What does OBX in experience OBX mean? OBX stands for “Outer Banks” (the x makes the “ks” sound in banks) which is a series of four barrier islands spanning over 200 miles of the eastern coast of North Carolina the northern most being Bodie Island or Currituck Banks, a centrally located Manteo Island, and southern Hatteras and Ocracoke Isands. Each island, and town for that matter, is unique in its own right and while many seek to visit strictly for the uncrowded beaches and praise the big fiery ball in the sky, you can really get lost in the rich history, family-like culture and pristine nature. It’s not just a beach, its a lifestyle for residents and visitors alike.
I brag so much about the islands, everyone always asks which is my favorite and after thirty years of exploring and I’m glad to say that I don’t have a favorite. As I said before, they’re all fantastic in their own way so I frequent them all a much as possible.
Bodie Island (pronounced “body” by locals and “bo-dee” by visitors) is the northern-most island of the Outer Banks and also happens to be the island my childhood dog was named after (he’s the “bo-dee” version). This island is actually not an island at all, but instead a peninsula that goes by the names of Bodie Island and Currituck Banks (the peninsula that was before the inlet between it and a southern Bodie Island closed), a distinction made by the locals of Currituck and Dare counties north and south of the Wright Memorial Bridge which provides access to the island from the mainland.
Currituck Banks is home to the communities of Carova Beach, Corolla, Duck, and Southern Shores. Beside the obvious beautiful beaches and water activities, Currituck Banks is known for its off-road driving experiences, feral Banker horses that can be seen roaming the beach or on 4×4 excursions, Currituck Heritage Park which includes the Corolla Beach Lighthouse, Whalehead Club and Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education, luxury golf and spa resorts including the frequently acknowledged Sanderling resort and fine dining and boutique shopping. A scenic view of beautiful beach mansions and a unique coastal landscape is included on your route to just about any destination in this area.
Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head are the towns located on Bodie Island. This island is the most-visited portion of the Outer Banks and for good reason. The area is rich in history and the easiest to reach for visitors because it’s situated just across the Wright Memorial and Washington Baum Bridges.
There is so much to see and do in this area it’s hard to list all the activities. Some of the best known are the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Jockey’s Ridge State Park, newly reconstructed Jennette’s Pier, historical cottages dating back to the 1830’s and unique maritime forests. The family-oriented area is also filled with restaurants, bars and grills, mini golf and fun centers, ice cream shops and plenty of shopping including the Tanger Outlets hosting stores like Coach, Talbots, Nine West, J. Crew, Gymboree and plenty more. Bodie Island begins the Cape Hatteras National Seashore that extends through Hatteras Island to the south.
Hatteras Island is where nature rules. Extending approximately fifty miles in length, the island is only spotted with the small villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras, many of which are tiny
Nothing compares to the scenery the island provides; from maritime forests and wetlands, to rolling sand dunes and vast ocean views the island is breathtaking. However, the abundant nature doesn’t exclude other interesting activities, points of interest and events on the island. You’ll find plenty of landmarks such as the world famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Canadian Hole as well as several museums, marinas, quaint shops and locally-owned restaurants that personify lifestyle on the island. Hatteras Island s a must-see on a visit to the Outer Banks.
For a step back in time visit Ocracoke Island where the only way onto the island is the same it has been for centuries, by boat. The island is a short 40 minute free ferry ride from Hatteras Island. Tales of real life pirates, centuries-old historic sites, recreational activities and local shopping and dining stops time for all visitors. Here you can visit Blackbeard’s stomping grounds, take a haunted ghost tour, get up close to the Ocracoke beacon, shop local art and feast on the day’s freshest catch. You can really immerse yourself in history, culture and nature on the hidden treasure of Ocracoke Island. Just beware of pirates.
The Outer Banks of North Carolina are islands filled with adventure, culture, history, shopping, coastal cuisine, fun and relaxation. A perfect family destination for all ages because of the moderate climate and various activities. Whether your a nature nut, shopping diva, beach goddess or history buff, you’ll find the Outer Banks a great place to play.