I loved my visit to the Outer Banks. It offers the outdoors"y" things that you love to do in the summer, and is not crowded compared to other beaches in the US. If you end up going to the OB/Kitty Hawk area, don't forget to visit the Wright Brothers memorial. And of course, visit the wonderful ice cream shop in town (sorry I forgot the name). North Carolinians are some of the most genuine people I've met in the US.
Good Luck & Happy Travels!
If you love the sea and the coast as much as we do, but dislike over-commercialisation and high-rise hotels, this string of sandy barrier islands, more than 130 miles long, is the place for you. Most of the island chain has been set aside as Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the first national seashore in the US. The Outer Banks are also the site of England’s first attempt at colonizing the New World from 1585 to 1587, so there’s plenty here for history buffs too.
The island chain is accessible at its northern end by road but in the south only by ferry, making that southerly end, Ocracoke Island, more remote in atmosphere, less populated and visited, and consequently for us more attractive as a destination. But the north has its attractions too, especially Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers made their first historic flight, and Roanoke with its good aquarium and replica ship the Elizabeth II. And wherever you go on the islands you’ll find great seafood, friendly small motels and inns, and great coastal scenery. Don’t come here to get a suntan though – we had quite a lot of rain in the four or five days we spent here.
I’ve written separate tips about Kitty Hawk and the Roanoke attractions, and a whole separate page about Ocracoke, which we found a really magical spot.
We combined our tour of North Carolina with a few days in Virginia, and altogether were touring for just over two weeks. Our route was as follows:
• Flew into Charlotte direct from London Gatwick
• From there, west to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where we spent a couple of days at the southern end before driving north into Virginia
• East via Lynchburg and Richmond to Williamsburg
• South, back into North Carolina, to the Outer Banks
• Drove down the Outer Banks and via a ferry to Ocracoke
• From there another ferry back to the mainland and further south to Washington, Atlantic Beach and Wilmington
• Finally back to Charlotte, and home
I love it when it snows on top of the mountains! There is no snow in Florida, there are no mountains in Florida, so I miss that. North Carolina is the closest place to see snowy mountains and it is not that cold that you are too miserable to be outside. I don't want to be outside if it is under 25 degrees......
Fondest memory: Beech Mountain snow storm when we got there on the 26th last week and we did not expect snow.....it was a nice suprise and we got to use the snow chains I have carried around in my truck for the past 3 winter trips up there , yet never used ( they work:-)
Fondest memory: North Carolina's official flag was adopted in 1885. This red, white, and blue flag has a white star, the letters N C around the star (standing for North Carolina), and two yellow scrolls, above and below, bearing dates. The upper date, May 20th, 1775, commemorates the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence (named for Mecklenburg County, where North Carolina citizens met to declare their freedom from Great Britain, although the original document was destroyed and some people have questioned its existence). The lower date, April 12th, 1776, commemorates the adoption of the Halifax Resolves (this was the first official action by a colony calling for independence from Britain).
Basically, there are 2 legends as to why North Carolina is called the "Tar Heel State." The one that circulates around the most dates back to the American Civil War. Tar was a very big commodity in North Carolina during the Civil War, and the legend says that North Carolinians were unable to hold thier positions during the battles, and if they were to "Tar their heels," they would be able to hold thier positions better.....
Personally, it really doesn't sound very realistic, but, it's a legend, so what can I say??
To get both legends, go to: http://www.netstate.com/states/intro/nc_intro.htm
Fondest memory: All over the beaches...and not just limited to North Carolina...are seagulls. Although they are beautiful birds, they are quite nasty. I actually saw one snatch an entire sandwich from a friend of mine's hand once!!! Not to mention, they are greedy. If you decide to feed them, prepare to get pooped on!
This picture was taken at Fort Fisher, close to where I used to live. It is the best picture of a sunset on the bay I have yet taken.
Fondest memory: Spending evenings at the bay watching sunsets....quiet, tranquil, serene...what more could you want?
If you only come away with one useful tip from me... please take this one.
Tempers run high when barbecue to sought to be defined in NC...you see... the term varies widely across the US, but especially in NC. In NC the term refers to less about how the cooking process is done but rather the outcome of the meal. The meat is served up usually alone, or on a bun, shreaded and minced beyond recognition. BUT.... the biggest difference is the spicy vinegar based sauce that bestows the meat....
Having stated all this.. there is then Lexington, NC which dubs itself the " barbeque capital of NC", and there they practice the ultimate blasphemy by putting tomatoes in the sauce.
My advice is to become a vegetarian so you wouldn't care less :)
1st number is tips, 2nd number photos, 3rd number narratives.
For instance in Blowing Rock 0 1 0, I have no tips only a photos.
No one else has written pages for VT for:
Alligator River 6 44 5
Beaufort 12 22 1
Belhaven 31 68 4
Carolina Beach 0 1 0
Cedar Island 0 10 1
Coinjock 6 26 2
Columbia 8 11 0
Core Creek 2 13 1
Currituck 3 23 1
Dismal Swamp State Park 4 39 4
Grandfather 2 3
Hampstead 5 41 5
Hobucken 3 18 3
Knotts Island 9 30 2
Kure Beach 0 17 2
Leechville 5 40 3
Masonboro 2 13 1
Merrimon 0 3 0
Moyock 1 2
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge 7 11 0
Plymouth 3 6
Pumpkintown 1 4 0
South Mills 3 22 2
Sunset Beach 2 21 2
Wanchese 1 2 0
Weeksville 2 5
Wright Brothers National Memorial 11 34 2
Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor's Center 4 9 0
Fondest memory: I also have pages at more popular places like:
Atlantic Beach 4 13 1
Bald Head Island 5 23 2
Bodie Island 13 31 3
Cherokee 2 5 0
Corolla 29 51 2
Duck 15 38 2
Durham 0 3 0
Edenton 12 38 3
Elizabeth City 26 51 3
Great Smoky Mountains National Park 3 14 1
Harker's Island 1 2
Hatteras Island 3 14 1
Havelock 0 3 0
Henderson 2 3
Kill Devil Hills 13 23 1
Kitty Hawk 1 2 0
Manteo 6 7 0
Morehead City 10 24 2
Nags Head 6 8 0
Ocracoke 1 10 1
Oriental 13 41 3
Pea Island 5 10 0
Roanoke Island 6 19 1
Snead's Ferry 5 16 1 (Marine base)
Southport 9 52 5
Swansboro 5 35 4
Wrightsville Beach 2 28 3
If you drive Interstate 40 either from Raleigh to Wilmington or vice-versa, prepare for a long boring drive. There is nothing but farmland and a couple of rest areas. That's about it. Just be careful driving through here so you don't fall asleep!
This stretch is just plain ZZZZZZZZZZ.............
I was a lifeguard on the beach for 6 years, and have treated hundreds of jellyfish stings. This section is designed to help you in case you are on the beach with no lifeguard. It is very important that you seek medical attention immediately should you become ill from the sting. Print this page for reference.
1. Rinse the sting area with clean ocean water (no sand...sand is very abrasive and painful).
2. Spray the sting area with shaving cream. Next, take a plastic (not metal) spoon and "shave" the cream off in an upward motion with the curve of the spoon.
3. Next, take a paper towel,saturate it heavily with vinegar (white or apple cider...it does not matter). next, take the saturated paper towel and spread meat tenderizer liberally over the saturated area. Compress the vinegar/tenderizer paper towel on the sting area for approximately 15 minutes. This will help reduce the swelling.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.
I grew up here! I know practically everything there is to know about it. In grade school, we were taught that North Carolina's nickname was "Variety Vacationland." The reason why is because you have the mountains, the foothills, and the coast all in one state. It is possible to see all three areas in one day, but I would not recommend it. North Carolina is a place you need to stay at least 4 days to a week to see; but it depends on how much you like and how much time you want to spend doing it.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of North Carolina is growing up on the coast. I was a lifeguard, and I surfed as much as possible. Living two timezones away from it makes me miss it somewhat, but going to school to do what I have always wanted makes up for it.
State bird: Cardinal
State flower: Dogwood
State Tree: Pine
Date of statehood: Nov. 21, 1789
Highest point: Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet)
Nickname: Tar Heel State
Link to state parks
Fondest memory: Those 3 trips in 1975, 1976 and 1977 are among the fondest memories overall, particularly the first trip on 3-7 August 1975. For more details, see my Nags Head page. I guess these first 3 trips to the Outer Banks because anything different from the daily normal seemed magic for me when I was between 6 and 8 years old. Of those first three trips, the very first from 3-7 August 1975 was the most memorable and magical simply because it was the first.
If you thought the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington was a swanky place, the Ballantyne Resort might...more
I have to state up front that I don’t get this hotel. I just cannot recommend it. This is a modern,...more
A very nice and clean 'crew' hotel located near the airport.more