The following Destination Inspiration about the Outer Banks is from Newschool Nomads.
Have you ever wanted to Go RVing in a place where you can watch the sunrise and the sunset from the beach? How about snuggling around campﬁre while listening to ocean waves? Would you like to RV in a place that not only has beautiful beaches and an abundance of recreational activities but is also rich with history? If so, plan a trip to Go RVing to the Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina and home to Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Our guide will help you plan your next RV trip to this place of breathtaking beauty and fascinating history.
The RV is packed and you are ready for an unforgettable weekend of exploration in one of the most stunning areas along the Atlantic Seaboard. Summer is the Outer Banks’ busiest season. It’s also a perfect time to enjoy warm days swimming in the Atlantic and exploring the islands’ charming towns. If you don’t mind cooler days and prefer less crowds consider visiting in the spring or fall.
The most traveled route to the Outer Banks comes in from the north and enters the islands through Kitty Hawk. If you are visiting during the summer consider driving in on a weekday to avoid trafﬁc. On your way in stop for fresh ﬁsh at Frog Island Seafood Restaurant and Market. Eat in or, if you got an early start, pick up some fresh ﬁsh from the market to grill at the campsite that evening.
Next, stop at Kitty Hawk for a visit to Wright Brothers National Memorial. There is plenty of space for RV parking. Don’t stay too long because you’ll want to get to your campsite before dark. Don’t worry, if there isn’t enough time to stop on your way in plan on stopping on your way out, or with a little extra planning, squeeze it in on day one.
Campgrounds are aplenty in the Outer Banks. May I suggest bypassing the heavily populated northern beach towns and opting to head to a more laid back centrally located town like Waves or Avon or Buxon. In Waves, we enjoyed staying at Ocean Waves Campground. It is literally steps from the beach. In Avon, we had a good experience at Sands of Time. It isn’t within walking distance of the beach but it’s quiet, clean, and located centrally between many of the Outer Banks best attractions.
Note: If you are traveling on a Saturday during the summer when trafﬁc is heaviest consider taking an alternative route that feeds onto Highway 64. You’ll have to skip fresh ﬁsh at Frog Island and hitting Wright Brothers National Memorial on the way in but you’ll most likely save several hours of driving even though you’ll be driving a few extra miles.
If you are a morning person or feeling extra motivated, get up early to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic. This will be easy to do if you are staying at one of the ocean side campgrounds within walking distance to the beach.
After having some breakfast, pack a lunch and head to Roanoke Island to visit Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. Fort Raleigh was home to the oldest English settlement in the United States, Roanoke Colony, also known as the Lost Colony after the settlers mysteriously disappeared. The site also preserves the cultural heritage of the Native Americans and African Americans who have called Roanoke Island home. Be sure to watch the movie in the visitor’s center.
Note: If you didn’t make it to Wright Brothers National Memorial on the way in or won’t be able to make it on the way out, now would be a great time to squeeze it in before heading back to your campground.
On your way back to the campground stop at Bodie Lighthouse, one of three lighthouses located on Cape Hatteras National Seashore. If you are up for it, climb the lighthouse at your own pace but be sure you save energy for the big climb tomorrow.
Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and playing on the beach. Even in the most crowded seasons the beaches of the Outer Banks feel spacious and open. Take advantage of beach access if your campground has it. If not head to one of the beautiful beaches that are part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
After dinner, head back to the beach to build a ﬁre. Don’t forget to take your permit with you. Download and print one ahead of time here or if you forget your campground ofﬁce will most likely have them.
Note: There is a long running play called the Lost Colony that plays at Fort Raleigh during the summer. If this is something that interests you, I suggest a schedule swap. In this case, spend the morning at the beach. After lunch, head out to Fort Raleigh NHS, stopping at the Bodie Lighthouse on the way. You many have time to stop at the Wright Brothers NM but be sure to give yourself at least an hour at the Fort Raleigh visitor center. As of today, the Fort Raleigh visitor center is open until 5 pm.
We are going to spend the morning enjoying the tallest brick lighthouse in North America, Cape Hatteras, and then enjoy a picnic on the beach so pack your lunch. Unlike Bodie Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras requires timed tickets to climb. If it’s high season and you want to be sure to climb this iconic lighthouse get there early. Tickets are sold on a ﬁrst come ﬁrst serve basis.
After climbing the lighthouse, refresh yourself with lunch on the beach that is within walking distance of Cape Hatteras or on the lawn surrounding the lighthouse.
Early mid-afternoon, pack up to head south to catch the free Hatteras to Ocracoke Ferry. The Hatteras to Ocracoke Ferry is a car and RV ferry that departs every 30 minutes from the Hatteras Ferry Terminal to Ocracoke Island, the southern end of Hatteras NS.
By leaving later in the afternoon, you’ll most likely avoid long wait times to board the ferry. It’s a beautiful almost 60-minute ride to Ocracoke. You are welcome to stay in your car or walk around the ferry to the viewing decks.
Upon arriving to Ocracoke head to Ocracoke Village located on the harbor. Stroll around the small village shops and cool off with some ice cream. (May we suggest The Slushy Stand!) If you are interested in learning more about the area, stop at the Ocracoke Island Visitor Center located on the edge of the village. You may want to consider renting or bringing bikes to get around the island. There are a few bike rental shops in the village.
After taking in the charm of the village, check out the third lighthouse of Cape Hatteras NS, Ocracoke Lighthouse. Ocracoke Lighthouse is the second oldest operating lighthouse in the nation. There is a limited number of parking spaces in front of the lighthouse.
Not far from Ocracoke Lighthouse, you’ll ﬁnd Springer’s Point Trail. Springer’s Point is a beautiful nature preserve that’s off the beaten path. Walk the trail through the maritime forest under a canopy of gnarled oak trees to the beach on the Pamlico Sound. The sandy beach overlooks Teach’s Hole where legend has it the infamous pirate, Blackbeard, met his fate. It’s a quiet calm beach for kids or a perfect place to watch the sunset with your loved ones.
Or on your way home pull over in one of the parking lots to watch the sunset over the Pamlico Sound for a perfect ending to your weekend away in the Outer Banks.