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Best Road Trip Destinations: The Outer Banks

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The Outer Banks are a beautiful seaside destination during the summer months. The temperatures are warm without scorching everything in sight, and there are unique sites along the Carolina Coast for you to take in and enjoy.

What you’ll see

The Outer Banks has everything from standard beaches to wild horses and picture-worthy lighthouses. You can spend your afternoon relaxing by the waves or go on an outdoor adventure, such as boating, fishing, or paddle boarding. You can also find rich history in the Outer Banks, including the beach where the Wright Brothers tested the first airplane.


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Where to stop

Whether you’re interested in history, photography, or sightseeing, there are plenty of places for you to visit in the Outer Banks.

Wright Brothers National Memorial

The Wright Brothers completed the first successful airplane flight on a beach in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Wright Brothers National Memorial honors the occasion, and the brothers who made it possible, with statues, sculptures, and camp buildings.

Bodie Island Lighthouse

A few miles south of Nags Head, Bodie Island Lighthouse stands 156 feet tall and offers visitors a beautiful view of the Outer Banks. You can climb the 214 steps to the top of the lighthouse, or visit a museum on the grounds to learn more about its history. According to the Outer Bank Visitors’ Guide, “the Bodie Island Lighthouse is one of the few lighthouses in the country that is lit with a restored but original First Order Fresnel lens.” Its light can be seen up to 19 miles away.

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

All of the animal lovers out there will enjoy a trip to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge focuses on protecting natural habitats for local species, including endangered species like red wolves and American alligators. It also provides habitats for several species such as black bears and migratory birds. You can explore the refuge in a few different ways. There are two walking trails, each half a mile long, and more than 15 miles of paddling trails you can use to kayak or canoe through the refuge.


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Sources: National Park Service, Outer Banks Visitors’ Guide, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service