Memorial Day Bucket List for the OBX

Memorial Day Bucket List for the OBX

Memorial Day is quickly approaching. Have you made your beach getaway plans yet? It's not too late! We sure do hope you're spending some time with us on the OBX and taking advantage of the opportunity to soak up the sun, splash in the surf, and sink your toes in the sand. 
If you'll be here, we've rounded up a Memorial Day Bucket List for the Outer Banks, and it's just for you! Ready? Here we go. 

Go to the beach. A lot.

This is a no-brainer but of course it tops our list. There's plenty to love about our beautiful OBX beaches and there are so many to choose from. You are not limited by options, so we suggest you get out there and enjoy every bit of it as often as you can. Memorial Day kicks off the symbolic start of the summer season, so where better to spend it than on the beach? 

Visit a lighthouse and climb it, if you dare.

With five lighthouses to choose from on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, this is definitely a bucket-list item. They are each unique and stunning in their own way and all well worth the visit. Choices include the Bodie Island Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Ocracoke Lighthouse, and Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. Here's a thought: Make an OBX Lighthouse Bucket List and visit them all! You can learn more about the Outer Banks lighthouses here.

Watch the wild horses run free.

Ahhhh, the wild horses of the Outer Banks are a majestic sight of beauty and power to behold (just remember to keep your distance). These OBX icons are worthy of your precious time. Don't forget your camera! Read more about the wild horses of the OBX and see where you can go to observe them.

Get up early to catch an Outer Banks sunrise. 

We know you like sleeping in on a vacation, but take at least one morning to get up with the sun. An OBX sunrise can't be beat. Pssst, did you know that there's even a Facebook page for that? There is! Get your OBX sunrise fix any time, whether you're here with us or not. Check out the coastal color palette from our shores and we promise you won't soon forget it! It's a different show every morning (and every night, too). The sunsets are equally stunning, by the way. 

Attend an art show.

Art abounds in the Outer Banks on any given day, and the Memorial Day holiday is no different. We highly recommend the annual International Miniature Show at Seaside Art Gallery in Nags Head and the annual Mollie Fearing Memorial Art Show at the Dare County Arts Council Gallery in Manteo. Read more about the art and culture of the OBX and start making your plans.

Embark on a shelling adventure.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a beachcomber's paradise, if you know where to go and what to look for! It's a combination of both luck and skill, but other than that you need very little to embark on an OBX shelling adventure of your very own. It's free, family-friendly, good exercise, doesn't require any special equipment and is a lot of fun too. With multiple barrier island shorelines playing host to various sea shell habitats, the odds are with you when it comes to finding plenty of beach treasures. The key is to keep at it and always keep a watchful eye. Check out this OBX Shelling Guide to help get you started on what you need to know.

Let's go fly a kite.

You're at the beach, so why not take advantage of those cooling coastal breezes? And when is the last time you actually flew a kite, anyway? The Outer Banks is the perfect spot for a soaring, high-flying adventure. As an added bonus, Kids Days at Kitty Hawks Kites kicks off over the Memorial Day holiday and continues throughout the summer season, so the timing couldn't be more perfect. Trust us, you won't want to miss out on this family fun! Join in on the weekly Kitty Hawk Kites Kids Days on the Outer Banks activities with a variety of games, kite making, toy and yo-yo demonstrations, rock wall climbing (Nags Head and Waves Village only), and many more surprises! Kids Days are the perfect family escape for locals and visitors alike.

OBX Memorial Day Activities and Things To Do

Plan a picnic.

How about a picnic? Pack up a cooler and enjoy your favorite picnic foods al fresco while on the beach or in one of our local Outer Banks parks. Need some help when planning and packing the perfect picnic? No problem. Here are some picnic packing tips and recipes along with some kid-friendly picnic ideas from Martha Stewart herself for your fresh-air feast. And since a beach picnic can have some unique considerations and challenges, check out these 10 Tips for the Perfect Beach Picnic and you'll be good to go! 

Have a cookout.

While we're on the topic of food and since it is Memorial Day and all, a cookout is a must. Why not put that OBX vacation rental kitchen and grill to good use? Create an OBX Memorial Day cookout you and your family won't soon forget. Visit the local farmers markets on the Outer Banks to get an authentic and delicious taste of the coast. Shopping and buying local guarantee the quality and freshness that makes all the difference!

Try something new.

Do something new and exciting. Push the boundaries of your comfort zone. Make some memories that will last a lifetime. No matter what you choose to do, know that trying something new is good for you and stimulating for your brain. Make it a family-fun adventure or go solo. The options are endless. We could suggest the OBX Kiteboarding Clinic and Summer Kickoff Yard Party over Memorial Day weekend for some adrenaline-pumping adventure, but we don't want to limit you. Go for whatever it is that your heart desires and have fun!

Hang glide on the largest sand dune on the East Coast.

Speaking of trying new things, have you ever considered trying you hand at hang gliding? Well, it is most definitely a bucket-list item no matter where you do it, but make it the ultimate experience by doing it on the largest sand dune system found on the East Coast at Jockey's Ridge State Park in Nags Head. Outer Banks hang-gliding lessons are available for all ages and experience levels, as well as two types of lessons and programs: dune hang gliding (you learn to control the hang glider over the dunes) and tandem hang gliding (you are paired with an instructor who takes you to 2000 feet in altitude and beyond). You can be sure that this is an OBX bucket list experience that you will never forget. Be sure to check out the Hang Gliding Spectacular that happens each May on the Outer Banks. You won't want to miss it!


Sip on an ice-cold craft beer.

The beach and beer just go together, like peanut butter and jellybut way better. Take it up a notch with an OBX craft beer experience. Consider attending the inaugural Outer Banks Craft Beer Week which just happens to start on Memorial Day. You can expect to find a Brewathon, Beer Art Show, and a Craft Brewers Retreat just to name a few of the events at this week-long OBX Brewfest that's sure to be a hit for years to come. Who's thirsty?



Go to a shag music festival on the beach.

Shag music and the beach go hand-in-hand. Have you ever been to a Shag Music Festival on the beach? If not, here's your opportunity. The Shallowbag Shag Beach Music Festival happens right on Memorial Day at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo. There's a lot going on, so see what's on tap. Bring your dancing shoes.... or flip flops.

Visit the Lost Colony.

Opening night of the Lost Colony starts on Memorial Day weekend and continues throughout the month of August. Take time to learn more about the local history and mystery of the Outer Banks and honor the memory of those who first came here to build a new country. Very appropriate for Memorial Day, don't you think? Do double duty by taking part in the National Park Service Centennial Celebration at the same time. Win-win!

Brush up on your OBX history and remember the fallen.

Memorial Day is not just about the beach and the start of the summer season. It's really about honoring the memory of those who came before us and fought for our current day freedoms. Dig in to the fascinating history of the Outer Banks and make it meaningful this Memorial Day holiday. These OBX historic sites offer up some great places to begin your Memorial Day adventure.


What's on your OBX Memorial Day bucket list? Whatever it is, may it be safe, meaningful and time well spent!

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