Located off the coasts of North Carolina and Virginia, the Outer Banks are a chain of barrier islands stretching some 200 miles. Known locally as "OBX," the Outer Banks have seen their fair share of history, including the first human flight at Kitty Hawk, and the last sighting of the infamous pirate known as Blackbeard.
The islands are equally exciting for tourists today with scores of activities, nature preserves, and watersport opportunities. Head to this little-known archipelago for the vacation of a lifetime. Plan your trip smartly and pick the best
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Outer Banks' Most Popular Places for Travel
Experience Jockey's Ridge State Park
This state park is the largest nature preserve in the Outer Banks and is dotted with dozens of hiking trails. Make it an especially adventurous day at Jockey's Ridge at the paragliding, bungee jumping, and boating facilities.
See the Lighthouses
The Outer Banks are lined with historic and modern lighthouses. Make sure to check out the top five: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, Currituck Beach Lighthouse, and Ocracoke Lighthouse. The Bodie Island Lighthouse is still functional, and you can watch the action every evening.
Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial
Spend some time exploring the spot where the first powered human flight in history took place. The Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills is an exciting memoir to the birth of flying. Climbing up to the First Flight Boulder for the bragging right is certainly worth it.
Roanoke Island Festival Park
This major tourist attraction in Manteo will transport you back to the 1600s. Climb aboard the Elizabeth II and get a feel of what the early colonists experienced. Put on your explorer's hat (literally) and blend in with the sea of reenactors setting course for a thrilling voyage.
Tee Off at the beach
The Outer Banks boasts two gorgeous golf courses next to the ocean. The Nags Head Golf Links and the Sea Scape Golf Links, which both have excellent clubhouses where you can kick back and relax with a refreshing drink after a fulfilling round of golf. To play surrounded by maritime forests at Sea Scape is an unforgettable experience.
Key Guidelines for Travelers in the Outer Banks
Weather in the Outer Banks
The islands get a lot of sun, especially from June through August. The temperature easily hits 90°F during the summer. The best time to visit is from March through May, or September to December. The winter months are pleasant, and you can avoid the summer rush too.
The Outer Banks might be a surfer's paradise, but safety always comes first. Surfing conditions vary from island to island, so it is essential to know about the tide at the location where you want to hit the waves. Always keep an eye on the surf reports that map out the best and safest places to hang-10 in real time.
For fishing enthusiasts
The Outer Banks is the perfect destination for fishing pros and beginners alike. Avalon Pier, Jennette's Pier, and Rodanthe Pier usually allow private fishing from the shore. Remember that you need a license to cast a line. These are pretty inexpensive, starting at around $10.00 per license.
Ferrying around the islands
The North Carolina Transport Department runs ferry services once or twice a day around most parts of the archipelago. But the inherent risk with ferries is that they tend to get disrupted due to bad weather or suffer from technical delays. Have enough buffer time to factor in these contingencies.
Getting around the Outer Banks
When the ferries are too crowded or delayed, the best way to travel around on an island is by car. We recommend getting a rental car at the airport when you land so that you don't have to depend upon public transport. Last-mile connectivity is challenging in the Outer Banks, so having your own vehicle is ideal.
Visitors Insurance for Travelers in Outer Banks- FAQs
As you plan to spend a few wonderful days or weeks in the Outer Banks, don't forget to put into place protection for the unexpected by purchasing visitors insurance. If you encounter an unexpected medical issue during your trip, you'll be glad to have coverage that can protect your finances.
Why buy visitors insurance before traveling to Outer Banks?
The Outer Banks have limited medical facilities available on the islands. A serious health issue could result in emergency medical evacuation back to the mainland, which can be an expensive affair. Even minor health problems that require treatment are still subject to the high healthcare costs the US is known for.
Your domestic health insurance is unlikely to be accepted or provide sufficient coverage in the Outer Banks. If you require hospitalization or treatment without proper insurance, you will be responsible for paying the entire bill yourself. It is extremely important to get proper visitors insurance so you can have financial coverage for these situations.
What should I look for in my visitors insurance?
Make sure your visitors insurance can provide coverage for any adventure sports you plan to take part in during your time in the Outer Banks. These can include sports like bungee jumping, deep sea fishing, or surfing. You also want to buy coverage that will be in place for the entire duration of your visit, and examine details such as:
Trip Cancellation Insurance for Travelers in Outer Banks - FAQs
Sometimes, your itinerary just doesn't go as planned. Flights can be canceled, illnesses can occur, and suddenly the trip you've planned for so long can't proceed as you'd hoped. It's disappointing to cancel a vacation, but if you aren't able to get refunded for your prepaid trip costs, it can be financially draining as well. This is why it's important to be a prepared traveler with trip cancellation insurance.
Why should I get trip cancellation insurance for my Outer Banks travel?
Trip cancellation insurance is like a friend who has your back during your vacation. If you cancel your flight, cruise, or hotel reservations due to an illness, family emergency, or any other reason covered by the policy, you can be reimbursed for your nonrefundable, prepaid trip costs.
It's difficult to plan an international trip without spending some money beforehand. You'll need to buy your airline tickets, hotel reservations and tickets to attractions ahead of time. If you're unable to go on your trip, these expenses often cannot be refunded, or they charge cancellation fees. Buying trip cancellation insurance can allow you to be refunded for these expenses, letting you to plan your vacation with confidence.
What should I look for in my Outer Banks trip cancellation insurance?
Your trip cancellation plan should be tailored to your destination. For example, there may be sudden weather changes in the Outer Banks, including tropical storms or hurricanes. You'll want to make sure you have coverage for trip cancellation and flight delays in case the weather affects your air travel. Other coverage options to consider include:
Before You Travel to the Outer Banks - Do This
- Stock up on sunscreen. You'll be spending a lot of time outdoors, and the sun can be intense. Be sure to protect your skin.
- Back up your documents. Make digital copies of your passport, visa, drivers license, etc. in case the originals get lost.
- Choose the right insurance. Buy
visitors insurance or
that suits all your needs for your trip to OBX.