Fun Things to Do In the Outer Banks With Kids

A family of 3 on the beach at the outer banks in NC - Things to do with the kids in outer banksSo, you’ve chosen the outer banks for your next family-friendly vacation. Now you’re planning the fun things do in the outer banks with your kids. Here are our guest’s favorite things to do in the outer banks with kids.

6 Fun Things to Do In Outer Banks with Kids

1. NC Aquarium On Roanoke Island

From Dragonfly dunes, take a 30-minute ride to Manteo and enjoy the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island. Explore the North Carolina Ocean habitats with the children. You’ll find freshwater animals, river otters, turtles and alligators! Watch large Sea Turtles and explore the vast marine life in a sunken treasure ship. The kids will enjoy touching stingrays and other sea creatures. Watch the sharks in their 285,000-gallon “Graveyard of the Atlantic” exhibit. There are many indoor and outdoor activities offered throughout the year. Some require additional fees. There’s always plenty to discover at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. Allow for at least 2 hours to explore this attraction. The kids will love it.


374 Airport Road
Manteo, NC 27954

2. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Take a trip to the north end of Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks where you’ll find Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. There are more than 365 species of birds and 25 species of mammals, 24 species of reptiles, and 5 species of amphibians. There are plenty of animals for the kids to enjoy discovering at Pea Island.

When you go on your trip to Pea Island, bring your water, sunscreen, bug repellent, a light jacket, and a hat and sunglasses. Depending on when you go, bugs can be swarming around you along the wildlife trails.


14500 NC Highway 12
Rodanthe, NC  27968

3. The Elizabethan Gardens

Perfect for the girls and little ones who’d rather run around, The Elizabethan Gardens features 10 acres of beautifully manicured grounds, flower beds, and sunken gardens. It’s home to over 500 different species of plants! These are said to be 16th Century-designed gardens that entertained Queen Elizabeth during her reign. Among the wonderful collections at the gardens is one ancient live oak estimated to have been living in 1585 when the first colonists landed. The gardens provide a nice retreat for families with young kids and are open year-round. This outer banks family-friendly trip provides a quiet getaway for the entire family.


1411 National Park Drive
Manteo, NC 27954

4. The Outer Banks Lighthouses

The Outer Banks islands have five lighthouses from Ocracoke to Corolla OBX. While most of the lighthouses are available for viewing but not all are open for climbing. Depending on the season and which lighthouse you visit, you may be able to watch a movie that shows what it is like to climb to the top. The most famous lighthouse is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It’s the tallest lighthouse reaching 208 feet! This one is open for climbing from mid-April to Columbus Day. You’ll enjoy spectacular views from Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The kids will love this OBX attraction!

Bodie Island Lighthouse is located at the start of the National Seashore and stands 150 feet tall. It’s available for daily viewing but not open for climbing. Ocracoke Lighthouse is the state’s oldest operating lighthouse, built in 1822. The lighthouse is not available for climbing but is available for viewing. Currituck Beach Lighthouse is located in Corolla and stands 158 feet high. This lighthouse is open Easter through Thanksgiving.

5. The Wrights Brothers National Memorial

Learn about the history of flight. Right here in Kill Devil Hills, NC a short 5-6 minute drive from our Outer banks beach house rental! This one is a must see for aviation and history lovers. The Wright Brothers National Memorial is a 60-foot granite monument, which stands in honor of Orville and Wilbur Wright, who took their first “flight” there in 1903.


1401 National Park Drive 
Manteo, NC 27954

6. Jennette’s Pier

Operated by North Carolina Aquariums, Jennette’s Pier is a 1,000-foot concrete pier which tons for the family and is a great place to take the kids while you’re in the outer banks. Open year-round, Jennette’s Pier offers personalized angling instruction, youth adventure camps, an beautiful banquet facility public beaches and a bathhouse. Inside the pier house, the kids will come face to face with fish while peering into one of the large aquariums. Check out the exhibits at Jennette’s Pier. The pier features interactive science exhibits too. The Pier shop offers tackle, beach supplies, unique gifts, cold drinks, hot coffee and snacks.

Oceanfront, milepost 16.5, Beach Road
In Heart of Whalebone Junction
Nags Head, N.C. 27959

7723 South Virginia Dare Trail
Nags Head, NC

What Other Fun Things Have You Done With the Kids In The Outer Banks?

Been there before or have a suggestion to add to this list? Comment below and let us know some things you’ve done in the outer banks with the kids!

Things to Do in the Outer Banks When It Rains

Pottery Plate with a Whale Made at OBX Art Studio Glazin Go Nuts
Photo Credit:

When it rains in the Outer banks, there are plenty of things to do outside the outer banks beaches! Here are our guests’ top places to visit in the Outer Banks on a rainy day!

Top Things To Do in The Outer Banks When It Rains

Eat at The Colington Cafe

It’s always good to get some grub when it’s raining out. Choose from a wide range of top-rated restaurants like #1 restaurant in the OBX – the Colington Cafe. Or take a ride to Sweet Frog with the kids. Sweet Frog is a short drive in Kitty Hawk, NC.

There are plenty of fine dining and affordable options in the OBX. Some other top-rated restaurants include Goombay’s Grill and Raw Bar, the Blue Moon Beach Grill, and Henry’s Restaurant. For more recommendations, check out our list of top seafood restaurants in the OBX. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in your OBX vacation rental!

Head Indoors to the Arcade or Laser Tag

Don’t worry about the kids when it rains, just take them to the arcade a few hours. There are several arcade and indoor play options in the outer banks.

Try the following:

  1. Destination Fun Laser Tag – Right in Kill Devil Hills this is a must visit with the kiddos. Not only do you have an arcade, but you also have a bounce house, laser tag, and black light mini-golf!
  2. OBX Laser Tag – This one is just a 6-8 minute drive away from our Hockman Beach House.
  3. Paradise Golf and Arcade – This family-friendly fun park features mini-golf, go-karts, bumper cars & arcade games.

Visit OBX Museums and Art Galleries

The Wright Brothers Museum is a must option whether or not it rains in the outer banks. And if you’re looking to work on your creative side, Glazin’ Go-Nuts Art Studio is a great choice for expressing yourself on canvas or pottery. You can even create your own beach memento at this art studio.

Comedy Night at the Outer Banks

Comedy events are great options when it rains in the outer banks. When you’re with the kids, checkout the Mystery Comedy Dinner. You’ll all work together through the course of dinner find clues to figure out who the bad guy is. If you’re having date night try the Comedy Club at the Ramada hotel.

What activities have you tried when it’s raining in the OBX?