|The view from Run Hill. Located in Kill Devil Hills at the end of a Nags Head Woods trail.|
It’s hard to imagine but at some point during the week you may get your fill of sand, surf and sun so here’s a few suggestions for other things to do on the Outer Banks. We’re going to stick to the outdoor stuff this time and come back to wine tasting and shopping later. By no means a complete list and we’re going to try take a look at some of the little bit different things to do.
That doesn’t mean that taking a safari tour to check out the wild horses north of Corolla isn’t fun–we’ve done it and it is. Or climbing the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and getting that incredible view isn’t worthwhile. It’s just that there are some things to do that may not get quite the publicity but are just as interesting.
We’ll start with the water because if you go 150 or at the most 200 yards east or west on the Outer Banks, chances are you’ll be in the water.
The northern Outer Banks, from Duck north are absolutely ideal for exploring the waters in a kayak. There are a lot of outfitters offering an incredible variety of tours, so we’re not going to recommend any one. That being said, one of the best kayak tours we ever took was through the canals in Carova. Experienced kayakers, may wish to just rent a kayak and go out on their own.
The latest craze in water sports are Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP). Think of a large, high buoyancy surfboard that you propel with a paddle. They’re remarkably easy to use, but a lesson or two makes the experience more enjoyable. Again, there are a lot of places that rent and give lessons, so we’re not going to recommend any one place.
Since we’re talking about outdoor things to do . . . take a hike. Really. There are quite a number of protected areas on the Outer Banks that have hiking trails–actually a some of them are also suitable for mountain bikes as well. Here are three easy trails to check out.
Kitty Hawk Woods is a 2200 acre preserve in Kitty Hawk that is absolutely remarkable. Filled with hills and ridges that are actually ancient sand dunes, it is like nothing you would expect to find on a barrier island. The trailhead is at the end of Ridge Road; follow the Woods Road all the way back to Austin Cemetery, turn right and right again for Ridge Road. A little difficult to find but worth it.
Once upon a time the road to Corolla was a dirt road protected by a guard house. The remnants of the road are still there as a very wide, flat trail. Absolutely suitable for families. It starts (or ends) on the soundside of the north end of the Sanderling and parallels the Currituck Sound until it ends at the Pine Island Raquet Club. There are two observation platforms along the way that are worth checking out. The property is now part of the Pine Island Auduban Society.
Farther north–almost to Carova–there is another trail worth checking out. Heading north on SR12 there is a sharp right hand bend and on the left side a small parking lot. That is the trailhead for a boardwalk that is an easy stroll out to the sound or a trail that is a little more challenging, but not by much. The trail goes through one of the most magnificent stands of live oak I have ever seen.
A quick piece of advice about the outdoor activities–if you’re going to be exposed to the sun, wear sun screen. Especially for the hiking trails, bug repellant is a must.