'Northern Beaches of the Outer Banks' Get away from it all and escape to the northern island of the Outer Banks, known as Bodie Island (pronounced body)
Want a relaxing vacation that is slower paced, laid back, and away from the hustle bustle of the city? Then Bodie Island is the perfect place for you!
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No one really knows, but as the legend goes, the name came about because of the countless bodies that were washed up along the shore from scores of shipwrecks.
Since the 16th century, over 600 shipwrecks have occurred along the Outer Banks, and the area became known as "The Graveyard of the Atlantic".
Lighthouses are plentiful along the North Carolina coastline to warn passing ships of treacherous storms, sand bars, and rip tides. The towns and villages on Bodie Island include Corolla, Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head.
The island is home to two famous lighthouses, the Bodie Island Lighthouse and the Currituck Lighthouse.
Bodie Island is linked to Hatteras Island and the mainland by bridges. If you follow the shoreline, the island is about 72 miles long.
Highway 12 is the main road traveled throughout the islands, and ends just north of Corolla. The area north of Corolla is only accessible with a four-wheel drive vehicle and you will see a sign that reads "only 4 wheel vehicles allowed past this point".
You can rent a jeep, drive on the accessible beaches, discover the awesome sites, and find your favorite fishing spot!
Also, one of the most exciting things is seeing the wild Spanish Mustang horses roaming around! Driving on the beach is 25 MPH, unless posted otherwise, where the paved road ends going north through Corolla.
By the way, don't forget to take your camera!
To get to the village of Corolla, (pronounced kah-RAH-la), at the northern tip of the Outer Banks, stay on Highway 12 just before it ends.
Corolla has around 500 full-time residents, and is home to the famous Currituck Lighthouse.
This is a quiet, quaint village with a variety of great restaurants, popular golf courses, a nice little shopping center, and a movie theatre.
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla was the last brick lighthouse built along the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
It filled the last "dark spot" along the North Carolina coast, is 162 feet tall and has 214 steps to the very top.
The lighthouse is open year round, but it is closed during high winds and bad storms. A small fee is charged to climb to the top, but it's worth every penny, the view is spectacular! You can take wonderful pictures of the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck Sound.
Also, near the Currituck Lighthouse is another "must see" place to visit while in Corolla.
You can take a tour of the 21,000 square feet, 1920's restored "beach cottage" of Edward Collins Knight, Jr., known as the "Whalehead Club".
The home has a tiffany chandelier, baths of salt water or fresh water,
20 bedrooms and 15 baths! During the depression, Knight was an executive with the Pennsylvania Railroad and the American Sugar refinery. He and his wife decided to build their vacation home in Corolla.
This is a wonderful tour where you can view not only history, but outstanding architecture. This self-guided tour takes an hour or two, and you are given an audio device to listen to full of interesting facts. Since the 1920's, local residents have called it the "jewel by the sea".
Kitty Hawk is a charming town located on Bodie Island. When most people hear the name "Kitty Hawk", they think of the Wright Brothers and the birthplace of aviation.
The brothers from Ohio, had been searching for a remote area to try out their invention and it needed to be a place that would be inconspicuous, as to not draw attention from the public.
The perfect place would also have slopping hills where they could launch the airplane, and winds around 15 miles per hour would be ideal.
In 1900, they decided on an area near Kitty Hawk, called Kill Devil Hills. It was here, after three years and many attempts, that Orville and Wilbur Wright flew their airplane over the beach.
The Age of Aviation started right here with their airplane traveling 120 feet in 12 seconds. In 1903, the Wright Brothers changed the world with their success, and because of their achievement, we are able to enjoy air travel today!
The Wright Brothers Memorial is located at the top of Kill Devil Hills on Bodie Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The monument stands 60 feet high, and markers are also displayed to show how far the first attempts went.
Also, you will see a full-scale replica of the Wright Brothers airplane on display. The memorial is open everyday from 9am to 5pm, except Christmas.
Also, don't leave Kill Devil Hills without first taking a stroll on the pier!
The Wright Brothers have inspired many wind surfers and gliders to the area to have their try at riding out the wind from the largest natural
sand dunes on the Atlantic Coast, at Jockey Ridge State Park.
The 420 acre park, with picnic facilities, is located in nearby Nags Head, North Carolina.
The height of the sand dunes fluctuate with the weather and are between 80 and 100 feet tall! Visitors can sign up for hang-gliding lessons near the visitors center at Kitty Hawk Kites, a private hang-gliding company. Book your reservations early so you don't miss out ... the lessons do book up very quickly!
In the 1830's, the town of Nags Head was the first resort along the coast of the Outer Banks.
If fishing is in your vacation plans, then Nags Head is right up your alley with some of the best surf fishing on the East Coast!
You will also find some great shopping at the Outer Banks Mall!
On Bodie Island, between Nags Head and the Oregon Inlet you will recognize the black and white horizontal striped Bodie Island Lighthouse. It is 150 feet high and the beacon can be seen 19 miles out over the Atlantic Ocean flashing every 22 seconds.
The keeper's quarters are now a visitor center and gift shop where you can explore the history of the lighthouse, but the actual lighthouse is closed for climbing.
Beside the lighthouse is a nature trail through the marsh where you can view a variety of wildlife and bird watching. The visitor center is open from May through September.
Let's talk about the town of Duck, North Carolina. I suppose you're wondering where in the world did they come up with a name like "Duck".
Well, just so you know, the name came about because of the large amount of waterfowl that flock to the area.
It is located in the northern part of Bodie Island and is very easy to find.
You are there when you reach the intersection of Highway 158 (the Bypass) and Highway 12 (the Beach Road).
Duck has some of the top ranked beaches in the country and is surrounded by the Currituck Sound to the west and the magnificent Atlantic Ocean to the east!
Unless you're staying in Duck, you won't be able to enjoy the 7 mile stretch of fantastic beaches because they do not have any public beach access points. Because of this, the beaches are less crowded and perfect for a Carolina Coast family vacation!
Finally, snuggled up between the towns of Duck and Kitty Hawk you will find a luxurious, private residential community, called Southern Shores.
Tourists are attracted this area because of their hiking and bicycling trails. And, like the town of Duck, Southern Shores beaches are private with no public access. Vacationers have access to the beaches only if they are staying in town.
The Civic Association provides life-guarded beaches from 10am to 6pm every day between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Southern Shores also offers several award winning golf courses in the area.
We have given you a brief description of the Northern Beaches on Bodie Island, but the only way to experience the magic of the Outer Banks is to come visit! We want to share with you our heritage, history, and most of all, our beautiful surroundings!
Once you visit, you will always want to come back!
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