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Your Pre-Arrival Vacation...Things To Do If You Arrive Early

Purple starfish on Hatteras Island

We know that your check-in day can be busy, combined as it is with travel, shopping and unpacking. Please be assured that our housekeeping and maintenance divisions will be working hard to get everything ready for your stay at the beach as early as possible, but from time to time, cleaning, maintenance and inspection take a little longer than planned, and by all accounts, we want your home in tip-top shape so we can start your vacation out right!

We share the following information to help make your check in day run smoothly.

In many cases, our guests are traveling quite a distance to reach the Island. It is not uncommon for guests to share with us that they have traveled 10 hours or more to reach Hatteras Island, and for families with small children that sure can be a long day in the car. Many families travel during the overnight hours to take advantage of children sleeping and to be ahead of any traffic that may develop. Given the fact that check in time does not begin until late afternoon, it can be a challenge to time your travel day. We have compiled a wonderful list of things to do with your family, many at little or even no cost, if you get to the Outer Banks early, before check-in time to beat the traffic that can develop. Also, check-in day is a great time to check out some of the family attractions just north of the Island that you may not have visited before. Why not have fun while you're traveling? Turn your pre-arrival time into a pre-vacation vacation!

Your Pre-Arrival Vacation...Things To Do If You Arrive Early

1.  H2OBX:  New for 2017! The Outer Banks welcomes H2OBX Water Park! Purchase tickets here.

2. The Wright Brothers National Memorial:  Check out the where the first man-powered flight occurred and learn all about the history of flight. 

3. Jockey's Ridge State Park:  Climb the tallest natural sand dune system in the Eastern United States and fly a Kitty Hawk Kites original from the very top! 

4. Roanoke Island Festival Park:  Visit the sailing ship, the Elizabeth II and learn about the lives of 16th century settlers at the Settlement Site. Explore over 400 years of OBX history in the interactive Roanoke Adventure Museum and much, much MORE!

5. The Island Farm:  Interpreting daily life on Roanoke Island in the mid-1800's, this living history site is the oldest period restoration of a house on Roanoke Island and allows visitors to explore nearly a dozen different buildings including a blacksmith shop, a reconstructed slave cabin, an outhouse and more. The centerpiece of the site being the Etheridge Farmstead, this is where Adam Etheridge built a house on land that had been farmed by his ancestors since 1757. See live free-range chickens, sheep, a cow, an ox and two banker ponies as they roam the grounds and graze in the pastures. 

6. The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island:  Sharks! Alligators! Stingrays! OH MY! Join the folks at the NC Aquarium and gaze at the largest group of sharks in the state! Marvel at a real live alligator. Check out playful river otters, an array of fish, turtles and MORE!

7. The Lost Colony and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site:  Preserved portions of England's first New World Settlements, you'll find cultural heritage of the Native Americans, European Aermicans and African Americans that have lived on Roanoke Island and learn the stories of the Lost Colony. 

8. Elizabethan Gardens:  Adjacent to Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and The Lost Colony's Waterside Theatre, the Elizabethan Gardens were created as a living memorial to the historical time when Sir Walter Raleigh's lost colonists inhabited Roanoke Island, and tip their hat to the elaborate gardens that were kept to entertain Queen Elizabeth I during her reign. 

9Bodie Island Lighthouse:  Create your own lighthouse tour and visit the various beacons that inhabit the Outer Banks. Compare and contrast the beautiful brick structures and learn about their history and the reasons behind why they were built at their specific locations. 

10. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse:  Climb the 269 steps of the nation's tallest lighthouse and fall in love with the iconic beacon that has saved many a mariner from reaching their demise in the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

11. Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum:  Visit this NC Maritime Museum in Hatteras Village and learn all about the tales of the Graveyard of the Atlantic with a variety of curated exhibits. Open year round, you are sure to leave with a new appreciation of the mariners that brave the waters off of Hatteras Island. 

12. Hatteras Island Ocean Center Ecology Park:  Learn about the various eco-systems that inhabit Hatteras Island and the Outer Banks when you visit Hatteras Island Ocean Center located in Hatteras Village.