Make the Most out of Check-In Day with These Fun, Family-Friendly OBX Activities

After months of daydreaming about your Outer Banks vacation, and who knows how many hours in the car battling traffic, of course all you want to do once you hit the OBX is lounge on the beach or settle in poolside. But the Outer Banks has so much to offer, and with only one week to explore it all, day one should be filled with adventure!  Here are a few activities to start your OBX vacation off on the right foot.


Yes, learning on vacation can be fun!

If you want to hear about the local wildlife while being wildly entertained, catch a dolphin tour, sure to be fun for the whole family.

Learn about sea turtle conservation in the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center and interactive Sea Turtle Rescue exhibit at the Roanoke Island Aquarium. You can also experience the incredible history of the U.S.S. Monitor, watch sharks and other fish swim by and jump into the interactive Gulf Stream exhibit, get up-close views of stingrays and invertebrates, wonder at the ethereal world of sea jellies, explore the outdoors from the soundside pier and around the grounds, and more.

If you’re heading north to the 4x4 beaches, many companies offer open-air wild horse tours, where guests can catch a glimpse of the wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs while the tour guide provides interesting information about their history and habitat.

Always wanted to master the art of surfing? It’s never too late! Take a lesson on day one of vacation and be the next Kelly Slater by the end of the week!

The Wright Brothers Memorial, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, and the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site are also great places to check out and get educated about the amazing history of the Outer Banks!

Help the Environment

Head to the nearest public beach access and organize a beach cleanup! Teach younger family members the importance of keeping our planet clean. Make it competitive and up the ante - the person who collected the most trash gets to choose the flick for family movie night, the restaurant for your night out on the town, or the best bedroom in your vacation rental (besides you, of course!)

To help even more, download the Clean Swell app on your smartphone and record the trash you collect. This information will be uploaded to Ocean Conservancy’s global ocean trash database, providing researchers and policy-makers insight to inform solutions. You can even share your results on social media, so your friends know you are making an impact, and will hopefully follow suit!


Stretch your legs AND enjoy all the sights by heading to the nearest lighthouse and going for a climb! If heights aren’t your thing, take in some fresh air with a walk on the Duck boardwalk.

Get Adventurous

Located just before the Wright Memorial Bridge when heading south towards the Outer Banks, H2OBX is the perfect spot to stop in and cool off! This waterpark offers more than 30 rides, slides and attractions, as well as resort-style amenities and cabanas, perfect for relaxing.

If you’re ready to hit the sound, enjoy hours of fun by going parasailing or renting wave runners, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and more!

If you’re not into aquatic adventure, how about a tour of the Outer Banks from above? Take a biplane or Cessna air tour, and see dolphins, sea turtles, shipwrecks, and other popular attractions from a new perspective!


After being cooped up in the car, you will want to get outside and stretch your legs (and eat some good food while you’re at it). Get some sun and smell the salt air at one of our favorite family-friendly outdoor dining options!

Centrally located in Kill Devil Hills and offering large outdoor dining areas are the Outer Banks Brewing Station, Bonzer Shack, and Jack Brown’s Burger Bar. A little further north are Art’s Place in Kitty Hawk and Cravings in Duck, both sure to satisfy your belly. In South Nags Head, Fish Heads Bar & Grill on the Outer Banks Pier has some of the best ocean views on the beach. If you’re heading to Hatteras Island, you will want to stop Watermen’s Bar & Grill in Waves, offering a large grassy soundfront area, perfect for watching the kiteboarders soar by!

To see other fun activities happening around the Outer Banks during your stay, be sure to follow our Facebook page and Instagram stories (@SunRealtyNC), updated daily!

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