Explore the long beaches and history The Outer Banks
Some of the most unusual and beautiful beaches on America’s Atlantic coast are in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a string of skinny barrier islands that stretches 130 miles from the Virginia border to the southernmost point at Cape Lookout and Beaufort. With more than 600 shipwrecks here (and hence notoriety as ‘Graveyard of the Atlantic’), the Outer Banks evokes an illustrious seafaring past, but is also a great sporting playground.
Fine fishing awaits anglers on charter boats, from numerous piers and bridges, and off miles of ocean and sound shores. There may be pockets of unwelcome sprawl, and it can get maddeningly overcrowded in summer, but most of the Outer Banks has been preserved by the National Park Service and looks blissfully unfettered.
The northern Outer Banks consists largely of seasonal beach towns, such as Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, where the Wright Brothers pioneered aeroplane flight. The winds that aided the brothers’ quest today draw serious windsurfers. In nearby Duck, the inviting Sanderling Resort & Spa adjoins 3,400-acre Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary. Explore miles of lonely windblown beach, or sign up for a tour offered by the eco-sensitive inn.
The guest rooms are beautifully decorated, and its Spa by the Sea offers such invigorating treatments as sea-stone massage and Russian-olive body wraps. The inn’s popular restaurant, housed in a restored 1899 U.S. Lifesaving Station and decked out in nautical artifacts, serves local treats like fricassee of shrimp and Carolina duckling with black cherry sauce. Dinner isn’t complete without the famous deep-dish pecan pie.
The mid-portion of the Outer Banks is dominated by bustling Nags Head (one of the Outer Banks’ largest and oldest communities) and Jockey’s Ridge State Park, home to towering sand dunes and a tree-lined boardwalk.
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