Community News and Info

Get to know this gorgeous barrier island

Whether you’re lured to the Outer Banks by the sand and the sea, by world-class sportfishing, by wind-sculpted dunes, by abundant wildlife, maritime forests, the surf, or our rich history, you’ll find that you want to return again and again. This narrow strip of barrier islands along North Carolina’s east coast is home to nearly 41,000 year-round inhabitants, and it welcomes 7 million visitors each year.

This is where England first attempted to colonize the Americas, and it is the birthplace of Virginia Dare, the first English child born on American soil. The Outer Banks harbors secrets, pirates’ booty and shipwrecks. It is the site of The Lost Colony’s mysterious disappearance (along with America’s oldest outdoor drama, “The Lost Colony”), it was the stomping grounds of Edward Teach, better known as the infamous Blackbeard the Pirate, and, owing to the amount of shipwrecks that lie beyond our coast, it has been dubbed “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” The first radio transmission was broadcast from our islands, and the Wright brothers accomplished the first heavier-than-air powered flight from Kill Devil Hill. Thanks to Orville and Wilbur Wright, the Outer Banks is the birthplace of aviation, and we recently celebrated the 100-year anniversary of this monumental event on December 17, 2003.

Only two bridges link the Outer Banks to the North Carolina mainland, one in Kitty Hawk and one from Roanoke Island. Our relative isolation adds to the allure of our location; you won’t find any railroads, factories or major industry. Our crime rate is amazingly low, property values are high, and there’s a huge quotient of sunshine and salt breezes thrown in for good measure. Our main industry is tourism, followed by commercial fishing. Thanks to the Gulf Stream’s close proximity, we have bountiful tuna, marlin, dolphin and wahoo, and our captains are among the best you’ll find anywhere. Inshore fishing challenges anglers with striped bass, bluefish, spot and mullet, while our sound (bay) waters provide crabs, shrimp, oysters, flounder, drum, and stripers a bit smaller than their ocean-dwelling behemoth cousins.

If you’re looking for activities, we have plenty to offer. Besides some of the best surfing on the East Coast, we’re home to the Canadian Hole, which draws droves of windsurfers to Hatteras Island. A number of lighthouses dot our shores, offering gull’s-eye views and enough exercise from climbing stairs to increase your heart rate. Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head has the largest migrating sand dune in North America, and is a popular site for hang gliding and kite flying. Other venues include an excellent aquarium on Roanoke Island, and a number of specialty museums, wildlife preserves and art galleries all along the Outer Banks. If you’re looking for superbly prepared meals — and plenty of fresh local seafood — you’ll be amply rewarded at any number of wonderful restaurants.

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Our biggest draw…

continues to be our beach community. Much of the Outer Banks has been set aside as National Seashore (the first in the country), and here you’ll find some of the finest beaches anywhere. When it’s time to kick back and relax, nothing beats a day on one of our beautiful wide sandy beaches. Our area is primarily a family destination, where generations come to enjoy each other, along with the natural beauty and abundance of this remarkable place.