Top 15 Activities for Kids in the Outer Banks


Dive into the Outer Banks, a place bursting with fun and discovery for our young adventurers. Imagine the joy of watching dolphins leap around your boat, or the excitement of whooshing down giant water slides – this guide has it all, tailored just for kids. 

Delve into ocean mysteries, climb high on obstacle courses, and hunt for ghost crabs beneath the stars. Each activity opens up a world of learning, filled with nature’s wonders, historical tales, and moments of courage. 

Take your kids by the hand and jump into an adventure they’ll never forget, filled with laughter and moments that’ll stick with them forever. 

Welcome to the Outer Banks – a vast playground where imagination leads the way to daily discoveries and joy.

Top Activities for Kids in the Outer Banks

1. Dolphin Tours



Taking your kids on a dolphin tour can be one of the most magical experiences in the Outer Banks. You and your kids will have the chance to see dolphins up close, playing and jumping in the water around your boat. Local tour operators make the experience even more special by sharing fascinating facts about these playful creatures. Watching your children’s faces light up as dolphins frolic nearby is a memory you’ll treasure forever.


2. H2OBX Water Park



For a day packed with excitement and splashes, head over to H2OBX Water Park. It’s a paradise for kids and adults alike, with a wide variety of slides, a lazy river, and pools designed for every age group. Whether your family is full of thrill-seekers or you’re looking for a gentler pace, there’s something here for everyone. Cooling off in the water park is the perfect antidote to a hot summer day.


3. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

If your family loves exploring nature, you won’t want to miss Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a peaceful spot that lets you get up close with nature and wildlife. Birdwatchers will be in heaven with over 365 species to spot. Walking the trails and checking out the observation areas, you’ll learn a lot about the local ecosystem and the wildlife that calls it home. It’s a great way to teach your kids about the importance of protecting our environment.


4. Kayaking, Paddleboarding, and Water Sports



The Outer Banks is the ideal place to get out on the water with some kayaking and paddleboarding. These activities are great for beginners and experienced paddlers alike, offering a fun way to explore the calm waters and hidden beauty of the area. Local shops provide all the gear and guidance you need for a safe and enjoyable adventure. It’s a fantastic way to spend time together as a family, learning new skills and enjoying the great outdoors.


5. Hunting for Ghost Crabs

For a unique adventure after the sun goes down, try hunting for ghost crabs on the beach. These little critters only come out at night, making for a fun and slightly spooky scavenger hunt. With flashlights in hand, your kids can search for them along the shoreline. It’s a great way to have some fun and learn about the creatures that inhabit the Outer Banks beaches at night.


6. First Flight Adventure Park



Looking for a bit of a thrill? Check out First Flight Adventure Park. It’s an obstacle course set high up in the trees, offering challenges for all ages and skill levels. You’ll navigate through a series of obstacles, safely harnessed and cheered on by your family. It’s a rush that will leave everyone feeling accomplished and maybe a bit braver than before.


7. Mini Golf

Mini golf is a classic family activity, and the Outer Banks has some of the most fun and creative courses around. Themes range from pirate adventures to prehistoric landscapes, turning a simple game into an immersive experience. It’s a relaxed way to wind down after a day of beach activities or exploring, and who doesn’t love a little friendly competition?


8. See Wild Horses on Carova Beach



A trip to Carova Beach offers a chance to see wild horses in their natural environment. These beautiful animals are a sight to behold as they roam freely, and they offer a living connection to the history of the Outer Banks. Observing them from a respectful distance, you can appreciate their majesty and the wild beauty of the area. Guided tours are available to ensure a safe and respectful experience for both the horses and visitors.


9. Jockey’s Ridge State Park



A trip to Jockey’s Ridge State Park is a dream come true for adventurous families. Picture the tallest natural sand dunes on the East Coast, where your kids can run free, fly kites against the backdrop of an endless sky, or even try sandboarding. The park isn’t just about fun and games; it’s a chance to learn too, with programs that dive into the park’s rich ecosystem. When you reach the summit of these dunes, the views are nothing short of breathtaking, offering a glimpse of both the ocean and sound. Just remember, it can get pretty hot, so pack plenty of water and sunscreen.


10. Hit the Beach


The Outer Banks are synonymous with miles of inviting beaches. Imagine a day filled with the simple joys of making sandcastles, splashing around in the waves, and hunting for shells along the shoreline with your kids. For those looking for a bit more peace of mind, there are lifeguarded areas during the busier months. If solitude is what you seek, some spots offer just that, away from the crowds. For an extra special experience, try catching a sunrise or sunset—it’s a magical moment that feels like it’s just for your family.


11. The Lost Colony Musical

The Lost Colony” musical brings history to life under the stars. Set in an outdoor theater on Roanoke Island, this show tells the eerie tale of America’s first English settlers who vanished without a trace. With stunning costumes, special effects, and an engaging storyline, it’s an evening that will captivate both you and your kids. It’s not just a night at the theater; it’s a history lesson wrapped up in entertainment, making for a truly memorable part of your Outer Banks adventure.


12. Elizabethan Gardens


Elizabethan Gardens


The Elizabethan Gardens are a slice of tranquility. Inspired by the Elizabethan era, this spot on Roanoke Island is a maze of Renaissance statues, a charming Tudor-style gatehouse, and gardens that pull you into another time. Kids will love meandering through the paths, discovering secret spots, and learning about the plants. The gardens also host kid-friendly events year-round, like butterfly releases, which add an extra layer of enchantment to your visit.


13. Island Farm

Island Farm offers a peek into the Outer Banks of the 1850s. With costumed interpreters and activities like washing clothes by hand and gardening, it’s as educational as it is entertaining. Kids get to interact with farm animals and learn about life before technology, providing a perspective that’s both eye-opening and fun. It’s a hands-on way to connect with history, showing just how people managed their daily lives over a century ago.


14. North Carolina Aquarium

The North Carolina Aquarium is a window into the watery world of the Outer Banks. From freshwater rivers to the vast Atlantic, the exhibits here are teeming with sea life like sharks, rays, and otters. The aquarium isn’t just about looking; it’s about touching and learning, with interactive sessions that teach kids about the importance of marine conservation. Touch tanks and turtle rescue presentations are just a couple of the highlights that make this place a must-visit for curious minds.


15. Wright Brothers National Memorial

The Wright Brothers National Memorial pays homage to the birthplace of aviation. The visitor center is a treasure trove of interactive exhibits and a replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. A walk up to the monument offers stunning views and a moment to reflect on the ingenuity and perseverance of the Wright brothers. It’s a powerful reminder that with a bit of creativity and a lot of determination, anything is possible.

Choose Beach Retreats for Your Family Getaway

Choosing to vacation with Beach Retreats in the Outer Banks means immersing your family in a seamless blend of comfort, convenience, and adventure. Our collection of unique independent properties across Outer Banks ensures you’ll find the perfect home-base tailored to your family’s preferences.

Imagine waking up in a cozy, comfortable accommodation with the anticipation of an eventful day ahead—spotting dolphins on a boat tour, laughing together on water slides, or learning about local wildlife in a refuge. At Beach Retreats, we complement your adventure with:

Clean and comfortable accommodations to ensure a restful night’s sleep.

Fido-friendly options because we believe your family vacation isn’t complete without the whole family.

Swimming pools and free WiFi across all locations to unwind and share your adventures instantly.

Each of our locations is equipped with a knowledgeable staff, ensuring your stay is as relaxing and memorable as possible. Whether you need recommendations for local dining or assistance planning your next adventure, our staff is there to make your vacation seamless.
At Beach Retreats, we don’t just offer a place to stay; we provide an enriching Outer Banks experience, making your family vacation about more than just the destination—it’s about the discovery, the joy, and the memories you’ll create. By choosing us, you place yourself at the heart of all the Outer Banks has to offer, supported by our hospitality and distinctive accommodations.

Let us be the backdrop to the stories your children will reminisce about long after your vacation ends. Dive into a treasure chest of adventures and allow us to make your family’s journey unforgettable. Welcome to Beach Retreats—where your Outer Banks adventure begins.