Imagine miles of golden sand that is as soft as a pillow and turquoise water with an average temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit as far as the eye can see! What if I told you this destination was located in the southeastern region of the United States? The Outer Banks is a giant sandbar located in North Carolina that rose from the sea between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago! It consists of 3 barrier islands: Hatteras Island, Roanoke Island, and the Northern Beaches. Although every month of the year has its perks of visiting the OBX, we were lucky enough to experience the season of fall in October. In this article we’ll be highlighting our favorite seven romantic reasons why couples must visit the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
B.E.A.C.H. – Best Escape Anyone Can Have:
Did you know the Outer Banks beaches stretch for miles and is the site of our country’s first national seashore? This is America’s first beach! What better way to view this national treasure then by horseback! The first activity on our list starts with Equine Adventures, which is a horseback riding, center located on Hatteras Island. Before we tell you about our exciting adventure, let us tell you about the famous Hatteras Island! Hatteras Island is a barrier island located off the North Carolina coast, it divides the Atlantic Ocean and the Pamlico Sound. The long stretch of barrier island shoreline is one of the longest islands in the continental United States! One of our favorite stops along highway 12 to our horseback riding experience was Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge! The refuge was established in 1938 to provide nesting, resting, and wintering habitat for migratory birds, including the greater snow geese, waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, and neotropical migrants. The refuge also provides habitat and protection for endangered and threatened species, such as loggerhead sea turtles. This is one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen!
After our adventure through the refuge, we were on our way to Equine Adventures! Upon arrival we were introduced to our horses, Oz & Presley, and immediately fell in love with their colorful personalities. Our ride started in the charming Maritime forest with giant trees such as the Southern Live Oak and Loblolly Pine towering over us. The site is about two miles away from the beach, and a scenic ride with sounds of the forest to accompany you. Once we had reached the edge of the forest, it was up to each rider how he or she wanted to enter the beach: canter in style, continue a relaxing walk, or strut his or her stuff.
We decided to canter out and let our horses take the lead. This was the pinnacle of this excursion as the salty air breeze rushed through our hair, and you felt immersed in the beauty of the shoreline just like a Nicholas Sparks movie scene. The tour guides give you about thirty solid minutes to frolic and play with your horse before a couple quick pictures at the end. As a couple, there is nothing more romantic than to be trotting alongside your loved one on beautiful horses with the sun shining down on the glassy ocean water and golden sand. Our recommendation would be to go on the second tour of the day, which allows you to sleep in that extra hour, and ensure the sun will be out when you reach the tides. The entire activity is about six miles of riding in total.
Love at First Flight:
Now it’s time to experience an open-cockpit flight and aerial tour over the Outer Banks with OBX Biplanes! Encounter spectacular views along the North Carolina coast while enjoying a narrated airplane tour from one of the professionals! This activity is great for couples because the plane can only hold two people in the front seat, and one professional pilot in the back seat making it an intimate experience. This was a first time flying with the top half-open and the brisk air surrounding us.
The tour takes you on a scenic yet historical ride as you witness magnificent sites such as Jeannette’s Pier on the oceanfront, the Wright’s Brothers Monument, Jockey’s Ridge and the Bodie Island Lighthouse in the distance. It is also common to see dolphins, sea turtles and large schools of fish swimming through the current directly beneath you. In our case, we were not able to spot any marine life, however, the amazing views made up for it! Toward the end of our flight, our pilot asked if we liked rollercoaster’s, and without skipping a beat we both raised our hands to give two thumbs up. In an instant, we were diving down and then back up creating a rollercoaster effect that was an intense rush of excitement and that gave us both a tingle sensation all over our bodies. As we laughed like a couple of kids we begged the pilot to relive the experience before heading in to the airport. Our recommendation would be to request the Deluxe Air tour, and definitely don’t miss out on the rollercoaster if he asks!
After our amazing flight over the Outer Banks, we adventured our way over to The Wright Brothers Memorial! This is a MUST SEE when visiting the Outer Banks! The Wright Brothers Memorial, located in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, commemorates the first successful, sustained, powered flights in a heavier than air machine. Wind, sand, and a dream of flying brought Wilbur and Orville Wright to Kitty Hawk where after four years of scientific experimentation, they achieved the first successful flights on December 17, 1903. What they achieved has changed our world forever! This was very important to us as our job is showcasing tourism and without airplanes, we would have not been able to visit the beautiful Outer Banks!
After an amazing experience of horseback riding through the Maritime forest it was time to Kayak through the Maritime river. On the third day of our visit we ventured out to the Kitty Hawk Kayak and Surf school to explore more of the Outer Banks. There are two options one can choose: a single or a double rider kayak. We decided to select a double person kayak, and pushed off into the river. Tyler was our trained and friendly professional who guided our two-hour tour. Some of the creatures that are easy to spot along side the banks and in the river include snapping turtles, otters, and snakes. Although we saw none of these, it was still an incredible and romantic experience calmly floating through the trees and fall breeze with the one you love. Our recommendation would be to opt for the double person kayak seeing as it has a romantic charm while rowing through the forest river.
Sail Away with Me:
Sail the Outer Banks and off into the sunset on a forty-one foot Gulf star! Pop open a bottle of champagne and snack on bite size caprese while watching seagulls fly over the Manteo waterfront. This is exactly the evening we experienced while sailing with Sail Outer Banks, which is a private company, owned by a local husband and wife. Although private sail charters are available for up to six guests, it is the perfect excursion for a couple of lovebirds.
To enhance our sailing we brought snacks and drinks. The first half of our activity was spent manning the steering wheel and snapping timeless photos around the boat.
The second half was spent laying on the bow of the ship in each others arms watching the sun set into the ocean, and felt the warm breeze turn to brisk air.
The whole experience lasted about three hours, and it was an awesome way to see the Outer Banks from the water. Our recommendation would be to sail in the evening as we felt it had the most romantic ambiance.
Lighthouses are for Lovers:
Although there are plenty of lighthouses worth seeing while visiting the Outer Banks, we’d like to highlight our two favorites. The first recommendation would be Bodie Lighthouse, which stands about one hundred and seventy feet high, and was the first lit in the year 1872. The grounds have the original house directly in the center, and a bridge walkway that leads to a veranda in the middle of the marshy field. After viewing the spectacular scenery around the property we headed to our second stop, Cape Hatteras Light Station of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The size of this lighthouse would be equivalent to climbing a twelve-story building, however, we decided not to do this. Looking at black and white spiral bands with red brick base and granite corners from the ground was more than enough for us. Never the less there are plenty of spectacular scenic points around this location for taking a timeless photograph with your loved one.
Oh Darling, Let’s be Adventurers:
Hang gliding may not sound like a romantic activity at first, but what could be more romantic than an adventure with your loved one? The day before our departure we headed out to Jockey’s Ridge where sand dunes range from twenty to sixty-eight feet high! Kitty Hawk kites is a school that teaches a few different aerial activities including the famous hang gliding experience. Once we watched a twenty-minute video on safety tips and tricks to a successful hang-glide encounter, we headed out on the dunes to practice what we just learned. Our instructors were Jesse and Luke who had been on almost two thousand hang glides over the years. What a special feeling it was to both fly solo our very first time with the help from our awesome instructors! The whole excursion lasted about three hours, and we felt it was well worth the time we put in. Our recommendation would be to request our instructors by name, as they will definitely show you a great time!
It’s no surprise that we saved the best for last, and of course it happens to be the most relaxing activity we experienced together. The Sanderling Resort is located in the town of Duck, which was exactly a thirty-minute drive away from our hotel in Kitty Hawk. The spa at the Sanderling was a romantic ambiance with exceptional service and world-class amenities. Our reservation included a couple’s massage with access to the lounge and serenity area. After a complimentary tour around the facilities we were ready to enjoy a nice massage. Once we had a quick introduction to our masseuse we were able to relax with a fifty minutes couples massage. The afternoon ended perfectly with a hot cinnamon tea and delicious organic fruits and nuts to finish out our experience.
The Outer Banks has a variety of food available ranging from deep-fried made-to-order doughnuts to fresh daily caught fish prepared multiple different ways. Let’s start with our number one breakfast recommendation, Duck Donuts. On any given day of the week one can find a line of people standing and waiting to get their hands on one of these creative and delicious creations. These made-to-order donuts could not come any more fresh as they are made right in front of you from dough to deep-fried and then decorated whatever way you like. There is an original menu of donuts to help you decide, however, in our case it was simple. We ordered three donut styles: two brain bits (Halloween themed) that consisted of vanilla, streusel, apple, and cinnamon sugar, two Halloween vanilla sprinkled, and the staple favorite maple bacon. This is a highly recommended place to eat breakfast when visiting the OBX!
Our favorite lunch highlight would be Lost Colony Brewery which is located right by the pier. Our courses included a baked brie appetizer, shrimp melt sandwich with onion rings and Katelyn’s melt chicken sandwich.
Dinner was our favorite course of the day when we entered into the world of Diamond Shoal’s restaurant in Buxton. Shoals has an original owner of thirty years plus with an authentic menu and fresh caught fish on the daily. This happens to be the only restaurant where one can find sushi on this part of the Island with some of the most creative style rolls available. Our dinner consisted of a house favorite Lion Sushi roll, lightly breaded Sheepshead dinner and a fried Flounder dinner accompanied by sweet potato fries.
One of our other FAVORITE restaurant experiences in the Outer Banks was at The Lifeguard Saving Station located at the Sanderling Resort. The food was incredible and the presentation was outstanding! The Life Saving Stations were constructed originally along the Atlantic shores to assist wayward passengers and crew aboard shipwrecked vessels. The historical memorabilia and nautical artifacts are decorated throughout the restaurant.
On a side note, we also would recommend TRIO Wine, Beer, and Cheese which has the best Grilled Cheeses and wine in town. Two other dinner favorites of ours included The Black Pelican famous for their great bacon wrapped scallops and JK’s Restaurant that had a delicious Filet Mignon available.
Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks/ Kitty Hawk
Can we just say how beautiful the grounds were at this property!!! The Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks/ Kitty Hawk is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean with stunning views of the beautiful beach and the fishing pier from the private balconies of every guest room! The property offers a gorgeous indoor and outdoor pool, a beautiful patio with fire pits, a fully equipped fitness center, a video game arcade, free parking, and free wi-fi. Start your day with a delicious breakfast at the on site restaurant Garden Grill then head out to the fishing pier for some exciting family fun!
The Outer Banks is a romantic paradise for couples where you can find love in everything that you do. Experience the southern charm and hospitality first hand with the activities listed above or creates your own itinerary of memorable experiences. In any case, thank you for your support in reading this article, and be sure to visit www.Adventurpro.com for more travel tips and exciting adventure stories from our travels around the world.
Have a great day, and always remember your Adventure Awaits!