Planning a vacation to the Outer Banks? Let us help! Vacations to the Outer Banks are a long-standing tradition for many families. But the planning doesn’t stop once you’ve booked your beach house. And it’s hard to keep kids interested in just the beach anymore. This leaves a lot of parents wondering, “what is there to do with kids on the Outer Banks?” That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top ten kids’ activities on the Outer Banks. These are sure to excite every member of the family and create lasting memories for years to come.
- Learn to fly a hang glider
- Learn to surf
- Take a guided kayak tour
- Eat like a local
- Hang out with sharks
- Visit a park
- Jump for joy at Jumpmasters Trampoline Park
- Create art with a local craftsperson
- Be a part of Outer Banks history
- Go fly a kite
Learn to Fly a Hang Glider
Did you know that humans can fly? Let Kitty Hawk Kites teach you! Soar over the birthplace of flight on the largest living sand dune on the East Coast. Kids will love the thrill of flying over the Outer Banks (while under the careful supervision of our instructors, of course). With over 45 years of experience and over 400,000 students, Kitty Hawk Kites operates the largest hang gliding school in the world. Since 1974, we’ve taught students from ages 4 to 96 years old. So everyone in the family can have the chance to fly! You can read more about our school from competitive hang gliding pilot and former instructor, Sara Weaver, here. Ready to take off?
Learn to Surf
Learn to shred with the locals. Go to any beach on the Outer Banks and you’ll see surfers taking advantage of the best waves on the East Coast. But before you paddle out, learn the basics and some crucial ocean safety. Group lessons are available for the whole family, and there are summer camps for the kids. Or get personalized attention with private instruction. Lessons take place all along the Outer Banks. Find the closest one to you in Corolla, Duck, Nags Head, or Rodanthe. Surfboard and leash are provided. Classes are taught at no more than 1 instructor per 5 students.
Take a Guided Kayak Tour
We are proud to offer the largest selection of Outer Banks kayak tours and locations extending from Corolla to Ocracoke. Our kayak tours are all well equipped with all the gear needed to show you everything from the majestic sunsets to the unique local wildlife of the Outer Banks. With single and tandem boats, paddling with a certified guide is a great way for the whole family to explore the outdoors. Offering over 13 kayak tours, including specialty tours and instruction- there is a tour for everyone! We’ve got tours of private reserves in the Outer Banks only accessible with our guides! If you’re looking for your own adventure for the day or week – rentals are available, too.
Eat Like a Local
Dine out at new spots each time you visit the Outer Banks. As a destination location, the Outer Banks has lots of amazing cuisines constantly coming into the area. Be adventurous! Chefs cycle between restaurants and you might find your favorite dish is made best by a restaurant you would least expect. So be sure to ask the locals for a recommendation. Don’t be afraid to travel down to Hatteras or up to Corolla. Check out a list of local favorites sure to appeal to even the pickiest palette here: https://www.outerbanks.com/restaurants.html
Hang Out with Sharks
The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island offers a unique view of the Outer Banks coastal ecosystem. You can touch the stingrays, see an alligator, learn about sea turtle conservation efforts, and even swim with sharks. If that’s closer than you’d like to get, stop by Jockeys Ridge Crossing in Nags Head. There, you can pick up a shark kite from Kitty Hawk Kites to fly on the beach. Or take a ride on Stanley the mechanical shark at Kitty Hawk Surf Co. Either way, kids are sure to love hanging out with these magnificent creatures!
Visit a Park
Find the new Dowdy Park near Jockey’s Ridge and the YMCA. Built on the land where Dowdy’s Amusement park used to be (long-time visitors of the Outer Banks will remember this spot). This is now a popular children’s park with a monthly local farmer’s market and more.
Whalebone Park is also conveniently located between Jennette’s Pier and the Tanger Outlets. This new addition to the Outer Banks is sure to keep everyone in the family content when you need a break from the beach. Featuring shaded picnic tables, bocce and volleyball courts, and a nautical-themed playground.
Make sure your family makes a trip to Jockey’s Ridge State Park. With numerous trails, picnic shelters, and the tallest living sand dunes on the Atlantic Coast, Jockey’s Ridge will keep the whole family occupied for hours. Stick around for the most stunning views of the sunset, you won’t regret it!
Jump for Joy at Jumpmasters Trampoline Park
Get airborne at this one-of-a-kind attraction, with fun for the whole family. Jumpmasters OBX is the ONLY trampoline park on the Outer Banks. Check out these incredible features for the Indoor Park: Ninja Warrior Course, Battle Beam, Foam Pits, Dodgeball, Air Bag, and 3D Climbing Wall. Jumpmasters also offers Toddler Time for kids 5 years and younger. With so many options it’s tough to imagine not having fun here!
Create Art with a Local Craftsperson
The Outer Banks has lots of talented local artisans on the beach. Support local business & ask a local business owner how to connect with local artists. OBX Art Studio (which used to be called Glazin’ Go Nuts) has pottery painting for kids at Front Porch Cafe at Milepost 6 & Deja New in the Dunes Shops at Milepost 4 has art workshops for adults and kids, to name a couple.
Be a Part of Outer Banks History
Often the first thing people think of when someone says “the Outer Banks,” is the Wright Brothers. Walk the path of their first airplanes’ flights. See the accommodations they built for themselves while conducting their experiments and tests. Learn about their inspirations and path to success. Kids of all ages leave the memorial fascinated about aviation, history, and eager to return!
The Lost Colony is widely acknowledged as the precursor to the modern American Broadway Musical. The drama is performed outside in two one-hour acts with a 15-minute intermission at the Waterside Theater located at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island. The Lost Colony educates, enriches and entertains! Don’t leave the Outer Banks until you see The Lost Colony.
Go Fly a Kite
A favorite pastime for generations, kite flying remains a staple of any Outer Banks vacation. Find any design you can imagine at one of our Kitty Hawk Kites store locations and take to the skies! We carry single-line kites, dual-line stunt kites, and quad-line kites for every skill level. Kids will love picking out a kite of their own. Then find a bit of open space and you’ll be flying in no time! Find the nearest Kitty Hawk Kites store here.
In summary, ask a local! The Outer Banks has lots of unique experiences to offer. We’re excited to see you here soon! Take advantage of everything there is to do with kids on the Outer Banks. But make sure you book your activity soon, many will fill up before you even arrive on the beach.