Tag Archives: OBX

Shark safety tips

Shark safety tipsMany OBX visitors would agree that relaxing days at the beach are the best part of an Outer Banks vacation. Our beautiful beaches draw millions of tourists every year, but some vacationers stay out of the water due to their fear of sharks. Take a look at the shark attack statistics I am sharing below – it’s not as bad as you might think. In general, if you follow simple shark safety tips, you will have little to worry about.

It may be comforting to know that shark attacks on the Outer Banks, and in the world in general, are very rare. According to International Shark attack file, in 2012, there were a total of 80 unprovoked attacks in the entire world (78 in 2011, 82 in 2010) with a total of 7 fatal outcomes. About half of the unprovoked attacks happened in the North American waters (42), with the majority of them in Florida, Hawaii, and California. North Carolina had 2 recorded shark bites in 2012. According to the same source, the majority of shark attacks involve surfers and others participating in board sports, and only about 22% of recreational swimmers.

If you look at accident statistics for the Outer Banks, the chances of getting severely hurt by a shark are very slim when compared to the danger of riding a bicycle along the side of the highway 158 or crossing the road in unmarked crosswalks. Don’t let the fear of sharks stop you from enjoying the water, but do follow shark safety tips below.

    1. Sharks feed at dawn and at dusk, so swimming in the Ocean early in the morning or late in the afternoon is not recommended. I suggest the swimming time-frame of 10 am to 4 pm, to be on the safe side. 
    2. Some types of sharks are more aggressive than others, but, generally, they are not very interested in humans. However, sharks can mistaken shiny jewelry and swimming suit buckles for fish scales, especially in cloudy or murky water, so, it’s a good idea to leave all jewelry (including rings, bracelets, ear rings, necklaces, and watches) at home and save the shiny and reflective bathing suits for a pool. Same goes for bright colored swimwear as sharks are drawn to bright and contrasting colors, especially yellow.

3. Sharks are very attracted to bodily fluids, especially blood, so menstruating women and everyone with an open wound should avoid swimming in the Ocean. Urinating in the water may also be a bad idea.

4. Steer clear of fishermen fishing at the beach – you never know what might be after the smaller fish they are trying to catch. I also would suggest that you don’t swim too close to Fishing piers - sharks may be attracted to bait and discarded fish.

5. Splashing resembles the behavior of wounded prey, so swim smoothly and avoid erratic movements to avoid drawing shark’s attention.

6. Avoid sandbars and steep drop-offs.

7. Never swim alone. Although shark attacks are extremely rare, it’s always a good idea to swim with a group, just in case.

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Fun activity for kids on Outer Banks

fun activity for kids on Outer Banks

Fun things to do with kids in Nags Head, NC

Looking for a fun activity for kids on Outer Banks? When children need a short break for the heat at the beach or on a rainy day, we suggest that you take them to the “Outer Banks Gearworks” in Nags Head at Milepost 10.5 for a few games of laser tag and then help them cool down with some frozen yogurt at “Sweet Frog” next door.

Laser tag is a relatively new fun activity for kids on Outer Banks. ”Outer Banks Gearworks” opened for business a few years ago, and, since then, they have become a popular party destination for OBX kids. In case you are not familiar with laser tag, let me explain how it works. After you listen to a short presentation about laser tag equipment and game rules, you will be asked to pick a team to join – red or blue. You will then will be directed to pick out a vest and laser gun with flashing lights in your team color. The game host will then invite one of the teams to go inside the two-story game room and ask the team members to spread out. Once the second team enters the game room, the game is on. The objective of the game is to beat the other team by getting the most points. You will accumulate points by tagging the members of the rival team and shooting at their “home base.” The game room has ramps and permanent wall dividers and the entire game is played in a dark room with dimmed lights. The laser tag game is pretty fun and intense – you can get tagged at any point and from any direction. 

I would recommend Laser Tag for kids ages 5 and up, but I have seen some kids as young as 3 take on the laser tag game challenge. Younger children will definitely need to be supervised, so it’s a good idea for parents to join in the fun. If there are younger kids in your group who are not ready to participate in the laser tag game, “Outer Banks Gearworks” also has a room with two small bounce houses where kids can play all day for only $5.

I also suggest that you check out the Outer Banks Gearworks website for special offers like unlimited play deals, all day passes, or discounted rates for certain times of the day.

Once kids are done playing laser tag and are ready to cool down, take them to “Sweet Frog” directly in front of OBX Gearworks building – the absolute favorite frozen yogurt shop on the Outer Banks where you can pick your own frozen yogurt flavors and mix and match toppings to your taste.

fun things to do with kids on the Outer Banks

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Outer Banks Mileposts

Outer Banks MilepostsIf you ask an Outer Banks local for directions, you are likely to hear a reference to Outer Banks Mileposts. Since the OBX consists of narrow islands that stretch for miles and miles, milepost system is very convenient, when it comes to giving directions. At the same time, mileposts can be somewhat confusing, if you are not familiar with the mile-tracking system. Here is how it works.

In Dare County, milepost (MP) count starts at Dare County/ Currituck County border line (on Wright Memorial Bridge) and runs south, along Hwy 158 and then along Highway 12 towards Cape Hatteras. Ocracoke also has milepost markers, but they are part of Hyde county mile-tracking system. Wright Memorial Bridge connects the Currituck mainland to Kitty Hawk and Southern Shores, and shortly after you get off the bridge coming into the Outer Banks from Currituck and Virginia, you will see the MILE 1 green and white sign.

Here is a list of approximate locations of Outer Banks Mileposts, from Kitty Hawk to Hatteras:

Milepost 1: Wal-Mart, ABC store, Starbucks Coffee shop, Food Lion

Milepost 2: Outer Banks Welcome Center, Highway 158 and Highway 12 intersection (that’s the road leading to Southern Shores, Corolla, and Duck)

Milepost 3: Brew Thru drive-through shop, Bank of America

Milepost 4: Kitty Hawk post office, Seven Eleven

Milepost 5: Henry’s Restaurant, right before the Outer Banks Paradise Fun Park

Milepost 6: Milepost 6 Shopping Center (look for Chip’s Wine & Beer Market and Chip’s Tasting lounge signs), less than 1/2 mile past Wells Fargo bank

Milepost 7: Kmart, R/C Movie theater, Belk, Food Lion

Milepost 8: Wright Brothers National Memorial and Kill Devil Hills Airport

Milepost 9: Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonalds, Pizza Hut – area also known as “French Fry Alley”

Milepost 10: Harris Teeter, Ben Franklin, Rite Aid

Milepost 11: Outer Banks YMCA

Milepost 12: Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Milepost 13: Surf Side Plaza, Nags Head Post office

Milepost 14: OBX Hospital, Applebee’s, Outback

Milepost 15: Nags Head Links golf course, Salt Water Taffy Store “Forbes Candies, Inc” (closer to MP 15.5)

Milepost 16: Tanger Outlet, The Dunes Restaurant, Owens Restaurant, Jennette’s Pier

Milepost 17: go on to causeway towards Pirates Cove Marina and Manteo attractions or go South towards Rodanthe (approx. MP 45), Waves (approx. MP 47), Salvo (approx. MP 49), Avon (approx. MP 63), Buxton(approx. MP 70), and Hatteras (approx. MP 79).

Next time, when you ask an OBX local for directions, you should be well prepared to hear: “It’s at Milepost _, next to _.” The Outer Banks Mileposts system has been working well for us, and we hope it will make it a little easier for you to find your way around the Outer Banks.

As always, please feel free to ask any questions about Outer Banks, we would love to hear back from you :) Enjoy your Outer Banks visit!


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Best Happy Hour on Outer Banks, NC

best happy hour Outer Banks NCIf you are visiting from a different state, you may be surprised to find out that North Carolina state regulations prohibit happy hours drink specials. ABC Rule 2S.0232 (b) states “An on premise permittee or his agent shall not give away a drink or sell the drink for any period of time less than one full business day.” “Buy one drink, get one free” specials are not allowed, and neither are specials offered for one segment of population only (like “ladies night” specials). You can find answers to frequently asked questions about NC happy hour rules here: Happy Hour FAQs.

But the good news is that Happy hour specials on food are not regulated. Therefore, you are very likely to find a great deal on food between 3pm and 5pm. 25 cent wings, 10-25 cent shrimp, $1 tacos, specially priced oysters, and 15-25 cent crawfish are some of the Happy hour food specials you are likely to run into on the Outer Banks. Restaurants will sometimes ask you to sit at the bar, in order to take advantage of the food special – they do want you to buy a drink or two. 

So where is the best happy hour on Outer Banks, NC? Many locals would agree that Hurricane Mo’s at milepost 4.5, right by the Kitty Hawk Post office offers the best happy hour on the beach. Between the hours of 3 and 6 pm, you can buy 10 cent shrimp, 25 cent wings, and $1 tacos. The shrimp is huge, and a 100-120 shrimp ($10-$12) is often enough to feed 3 adults. What’s the catch? Drinks are a little on the pricey side – almost $2 for a soda, $3.50-$4.00 for beer, but hey, where else can you indulge a seafood craving for such a low price? Hurricane Mo’s is very popular with locals and visitors alike, so come early to be sure you get in before the happy hour is over.

best happy hour Outer Banks

Steamed shrimp

And since restaurants and bars can’t offer drink specials for any period of time less than one full business day, many establishments will offer daily drink specials, so be sure to check with your waiter or bartender on that.


Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills NC

Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills NC

Photos of Wright Brothers National Memorial

An Outer Banks vacation is not complete without a visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, NC. The Memorial is a tribute to the First Flight completed by Orville and Wilbur Wright on December 17, 1903, when the airplane built by the brothers and navigated by Orville Wright soared in the air for 12 seconds. Although others have attempted to fly planes, this was the first controlled flight with a safe landing.

The Wright Brothers National Memorial is one of the most affordable attractions on the Outer Banks. Kids under 16 years old are admitted free, and an individual permit for those 16 years and older can be purchased for $4. The permit is valid for 1 to 7 consecutive days. For more information about admissions, visit Wright Brothers Memorial Fees & Reservations page. The Wright Brothers Memorial visitor center and Centennial pavilion are open 7 days a week, 9 am to 5 pm daily, closed Christmas Day.

The Wright Brothers Memorial is a great place to learn about the history of aviation in the early 19 hundreds. On display at the visitor center, you will see a full-scale reproduction of the 1902 glider, a full-scale reproduction of the 1903 flying machine, an engine block from the original 1903 Flyer, and a reproduction of the Wright’s first wind tunnel.

Wright Brothers National Memorial Photos

Take a walk up to the 60 ft monument, and enjoy the amazing view from the top of Kill Devil hill. Stop by the Kill Devil Hills Airport at the foot of the hill, and watch private planes land and take off. And don’t miss the First Flight metal sculpture display – a perfect spot for photo opportunities and a kids favorite.

Wright Brothers Memorial Kill Devil Hills NC

Take a walk along the circle path around the Kill Devil Hill. You may also want to bring a cooler and enjoy your lunch outdoors at one of the picnic tables at the Wright Brothers Memorial. And, if you are a nature lover, you may be pleasantly surprised by deer that can be frequently seen on the hill or walking through the nearby woods. The landing field at Kill Devil Hills Airport is another place you may be able to spot them.

As always, enjoy your Outer Banks visit, and please let us know if you have any questions about your upcoming OBX vacation.

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