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Once you've beheld the windswept wild beauty of North Carolina's Outer Banks, it gets in your blood and simmers there until you can come again. A skinny string of barrier islands stretching in a 100-mile curve along the Atlantic coast, the Outer Banks are connected by a series of causeways and ferries. Much of the land is wildlife refuge or part of the protected Cape Hatteras National Seashore. But a chain of small towns offers easy access to the wide, windy beach where play is just a way of life. You can rent kayaks, bikes, surfboards, or join a deep-sea fishing excursion. You can hang-glide, sail, windsurf, or scuba dive among the ...

Once you've beheld the windswept wild beauty of North Carolina's Outer Banks, it gets in your blood and simmers there until you can come again. A skinny string of barrier islands stretching in a 100-mile curve along the Atlantic coast, the Outer Banks are connected by a series of causeways and ferries. Much of the land is wildlife refuge or part of the protected Cape Hatteras National Seashore. But a chain of small towns offers easy access to the wide, windy beach where play is just a way of life. You can rent kayaks, bikes, surfboards, or join a deep-sea fishing excursion. You can hang-glide, sail, windsurf, or scuba dive among the hundreds of ships that have wrecked off the rugged coast.

Check out Kill Devil Hills, where the Wright brothers launched the first powered flight in 1903. Eat fresh seafood in Kitty Hawk, Nags Head or Ocracoke Village. Be sure to visit the historic lighthouses on the way. The Outer Banks swell with tourists in summer, but in winter you can go hours without seeing a soul.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summertime, from June to mid-September