This year, we decided to take a trip to Nags Head, NC. I am an adventurous person, so when I plan trips, it’s to places I haven’t visited before. My family, along with another family, decided to go to the ocean since most of our kids haven’t been there before.
We settled on a VRBO house right on the beach in Nags Head, NC, part of the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks is a strip of small towns located on a strip of sand dunes on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. This is a great spot to take a family vacation as the towns have so many things to do, and the beach keeps the kids entertained for days, even if they don’t go into the water.
On our first day, the weather was uncooperative, 50s and windy. Fortunately, it was still better than Wisconsin’s April weather, as we were getting a snowstorm at home while we were away. The kids spent a considerable amount of time on the beach in the morning looking for shells, while the moms went to the grocery store. (We didn’t want to travel with coolers filling the vehicles) Towards the afternoon, we decided that we needed to explore. We hopped in our cars and headed to nearby Roanoak Island.
Our first stop is the North Carolina Aquarium. This was a beautiful spot with lots of activities that the kids really enjoyed. The grounds had some beautiful places to sit and enjoy nature. When you enter, you get to sneak a peek at sea turtle tanks where they rehabilitate and help preserve the species. Then you are able to “rehabilitate a turtle” by taking it to a station and diagnosing what happened to it. Some have been hit by boats, bitten by sharks, or are just sick. Then the kids were instructed on how they would nurse those wounds/illnesses. Very interactive and kept the kids busy for quite some time.
As you move further, there are tanks where you can pet stingrays, sea urchins, sea stars, and more. It was great seeing even my more hesitant kid stick his hand in the tanks and play with the animals.
We finished at the aquarium with time to spare, so we decided to visit The Lost Colony. During the summer months, they do plays about the lost colony of Roanoak Island (a fascinating topic to dig into with your kids before visiting). We enjoyed walking through the center learning more about the colonists, who were establishing the first English colony, and the mystery of where they disappeared to.
On day two of our trip, the weather was beautiful. We strolled the beach looking for shells, crabs, and other sea creatures. In the evening, we decided to take a trip up the coast to a Mini-Golf course we passed on the way in, Professor Hackers Lost Treasure Golf. This course had 2-18 hole courses that were filled with an exciting atmosphere.
On our way back to the beach house, we stopped at a Sugar Kingdom candy store. This store was overfilled with all kinds of candies. Bins of bulk gummies, saltwater taffy, jelly beans, and so much more.
Day three led us back to the beach. The kids waded into the ocean and played in the sand for hours. My favorite thing to do was watching the little clams dig themselves down into the sand after a wave washed them up. As we were sitting on our porch we noticed dolphins playing in the waves. Later on in the day, we visited another Mini-golf course, Jurassic Putt. This was definitely an older course and had some disrepair, but was also a little more budget-friendly. There are 2 courses at Jurassic Putt also and you can get a discount for playing both. The kids really loved the dinosaur theme and wanted lots of pictures with the statues.
I am looking forward to visiting Nags Head, NC again with my family, as we did not even scratch the surface of what this area has to offer. We had so much fun that the kids said the long car ride (18 hours) was worth it, which is saying a lot since we all get car sick and can’t play on screens… If you are looking for a great family-friendly vacation spot, visit Nags Head, NC!