Exploring the Outer Banks – America’s First Beach

Text by Patti Morrow

With over 100 miles of pristine blue beaches that fringe the North Carolina coast, the Outer Banks is a popular vacation destination. Four narrow barrier islands stand between the North Carolina mainland and the Atlantic Ocean, each with its own unique vibe – from chill to action-filled.

The Outer Banks lays claim as “America’s First Beach.” Cape Hatteras National Seashore is the site of the USA’s first National Seashore as well as the site of the first English colony and the Wright Brothers’ first flight. The numerous beaches along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore are perhaps the best known. Wave action in some sections makes it a favorite for families, while the dunes in other parts of this coast stretch down to calmer water for a more relaxed experience.

Nags Head was one of the first spots on the Outer Banks to become a beach community. There are many access points throughout the town, and a 12 mile beach nourishment program has just been completed, creating a wider sandy beach and making it less crowded. The pier is lots of fun, with a totally different perspective from on the top boardwalk than underneath with the pilings.

Avon, a small town in the center of Hatteras Island offers fishing from a pier that juts out into the inviting blue-green water. Those who don’t want to fish can also enjoy the pier by taking a stroll to the end for

a fantastic view of the shoreline and town. For a different kind of beach experience, head west to Pamlico Sound. Tranquil waters here lend themselves to excellent kayaking and SUP (stand up paddle board) opportunities. It’s also here that you’ll find those blazing, Instagram-worthy sunsets.

The best way to stay in the Outer Banks is through the large supply of vacation rentals. We stayed at a magnificent, brand new beach home in the heart of Nags Head called The Sunfish Sanctuary.

With six colorful beachy decorated bedrooms and six bathrooms, there was plenty of room for our party of seven. On the third floor was an open plan living space where we socialized in the large lounging area on a cozy sectional sofa convenient to the upscale kitchen, and dining area. Floor-to-ceiling windows looked out to the beach. Other amenities included a private pool and four-person hot tub, arcade and pool table game room, washer/dryer, gas grill, and even an elevator. They thought of everything!

The location could not have been better. With my morning coffee in hand, I walked the short 160-yard path from the home which led to a gazebo overlooking the beach. On the boardwalk next to the gazebo were steps which led directly down to the beach. Starting the day just doesn’t get any better than that!

With such a central Nags Head location, we were also close to many of the Outer Banks restaurants, shops, art galleries, and attractions like Jockey’s Ridge, the Wright Brothers’ Monument, and Nag’s Head Fishing Pier.

Patti Morrow

Patti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of Luggage and Lipstick – an award-winning travel blog for Baby Boomer adventurers. She was named by TripAdvisor as one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having more Fun Than Millennials.” Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 publications, including The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, International Living Magazine, Travel Girl, and Ladies Home Journal. She has traveled to six continents, more than 65 countries, islands, and territories abroad, and most of the U.S., frequently in search of the World’s Best Beach and the World’s Best Margarita!



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