The Outer Banks, North Carolina, is one of the best beach destinations that you're not going to. With miles of sandy beaches, gentle surf, and an impressive number of activities, it's a wonder that this low-key locale doesn't see the crowds that other east coast beaches attract. Late summer and early fall are great times to go—it's still beach weather, but the crowds are thinning out.
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Things You Can't Miss
Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk preserves the site where Orville and Wilbur first soared. Stroll the whole flight path in minutes.
William S. Kuta / Alamy
Glide like the Wright Brothers did at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Kill Devil Hills. Kitty Hawk Kites gives hang gliding lessons.
Karen & Ian Stewart/Alamy
Skip the gym. Climb the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, tallest in the United States. It’s 268 steps to the top — but who’s counting?
Ferry across Pamlico Sound to Ocracoke Island. Walk in the footsteps of Blackbeard the pirate, then watch a spectacular sunset.
"The Lost Colony" is staged every summer on Roanoke Island, site of a failed English settlement in 1585. Andy Griffith is among the cast’s alumni.
Shared Trips to this Destination
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Must Reads Before You Go
Planning a cruise? Read this guide on what to expect and how to get the most out of your voyage.