Best of the Outer Banks

outer banks accoladesFor anyone living on the Outer Banks, or regular visitors, it’s not surprising that the Outer Banks keeps showing up on “Best Of " lists. The latest? The town of Duck was nominated by USA Today as one of the top 10 Readers’ Choice Awards in the Best Coastal Small Town category. Or perhaps it was choosing Cape Hatteras as one of the top five beaches.

It’s nothing new that the Outer Banks has been recognized as a place of charm and beauty. It’s been ongoing for 430 years. When Arthur Barlowe returned to England after discovering the Outer Banks in 1585, he took pen in hand and wrote the first “best of” description we have on record. “The soile is the most plentifull, sweete, fruitfull and wholesome of all the worlde …” he told British readers.

Hyperbole? Perhaps, but he was writing about Roanoke Island, and to this day there are still farms there.

There is no way of knowing just how many “best of” nominations have been awarded to the Outer Banks over the years. It seems as though for as long as there have been lists of the best of something, the Outer Banks keeps popping up.

As a way to show how often that happens, we have compiled a sampling of some of the mentions for the Outer Banks.

outer banks best beaches


101 Sand ’n’ Surf Hotspots, Cape Hatteras one of top five beaches,, 2015

Outer Banks Ranked #1, 10 Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA, U.S. News Travel, January, 2015

Carova Beach one of “10 Secret Beaches Worth Discovering,” CNN, July 2014

Carova Beach, Reader’s Choice, Coastal Living , February 2014

Rodanthe, “Most Romantic Beaches in Georgia and the Carolinas,” USA Today, July 2014

bodie island lighthouse


Bodie Island Light Station a “10 Best: Scenic Lighthouses Around the USA,”, May 2014

taste of the beach outer banks


Road Trips: Duck is top of the food chain on the Outer Banks menu, Winston-Salem Journal, February 2015

Three Must-Try Spring Food Festivals, Outer Banks Taste of the Beach, Forbes Travel Guide, February 2015

Read more about Taste of the Beach here.

best family trip outer banks kitty hawk


Kitty Hawk, one of 10 Best Beach Towns for Families, Parents Magazine

Photo Gallery: Best Family Trips, Jockey’s Ridge State Park, National Geographic Traveler online, February 2013

Duck, “July 4th Weekend Getaway Ideas: Small Towns that Are Big on Charm,” Travel Truth, July 2014

outer banks most iconic drives

Road Trip

Best Drives to Take Your Top Off, NC12 Hatteras Island,

North Carolina Road Trips, Outer Banks National Scenic Byway (Route 12),

“America’s Most Iconic Drives,” The Dare Trail (NC12), Travel + Leisure, October 2011

best for sports jockey's ridge


20 Best Beaches in America Best for Sports, Jockey’s Ridge State Park,, Spring 2014

6 Scenic Coastal Marathons, Outer Banks Marathon, Coastal Living

“From Tee to Sea: The Top 10 Golf and Beach Combos,” Currituck Club, Links Magazine

Wright Brothers Memorial Monument, 10 great places to fly a kite, USA Today, March 2013

outer banks sunset


“10 American Spots You Don't Know About Yet But Should,” Nags Head ranked #2, Huffington Post, December 2014

“Best Places to Watch a Sunset” Outer Banks #5, Readers' Choice, USA Today, 2013

10 Best: Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Top 10 Outdoor Concert Venues You Shouldn't Miss! Lost Colony, USA Today, June 2014

10 destinations where the weather’s just right, Kill Devil Hills, USA Today, April, 2014


Personal Best Of:

Best place to fly a kite, anywhere: Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Spectacular view that includes the Ocean and Roanoke Sound with a breeze every day.

Best place to learn to hang glide: Jockey’s Ridge State Park. See above for conditions. Sand is a much more forgiving landing zone than turf or stone.

Best “Taste Of”: Almost every urban center sponsored a Taste of Philadelphia or Hampton Roads or Chicago. Only the Outer Banks offers the Taste of the Beach, combining a tour of the northern Outer Banks in four days of culinary excellence.

Best place in the world to learn kiteboarding: Bordered by Hatteras Island, Pamlico Sound is wide and shallow with very few obstructions and constant winds.

Read more about the Pamlico Sound here.

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