Taking a tour of the barrier islands is easy, and there are several different ways of getting around that are downright fun! There’s nothing stopping intrepid tourists from learning about the land (and sea) around them. These are some of our favorite ways to see the sights, tour the towns, and journey to remote areas of the Outer Banks.
1. Roam on 4 Wheels
Many tourists to the Outer Banks adore the fact that certain types of 4-wheel-drive vehicles and ATVs are allowed on the beach in designated areas. This allows for venturing to remote areas and seeing some of the natural attractions including the beautiful sand dunes and the wild horses. Vacationers have the option of taking guided tours that can highlight known areas of interest or renting a vehicle to explore on their own. In some areas, you may even drive your own vehicle, but a local permit may be required.
2.Take a Segway Tour
Another way to explore the Outer Banks is on a Segway. If you think that Segways are only used on paved surfaces, think again! Some of the tours offered in the Outer Banks use these 2-wheeled machines that can go off-roading—even on sandy beaches! The OBX was one of the first areas in the nation to offer this concept. There are also Segway tours of the towns that are fun and informational, but also a little calmer for the less adventurous. Segways are exciting and still a novel way to see the local area through tour guides who know the region well.
3. Bicycle Around Town
Getting around beach towns on a bike is a great way to enjoy the sea breeze and not have to worry about parking. You’ll also have the freedom to check out numerous shops and restaurants along the way. Bicycling is an effective way to journey across the area, down scenic paths, and close to the beach. For cyclists who are in search of a long ride through multiple towns, there are bike paths (predominately existing along the shoulders of roads) that stretch from Corolla to Nags Head and from Manteo to Hatteras. In addition to the benefits of exercise, you can take in the sights at a leisurely pace, stopping wherever the moment seems right and finding the perfect spot for lunch or a great backdrop for a family photo.
4. Take Flight on a Sky Tour
To take to the sky for a bird’s-eye view, choose a tour from the cockpit of a helicopter with Kitty Hawk Kites or a bi-plane or warbird tour through OBX Air Tour Adventures. Not only are these excursions thrilling, but when you arrive back on solid ground, you’ll have a great lay of the land. Aerial vantages are perhaps the best way to see the entire region. Plus, seeing where you’ve been and where you want to go might make your exploring much easier!
5. Soar on a Parasail
Another option to see the coastline from above is to go parasailing. While soaring at 400-800 feet above the water, you’ll be able to see many landmarks along the shore. It’s a fun way to get an overhead glimpse of the Outer Banks and maybe even see some marine life such as a pod of dolphins.
6. Enjoy a Family Cruise
While vacationing near the water, put your sea legs to the test. Take a cruise to check out one of the Outer Banks’ most precious natural resources—the water. Not only can you see the coastline from a few miles out in the Atlantic, but you’ll also be able to view local aquatic wildlife. A few different companies offer boat tours that are both enjoyable and educational. This is an entertaining excursion the entire family will remember!
Whatever method you choose to discover the region, we hope you enjoy yourself while doing so. Continue the tradition that was set forth by America’s first English colonists and seek adventure while exploring. Fortunately, the ways to get around (and communicate) have improved greatly since the days of the early Roanoke colony.