After having a fantastic few days in Cape Hatteras, it was time for my family to head north and visit the Kitty Hawk/Nags Head area. Dare County offers more than 100 miles of shoreline and we wanted to see as much as we could! Hatteras is more secluded and this area is more populated with tourists so we wanted to experience them both. The weather was gorgeous, the sea called our name, activities to do were around every corner and the sights to see were too many to see on one trip, but we were determined to squeeze in as much as we could!
As we headed north to Nags Head we came across the Scratchmade Snackery, a quaint family owned business where, as the name implies, everything is made from scratch. French pastries, cinnamon rolls, cheesecakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies and more! Need I say more? We treated ourselves to a box full of fresh baked goodies and continued on our journey. Craftsmen and artisans are what make a community and give it character – they always deserve a stop!
We spied an upcoming road sign for Pea Island – we had read about it in some travel brochures and heard about it at the Whalebone visitors center so, we decided to make an unscheduled pit stop to the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. This barrier island boasts a unique educational and hands on visitor center with wildlife exhibits, lots of information and a gift shop. Pea Island is home to a completely undeveloped piece of land with gorgeous views and serene walking trails. Gorgeous just doesn’t do it justice. Bird watching is the most common wildlife activity here, but if you are lucky you can find sea turtles, fish, rays and dolphins. You could spend 30 minutes here popping in and out of the visitors center or 2 to 3 hours and venture out onto the trails in search of a wildlife adventure.
When we arrived at Nags Head in Dare County we checked in to our hotel, the Colonial Inn overlooking the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. The Colonial Inn is open year round and is one of the oldest motels on the Outer Banks. It boasts a pool, a beach and a pier to keep everyone happy and its pet friendly as well so although we didn’t bring any furry friends on this visit we’ll know in the future that they are welcomed! After we settled in to our cozy room literally just about 3 feet from the pool, complete with free WiFi, we changed into our swim suits and got in a quick swim before we went out on the water for our next adventure with OBX Crabbing Charters.
Other than needing sunscreen we had no idea what to expect on a crabbing boat charter. OBX Crabbing is a peek in to the life of a local waterman. Our adventure was led by a full time commercial fishing family who are looking to give families a real Outer Banks experience. The kids got to try their hand at commercial crabbing and they had lots of hands on experiences and learned so much about what it takes to make a living on the water. They have a sort of winch that pulls up the crab pots and the boat owner shows the kids how it works and then gives them hands on experience.
The kids loved shaking the crabs out of the trap and seeing what interesting fish sometimes make their way up with the winch. The pelican soon learn that the traps are filled with fish and clams and stay close to the boats in hopes of a tasty treat. We don’t have pelicans in the Mid-Atlantic region so these long billed birds were a treat to watch dive in and out of the ocean!
Our last adventure of the day was at The Lost Colony. This wonderful family experience is listed as the number one family experience on the Outer Banks. Find out what happened to the 117 men, women and children who arrived on Roanoke Island to establish an English Settlement in the new world in 1587 and then completely disappeared just three years later. One of the great mysteries is re-enacted here in an enormous outdoor theater over three times larger than most Broadway stages!
Our family was excited to take the VIP backstage tour where we got to see the actors being painted for their roles and authentic looking costumes and sets. What a fabulous and cultural experience this is for the kids….highly recommended! We watched epic battles, experienced the heartbreak and tragedy, laughter and romance all in this gorgeous outdoor theater. It was a cultural experience of a lifetime!
Day 3 in Dare County, North Carolina didn’t disappoint! We had unique amazing experiences and made memories we will cherish for many years to come. One more day left of our Outer Banks vacation! There are still adventures to be shared! Stay tuned for Day 4 of our OBX experience tomorrow.
To go back and read my adventures in the Outer Banks and start at Day #1 go here!