The beaches are so pretty but the summer crowds can sometimes get in the way. I went a few times in March over the years and enjoyed rocky and sandy beaches all to myself (or at least only saw 2 or 3 people). It's such a peaceful experience.
Although most people think that the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, their flight was really at Kill Devil Hills.
We made a quick visit to the park before I went to the dentist to see where the first successful sustained powered flights in a heavier-than-air machine were made by Wilbur and Orville Wright. We went to the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center, and circled the 60-foot granite monument atop 90-foot tall Kill Devil Hill. Then we went back another day because we had not seen the Centennial of Flight exhibit.
The Wrights thought that the information on lift had already been documented; that they could use a rudder like a boat rudder; and a propeller like a boat propeller. All wrong. The lift data was flawed, the boat rudder won't work on a plane, and all the work on props had been trial and error.
Bob had said that he didn't understand the way that the Wrights controlled their airplane, and the ranger at the visitor's center explained it. Pitch was controlled with the left hand (the engine throttle was in the right hand), and there was a hip cradle which controlled the yaw and roll. One of the Wright's breakthrough's was to link the roll and yaw into one control.
He said that the Wright Bros only patented one item and that was the control system for flying, and that all airplanes today use that system. They didn't bother to patent the prop design which is 81% efficient - modern ones are only 85% efficient.
Wilbur died in NYC in 1912 of typhoid, but Orville lived until 1948, and became wealthy.
The Wright Brothers National Memorial is open 9am-6pm in the summer and 9am-5pm the rest of the year.
$3.00 - 7 Days
$20 - Annual
Located Just south of Nag's Head is the Bodie Island Lighthouse. Of the four lighthouses we visited on the Outer Banks, this was the least crowded. It was almost deserted in fact. Finished in 1870, it's not the oldest and it's not the tallest. It's still a great example of Maritime Architecture on the coast.
It's a nice stop and in the summer months the lightkeepers house is open for visitors. You cannot go to the top of the lighthouse but your chances of getting a good picture are probably better here than at the more crowded lighthouses.
The tallest and largest sand dune on the eastern seaboard. It provides panoramic views of this part of the Outer Banks. Some folks might even enjoy kite flying and hang gliding. On both occasions when I brought along guests from France and Spain, we came here for an easy view of both the sound and the ocean. I never will forget (after I threw Fernando's flip flops down the hill), he pulled me UP the dune by my sunburnt leg.
The waters off the Outer Banks of North Carolina can rightly be called America's graveyard of ships. Lighthouses saved many more ships from a watery grave. This is the third construction of the Bodie Island Lighthouse. The first one (built in 1847) was only 54 feet (16 m.) high, but was poorly constructed. The first big hurricane to come along took it out. The second one built a short time later was taller (80 feet-24 m.) and constructed better, but was destroyed during the War for Southern Independence. The third (and current) version was built in 1872 due to concern from the local captains. This lighthouse is nearly twice as high as the second (156 feet, 47 m.) For awhile, the third version of the lighthouse seemed doomed due to flocks of geese crashing into the lens (you can't just go down to the True Value and replace it, folks) and the poor grounding during electrical storms. The lighthouse was electrified in 1932, eliminating the need for an on-site keeper. It is now part of the national park service. The light house is closed to the public, but there is a visitor's centre.
This is one beautiful lighthouse. This is the third to be built on this location, this one was lighted in 1872. With a first-order light, it's visible for nineteen miles. The first lighthouse was 1 foot out of plum, and $1,400.00 had to be spent to straighten the tower. In 1854 a new fourth-order lens was installed, by 1859 the tower was beyond repair. A new one was built for $25,000.00, 80 feet tall with a third-order lens, lit July 1 1859 and 1861 the war leved. This tower was finished and lit on october 1 1872 with a first order lens that can be seen for nineteen miles at 156 ft above sea level. The tower today is on auto pilot, also has a museum.
Now if you get a beach house make sure you get a Hot Tub with it, for us that's a DEAL BREAKER if there is not one. Let me tell you, there is NOTHING BETTER than sitting in the hot tub with a Mamosa or a Corona and watchin' the tide roll in!!! :o) IT'S 12 O'CLOCK SOME WHERE!!
400 acre park has the highest sand dunes on the east coast. You can watch the hang gliders, or take a lesson and try it yourself. Self-guided trail, picnic facilities, public restrooms, and the beach (sound-side).
The public beaches are free with plenty of parking. They weren't very crowded, and the water was warm in June (76°). If you go to the beach directly across from the Nags Head Municipal Building, there is even an outside shower.