Communities are sprinkled throughout this curving arch of islands. It is a bustling and well-developed commercial hub. It was here that Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the world’s first motorized airplane in 1903. The 60-foot (18 m) Wright Brothers National Memorial, crowning a 90-foot (27 m) dune of shifting sand that has been stabilized with grass, proudly towers over the town.
But the roots of history run much deeper here. It was on neighboring Roanoke Island that Sir Walter Raleigh established a military settlement in April 1585 — the first British Colony in the New World.
You’ll find much more to discover on the Outer Banks than just wide sandy beaches. Take a trip to where land and water rendezvous, where the history of the United States began and the future of air travel started.
Your best bet for accommodations is perhaps one of the many vacation homes or rental condos available. There are plenty of private cottages for rent on the beach where you can watch the sun sink into the ocean right from your wooden deck, where sea oats gently wave along the dunes and the sound of rolling waves will lull you to sleep. Contact the Outer Banks Visitor Bureau for a list of rental agencies or check out their website. They also provide info on Bed & Breakfasts, hotels and campgrounds.
Since this is your first day on the Outer Banks, you’ll probably want to head for the seashore. Try Coquina Beach, south of Nags Head. It’s less crowded than beaches close to residential areas. Pack a picnic lunch and go for a swim in the clean, blue water. Curl up with a good book. Take a walk along the beach. Watch a band of brown pelicans fly closely above the water’s surface, the tips of their wings almost touching the waves. Go beachcombing or just relax.
Try dinner at the Windmill Point (U.S. Highway 158 Bypass Milepost 16.5, Nags Head; 252-441-1535). Overlooking tranquil Roanoke Sound, the restaurant serves a large selection of outstanding dishes for seafood lovers. Have an aperitif before your meal at their quaint S.S. United States Lounge upstairs decorated with memorabilia from the luxurious cruise liner.
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