Trailering Magazine Archives - Destinations
Think Summer! Only 280 Days until Vacation!
by Beth McCann
Trailering Magazine's associate publisher Beth McCann makes an annual trip to The Outer Banks with her family. Here, she tells why it's a special place.
Summer vacations are over and the weather is starting to change. Oh sure, depending on where you live, there may still be a day or two, here or there, for you to hitch up the boat and go out, but they will be few. It is at this point every year that I start to think about next summer and all the vacation possibilities. It seems the winter weather is much easier to handle when you have a sunny vacation to look forward to. I thought I would share one of my favorite vacation spots with you. The Outer Banks, North Carolina has been the backdrop to some of my family's best summer vacation memories.
Corolla, NC is at the very northern end of Highway 12, the main road connecting all the towns of the Outer Banks. At most points during the trip north on 12 you can see water. Currituk Sound off to the left and the Atlantic Ocean to the right. There are beach house communities all along the route (many built on stilts as a time-tested way to survive high water during hurricane season) all trying to seek the best possible view. We pass through Kitty Hawk, Pine Island, Duck and Sanderling before reaching Corolla on this 20-mile expanse of Highway 12. Each town has an ambiance of its own; Kitty Hawk has the beach, tourist attractions and nightlife to interest the active crowd. Sanderling is naturally quiet and has all the amenities and privacy most posh resorts offer. Duck and Corolla offer more of an everyday family atmosphere coupled with great beaches. Many beach houses are rented by the week in Corolla. You have a choice of being on the Sound or on the Ocean side of Hwy 12 and from there you can choose the house size and the distance from the water and the price you want to pay. Most of the houses offer all amenities of home such as kitchen appliances, TV's, VCR's, games, books, baby equipment, outside showers and more. There are a number of Real Estate companies that specialize in summer rentals. Each offer printed catalogs with descriptions and photos of the houses including their exact location and the amenities each has to offer (for the fisherman with high hopes of catching dinner you can even choose a home equipped with a fish cleaning table). Most companies offer their catalogs online. I suggest you rent early, by February availability is limited. For those more in touch with nature than I am, a number of camping facilities are located throughout the Outer Banks. Campgrounds offering treed sites on the edge of ocean dunes to full service grounds with camping cottages are available. If hotel accommodations are more your style most of the major chains have facilities on the Outer Banks. No matter what your definition of "roughing it" is, there is a spot for you.
With accommodations out of the way you can plan activities that interest you. Planning early so that you can make reservations such as tee times and fishing charters can prevent disappointment on vacation. Tee off at one or more luxurious North Carolina golf courses, fly a kite from the North Carolina dunes, enjoy water sports or just relax and hunt for shells while enjoying the crisp Atlantic ocean waters on the beach. There is something for everyone on the Outer Banks.
Whether your trailered boat is used for fishing, pulling a water toy with a child attached or if it's a PWC, there is a place perfect to enjoy your sport. The sounds are shallow and calm, great for smaller boats including many car-topped kayaks. Larger trailerboats, especially those with adventurous captains can head out into the Atlantic, well not too far out!
The Outer Banks is famous for its lucrative fishing grounds. Fishing piers are great for the inexperienced angler (and I speak from personal experience). Your bait and tackle can be simple and with all the people around it is always entertaining. Don't have your own equipment, no problem, most of the bait shops rent rods and reels. If fishing from the pier doesn't hit the spot you can go offshore for real excitement. The Outer Banks' proximity to the Continental shelf edge and the Gulf Stream is what makes offshore fishing so good. Offshore charters are available throughout the Outer Banks. Usually there is room for six passengers along with the Captain and mate. All of the equipment is included in the price and is waiting on the boat for you when you arrive. You do not need to bring any previous offshore experience with you but don't forget sunscreen and something for motion sickness. Call early for best reservations. Want just a little less excitement, there are many boat ramps scattered along the Outer banks. Fish from your own boat or rent one. There are over 900 square miles of inshore waters available for fishing. There is access to the Currituck, Croatan, Roanoke and Pamlico sounds and while ramps are also available at both Hatteras and Oregon inlets, where the fishing is most lucrative, be prepared for strong currents and changing shoals.
The steady breeze on the Outer Banks coastline makes it an excellent playground for things that fly. Experience the thrill of hang gliding from the dunes or parasailing above the sound. Try your hand at windsurfing or wave surfing, conditions are perfect for both. There are many shops dotted along the Outer Banks where you can rent or buy surfing equipment; lessons are also available if this is your first time. And don't pass up the opportunity to simply fly a kite, it's amazing but I swear the higher the kite soars in the sky the younger you feel.
Sightseeing, shopping and eating are always at the top of any vacation list and the Outer Banks is no exception. The area is jam packed with history. From the spot where the Wright brothers first got off the ground, where today stands a museum and gift shop, to the grounds of the Lost Colony to some of the nations most beautiful light houses. If you have a four-wheel drive, take a drive just north of Corolla and you will experience the true meaning of "born free". At the bitter northern end of Hwy 12 you will pass through a gate to enter on to the beach. This area is home to more than 30 wild Spanish mustang horses, descendants of horses that survived shipwrecks as early as 1523. It is a magnificent sight to see the horses running free through the dunes and along the beach with their manes bouncing with the wind. If you do not have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you can rent one locally. There are also wild horse tours available.
Whether you are a serious shopper or just want to pass the time on a rainy day, there are many unique gift and specialty shops to browse. It's a great place to start your holiday shopping early! For visitors with more immediate needs, the Outer Banks is famous for their seafood buffets. I don't think that you can drive five miles on any stretch of Highway 12 without finding a restaurant offering a seafood buffet, you can't miss them and if you crave good seafood you shouldn't. There are too many selections to name, fried, broiled, blackened and baked fish of all types alongside steamed, fried, hot and cold shell fish, chef specialties and much, much more. It is a seafood lover's fantasy.
For More Information...
About the Outer Banks towns www.outerbanks.org
Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce www.outerbankschamber.com 252-441-8144
Wright Brothers National Memorial Park www.nps.gov/wrbr/ 252-441-7430
North Carolina Maritime Museum 252-475-1750
Wild Horses www.corollawildhorses.com
Currituck Beach Lighthouse www.currituckbeachlight.com