Dare County vs. Kildare County
Dare County, North Carolina is the eastern most county in the state with more than 100 miles of shoreline stretching from the Northern Beaches to Roanoke Island to Hatteras Island. The county is named after Virginia Dare, the first child born in the Americas to English parents, who was born in what is now Dare County. Kildare County from the show, is a mash-up of our county name with the town of Kill Devil Hills. The Outer Banks, or OBX shorthand, includes six towns and nine villages, each with their own distinct personality and charm.
'Outer Banks' Netflix show introduction sign (top) versus real OBX welcome sign in Manteo, NC (bottom).
Shaped by wind & water
The Outer Banks Netflix show’s depiction of OBX as a bustling little community that’s pedestrian friendly, fueled by tourism and surrounded by marshes, sand and water is mostly accurate. Just park and explore on foot the towns waterfront boardwalks or marinas with lots of outdoor dining opportunities and a host of locally owned fun and funky shops with armloads of jewelry, art and coastal gifts and decor. Dig a little deeper and you'll find a well-rooted commercial fishing heritage, where generations of local families have lived off of the Outer Banks waters in the same fashion for as long as anyone can remember, harvesting the freshest fish, crab and shellfish for local restaurants and home-cooking.
In the show, John B.’s missing father spent the last 20 years of his life searching for a lost treasure and just after a recent hurricane passes through, the group of friends find a shipwreck containing another clue to help solve this lifelong hunt.
The real Outer Banks of North Carolina has a reputation of being the Graveyard of the Atlantic, and there are estimates approaching 3,000 shipwrecks along the islands, going back to the first English settlements in America. While these wrecks are not host to treasure, they are rich in history and marine life. Today, you can find shipwrecks periodically uncovered on the beach, but for snorkel and scuba diving, there’s no place better on the East Coast. From the “Triangle Wrecks” just off Kill Devil Hills, or the Huron off Nags Head, to the deeper water German U-boat dives, begin planning how deep to go, starting here.
We won’t give away all the spoilers of the show, but after John B. and his friends find a one word clue from the shipwreck -- “Redfield,” they immediately head over to the (fictional) Redfield Lighthouse.
People love lighthouses not only on tv but on the Outer Banks because these beacons are amongst the most tireless. You have the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse that is the tallest in America and arguably the most recognized lighthouse in the world. And then you have the Bodie Island Lighthouse in Nags Head that’s been here longer than any of us alive today, and they’re both still keeping watch.
The OBX’s newest lighthouse can be found on the Manteo downtown waterfront, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. It’s a replica of a historic screwpile lighthouse that marked a safe channel for sailing and steaming the so-named shallow wetlands that once lay between Roanoke Island and the mainland.
While there is no ferry between the OBX and Chapel Hill like on the Netflix series, we do have accessible ferries for visitors. As we're surrounded by water, the main islands of the Outer Banks are accessible and connected by bridges or reachable by ferry. Traveling by ferry is a convenient and popular mode of transportation on the Outer Banks when you want to visit neighboring Ocracoke Island. The Hatteras to Ocracoke Ferry is free and the ride is about 60 minutes long. For a complete look at the NC DOT Ferry service schedules and fares, please visit here.
'Outer Banks' Netflix ferry (top) versus the real Hatters Island to Ocracoke Ferry (bottom).
*Header image from Netflix 'Outer Banks.'