Elizabethan Gardens, a beautiful formal garden.

Now that autumn is here and things have slowed down, a day trip to some of the places that make the Outer Banks so special is a perfect way to spend a day. Here are two day trips that we enjoy.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

When the Bonner Bridge crosses Oregon Inlet the open beach, marsh and soundside waters of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is the northern end of Hatteras Island.

Pea Island is a birder’s paradise, especially in the late fall and winter as migratory waterfowl fill the skies and waters of the refuge

The Visitor’s Center is about 3/1/2 miles south of the Bonner Bridge and there is an easy trek around an impoundment that is a great introduction to the beauty of the area..

Roanoke Island

There is so much to do on Roanoke Island that it may take two days to do everything.

Roanoke Island is home Manteo and Wanchese. 

To get to Manteo turn right at the intersection of NC 345 and US 64 when coming off the beach. Going straight will lead to Raleigh eventually. Turn left to go to Wanchese which is the heart of the Outer Banks commercial fishing industry.

US 64, the main road through the town and it looks like most business districts, but the real Manteo is the dock and waterfront area which is to the right of US64. Turn right off almost any street and it will lead to the waterfront. The waterfront area is beautiful with brick buildings lining the streets filled with restaurants, art galleries and boutique stores.

The downtown also features Roanoke Island Festival Park that includes some wonderful walking paths and an interactive history museum.

On the north end of Roanoke Island, the Elizabethan Gardens is a formal English garden that can easily take up an hound a half to two hours of well-spent time.

Heading back to the beach side of the Outer Banks, take a quick side trip to Wanchese. It is the center of the local commercial fishing industry although there is not much chance to get out and walk around.