The outer banks brings with it a vast array of adventures and areas of exploration. From wild Spanish horses to Egyptian style sand dunes to perfect waves to lighthouses to a quaint village on an island that can only be accessed via ferry, it offers excitement to young and old alike, meaning its perfect for your whole family! I do wish; however, that I had known some secrets before we got here so time hadn’t been wasted early on…
We had planned to stay in a hostel in Kitty Hawk.. And by hostel, no that is not a spelling error, we actually stayed in a hostel 🙂
It was perfect for us and FAR more affordable than the local hotels in the area. We paid $55 per nighy for ours while the cheapest hotel, even on Travelocity, was $100.
We had our own private room and it was a shared kitchen and family room; however, there was no one staying in the other room in the apartment so it was like having a suite all to ourselves! It may not have been as ::sanitized:: as a hotel, but it was probably actually cleaner in all reality. If you’d like to check it out, it’s on the adventure bound campground site: http://www.adventureboundnc.com/Hostel.html
The Tyson crew took over Kitty Hawk on a Sunday evening 😉 with dinner at a local seafood restaurant in Kitty hawk (Hurricane Moes). Michael loved his meal and mine was decent, but not my favorite. The crab cakes though, we’re INCREDIBLE!
After this, we made a quick stop at the beach, while my water lover Cale freaked out about the waves… His newest thing..
… Must be the 2 year old in him.
We then went back to the hostel, put the boys to bed, and enjoyed s’mores and a movie together!
Monday, we decided to hit up the beach at Kitty Hawk as the rain that was supposed to be there wasn’t yet. It was a lot of fun, but we struggled to stay there even 2 hours with the boys who were ready for a change of scenery. So a scenery change we gave them. We had heard of the wild horses on Corolla (about 45-50 minutes away) so we hopped in the car and let them nap on the way, pulling over briefly for a family naptime as well 😉
There are many theories about how the wild Spanish mustangs got here and have stayed for so many years, but many believe that early spanish settlers threw them overboard to lighten the load when needed or that they escaped shipwrecks. Either way, they run wild on the beaches in Corolla and past Corolla going northward, there are no roads for quite some time!
Here’s my suggestions when you go, take your 4 wheel drive vehicle or borrow a friend’s so you can drive on the beach. Because there are no roads, you either have to have 4 wheel drive or pay an exuberant amount of money for a tour. We had neither of these two things so we didn’t actually see the wild horses; however, we followed a boardwalk through the Currituck Banks National Estuarine Preserve and saw some interesting plants and fish.
After this, we decided to go crabbing so we picked up some gear and searched google for the local hot spot to catch crabs… http://www.thehulltruth.com/carolinas/359579-wheres-best-place-catch-blue-crabs-obx.html
I admit… We needed dinner… And didn’t want to spend what we had the night before 😉
Well, we caught several crabs, but only the one I caught was big enough to boil to eat and MAN, was it delicious or what?!
The next day was supposed to be our last day here (I’ll get to that in a minute) so we followed the advice of a friend and drove to Cape Hatteras to catch the ferry to Ocracoke.
On the way there, we stopped at Jockey Ridge State Park (some beautiful scenery there) that was filled with sand dunes! Highly recommended! And take a kite when you go!
Man, the trip to Hatteras was GORGEOUS! We saw lighthouses, sand dunes, had water on both sides of us and were often just on a bridge in the middle of the ocean. We also saw several quaint little villages on islands all the way down.
While waiting in the ferry line in Hatteras, we realized that we could take a second ferry from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter for only $15 and we’d then be only a 3 hour drive from home (it would have been a 6 hour trip going back the other way). We called and booked that ferry (the last one left at 4pm and it was only 12pm at this time). Well, we waited in line for the ferry for over 2 hours and arrived at Ocracoke after 3:30 (the time we were supposed to be on the other side of the island to board the next ferry). Needless to say, we had to find a place to stay for the night in Ocracoke. And we found… wait for it…
.. Another HOSTEL!
It was great and $25 cheaper than even the cheapest hotel on the island. It was in a house and we just had a room and a bathroom in the house right on the Sound (Gorgeous!!!).
We went to the beach in Ocracoke (a quant little village on a beautiful island) and the beach there is PERFECT for a family. Very quiet with very few people and soft, velvety feeling sand and waves (Great for a body surfing Michael).
Anyways, we had a BLAST on our trip! It was quite the adventure and we discovered new things, but here are my recommendations if you want to go:
1. Definitely take 4 wheel drive and drive on the beaches in Corolla to see the Wild Horses
2. Stay in a hostel to save money (and you have a fridge to keep food in and save money)
3. Go crabbing at high tide and follow my link
4. Get to the ferry in Cape Hatteras before 10 am and leave early enough to enjoy the sites on the way down (MUCH shorter lines before 10- or so we’ve been told)
5. Stay a night in Ocracoke (We stayed here: http://ocracokehostel.com/ although the privacy was not the same as at the other place and not all of the rooms have a/c- if you have camping supplies, even better! You can camp right on the beach!)
6. If you live in a place that Swan Quarter would be close to, take that ferry as it was like being on a cruise and so relaxing and beautiful!
Either way, I suggest going and enjoy your time!