known Run Hill sand dune, just to the north of Nags Head Woods in Kill Devil Hills. Wander by fresh lakes and softly rounded hills to the Roanoke Sound to see how the dunes are covering the tallest of trees in their steady march southwest. Compare Run Hill to Jockey’s Ridge State Park, which boasts the tallest sand dunes on the East Coast. Be sure to walk along the nature trail on the Soundside of the dunes for a picturesque and educational experience.
COROLLA HISTORY ROAD TRIP
Head right up the road to the Currituck Heritage Park to tour the house and grounds of the Whalehead Club Historic House Museum. The winter residence of the former northeastern hunting enthusiast Edward Collings Knight Jr. and his wife, the large, Soundside home, then called "Corolla Island," was constructed in 1922 and used as a private hunting club for Knight’s friends and business associates. Walk just a few steps to visit the Currituck Lighthouse, the northernmost lighthouse on the Banks. The unpainted brick lighthouse was put into commission in 1875 and is still active today. Tour the renovated keeper’s house and immaculate grounds before exploring the renovated chapel and schoolhouse in the nearby Corolla Village, comprised of numerous restored landmarks and shops.
COROLLA WILDLIFE ROAD TRIP
Get a grand start to the day with a Corolla Outback wild horse tour, which features a 20-mile round trip four-wheel drive along the barren northern Outer Banks beaches to the Wild Horse Conservation Easement, where the famous Outer Banks horses currently reside. In the afternoon, check out the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education, a beautiful Soundside facility dedicated to educating and exploring the coast’s wildlife, natural history and heritage. Its family-friendly programming includes bird-watching, beach walks, kayak trips, archery and fishing. On your way back to Sanderling, go for a trail walk at the Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary, a 3,400-acre private sanctuary for birds and wildlife along the serene Currituck Sound.
OUTER BANKS NATURE ROAD TRIP
Travel south to Nags Head Woods, a 700-acre unique maritime forest that grows in the protected shadows of the Jockey’s Ridge dunes. Drop in to the visitor center before trying one of the various hiking trails. Then head even further south to the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to stroll along a tree-canopied wooden boardwalk and step onto observation platforms to bird-watch and take in the tranquil marshland scenery.
BEST CHILDREN’S ROAD TRIP
It begins with a stop at the Island Farm, where visitors can explore a dozen buildings, such as a reconstructed slave cabin and a blacksmith shop, that demonstrate how Roanoke Islanders lived in the mid-19th century. Stocked with two Outer Banks ponies, sheep, chickens, a cow and an ox, the farm also features the Etheridge farmstead, the oldest period house restoration on Roanoke Island. The visit includes hands-on activities and demonstrations, such as ox-drawn wagon rides and 19th century children’s toys and games. Travel down the street to the North Carolina Aquarium, which features unique exhibits, films, field trips and guided tours.
LIGHTHOUSE ROAD TRIPS
Travel south to the Bodie Island Lighthouse and Visitor’s Center. This horizontally striped lighthouse was built in 1872 and continues to operate today. Seashore and natural history exhibits are offered in season. Then head even further south to the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Visitor’s Center. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in the nation. Climb the 268 steps to get a truly magnificent view of the Outer Banks seashore. Then take the ferry over to Ocracoke Island see the Ocracoke Lighthouse and Visitor’s Center. The southernmost operational lighthouse on the Outer Banks is also the second-oldest working lighthouse in the America.