Bring your worries to the sea and watch them wash away at your feet. We can all use a little extra self-care these days and what better place to heal and renew than on the Outer Banks of North Carolina? Shifting shorelines, lapping waves, sea oats swaying in the wind...just picturing this scene can put you at ease. So come as you are, unplug, and reconnect to your inner-self. Try these activities to elevate your wellness while on an OBX vacation.
Connect to Nature
Mornings are best spent by the edge of the ocean. We have over 100 miles of shoreline and countless nooks along the sound to explore. Find clarity by meditating near the water in awe of the new day, comb the beach to see what treasures have been unveiled from the night before, or walk and chat to connect with others. If you prefer a slower start to the morning, you can catch the sunset along the soundside as an alternative. Don't forget to place your phone in airplane mode to be present in the moment. Read more on these 7 Perfect Sunrise and Sunset Spots on the OBX including some of our most known attractions like Jockey's Ridge State Park, Duck Boardwalk, and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Stroll Elizabethan Gardens, a living memorial built for Sir Walter Raleigh's lost colonists, with a collection of Renaissance statues and 10 acres of botanical delights. Seasonal changes bring an array of flowering plants, shrubs and trees that have drawn visitors to return again and again. Dapple-shaded walkways and butterfly homes sound like a dreamy escape to something magical. Connecting to nature never sounded so good.
Move & Heal Your Body
We know regular physical activity helps to manage stress and improve overall health. Why not throw in a little movement and exploration while on vacation? This can help keep you in a workout routine even though you are away from your normal, familiar environment. Walking, biking, running, roller-skating, and other self-powered modes of transportation are a fun way to move your body and get your blood pumping.
The Outer Banks is often overlooked as a place for great hiking. While we do not have mountains to climb, we have some of the tallest sand dunes on the east coast and some of the best hidden hiking trails too. Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve, Buxton Woods Reserve, Kitty Hawk Woods, are just a few of the protected maritime trails open to the public.
Cyclists will find many paths, avenues, boardwalks, and roads to explore by bike. Starting in our northernmost town Duck, reaching south to the villages on Hatteras Island, and sliding west towards Roanoke Island, the perfect Outer Banks cycling route is waiting for you. Appropriate for any level of rider, the OBX hosts bridges, wide flat shoulders, and rolling paved paths beside dunes and rich salt marshes. Most of the tracks are level, making an ideal leisure stroll for families or long stretches for serious cyclists trying to test their bike’s speed. Beach cruisers, roadies, or fat-tire bikes are all welcomed on this stretch of island.
Another way to move is through yoga. Yoga improves strength, balance, and flexibility while creating a harmony between body and mind. Beach yoga or indoor yoga classes are offered along the entire stretch of beaches. Find licensed instructors for a quick and easy morning or evening session. View a full list of our Spas & Wellness Centers. We also acknowledge that exercise and movement can be great for many folks, but rest is another important tool to heal your body and mind. So listen to your body for times when you need to do nothing but be.
Self-care is self-preservation. After moving your body, leave time to heal your body. Treat yourself to a massage, facial or any number of other services like reiki, salt caves, hydration therapy...the OBX has it all. We have many businesses offering self-care luxuries from our Northern beaches down to Cape Hatteras National Seashore and all the towns in between.
Expand Your Mind
Keeping an open mind can allow you to learn new things about the people and world around you. Immersing yourself into the local culture and community of places you visit is a sign of respect and mental strength. This can mean reading up on the rich history of the Outer Banks, signing up for a local volunteer opportunity with our many non-profits, visiting the small mom & pop shops that dot these barrier islands, or doing your part to be a Responsible Traveler.
Don't know where to get started? Read these Things You May Not Know About the Outer Banks or check out a full list of historic sites and museums. Spark up a conversation with a local, you never know where it may take you.
Fuel Your Body
A happy gut is a happy body! There are quite a few health-conscious restaurants in the Outer Banks that can accommodate your dietary needs. Read our article Healthy Eats on the OBX to find inspiration for your dining needs.
This rounds up our itinerary to elevate your wellness while vacationing on the Outer Banks. We hope you make wellness your priority and leave feeling rejuvenated.