Discover Our OBX National Parks
When you picture the Outer Banks, you picture warm sandy beaches, timeless family traditions, and laughter with good friends. A trip to the Outer Banks is a yearly experience for millions of visitors who’ve made generations worth of memories here.
But the Outer Banks is more than just beaches; it is also home to a history of firsts. The first National Seashore, the first attempted English colony, the first African American Lifesaving Service, the first Freedmen’s Colony, and the first heavier-than-air powered flight are all part of the fabric of our community.
Lucky for us, the Outer Banks are home to three national parks – each set aside to tell the story of our shared natural, historic and cultural legacy. Our OBX national parks protect unique environmental features and a rich history that illustrates centuries of determination and innovation.
Find more information on each park below, and check out the 2020 OBX national park Newspaper:
Known for its stunning and ever-changing shoreline, America’s first national seashore welcomes millions of visitors annually. Many visitors return year after year to the pristine beauty of the barrier islands to create a lifetime of memories. Here, along the 70-mile expanse of beach, marshes, sand dunes and woodlands, visitors can enjoy hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, surfing, kite flying and lighthouse climbing.
The mystery of the disappearance of the first attempted English settlement in the New World remains unsolved. Visitors to the park can observe the reconstructed earthen fort, learn more about Roanoke Island’s first inhabitants, the Carolina Algonquian Indians, and see the First Light of Freedom Monument, which honors the freed African Americans who settled there, creating the Freedmen’s Colony. Visitors can also enjoy a showing of The Lost Colony, a theatrical retelling of the story of the early settlers on Roanoke Island. The production has earned the distinction of being the longest running symphonic outdoor drama in the United States.
The first national memorial developed on the Outer Banks celebrates the ingenuity, determination and courage of Orville and Wilbur Wright, two brothers from Dayton, Ohio. The brothers’ keen imagination, combined with practical experience in their bicycle shop in their home state, helped them to complete the first successful heavier-than-air flight over the sands of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. Their achievements continue to have global impact on aviation, technology and space exploration. Visitors to the national memorial can view reproductions of the 1903 camp buildings, see a replica of the 1903 flyer and enjoy the newly remodeled Visitor Center.