• Outer Banks -- Lighthouses and More

      210 miles - 8-12 hours

      There are more than just lighthouses on the Outer Banks, though they are the main attraction. This is also the “Birthplace of Aviation” home to the Wright Brothers Memorial. There are also several shipwrecks, (buried treasure, anyone?) and even the Lost Colony of Virginia is also nearby. You’ll love the beaches, and it is almost impossible to get lost. Most of the way there is only one road to travel. Nags Head, is the start of most road trips on the Outer Banks. There are plenty of hotels, private condos and campgrounds in the area. While most of the road trip route will focus on the Outer Banks, we're going to take brief trip inland before driving to the end of the Banks. The route will then travel up to the upward end of the Banks.

      Here are some of the highlights to look out for along the way:

      Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
      Fort Raleigh National Historic Site protects and preserves known portions of England's first New World settlements from 1584 to 1590. It is the home of the Lost Colony of Virginia, and a reenactment play is staged there in the summer. The fort is one of the oldest in America, predating the Pilgrims’ arrival at Plymouth, Massachusetts by nearly forty years.

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      Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
      This national refuge is home to one of the largest black bear populations in the United States and the only spot in the world where red wolves still roam wild. The park offers numerous opportunities to enjoy this wildlife including: howling safaris, tram tours, paddling trails, canoe tours and driving trails. Anglers can also enjoy fishing here.

      Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
      The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States. Originally built in 1870 it is 208 feet tall and weighs nearly 2800 tons. When it was first constructed it was 1600 feet from the shore, but beach erosion and other environmental factors had by 1987 brought crashing waves to within 120 feet of the base.

      Bodie Island Lighthouse
      It isn't open to the public, but there is a visitor center and the tower does photograph nicely. This is an excellent place for bird-watching and hiking. The first tower in this location was built in 1847, but one side ended up being a foot taller on one side. A second tower was started in 1859 but was destroyed in the Civil War. The current tower is 156-feet tall and the light flash from the Fresnel lens can be seen for 19 miles.

      Kill Devil Hills, Wright Brothers National Memorial
      The Wright brothers did not fly at Kitty Hawk, but rather at Kill Devil Hills, where the Wright Brothers National Memorial is located. A replica of the aircraft is in the museum–the original is at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC–and the actual route of the flight is marked off outside. If you walk up the hill to the memorial, you also get a birds eye view of the area from one of the highest points on the Outer Banks other than manmade structures.

      Currituck Beach Lighthouse
      Currituck Beach Lighthouse is the most northern one on the Outer Banks. This is one of the only red brick lighthouses in America, and it is still fully operational, and is used to guide ships around the dangerous shoals in the area. The lighthouse and all of its furnishings have been fully restored, so you can climb to the top.

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