11 Apr 2023
Chances are, when you spend your vacation on the Outer Banks, you're going to want to go the beach! And letting the kids run around with their toes in the sand while they bask in the sunshine and cool, ocean breezes is an amazing experience that they won't soon forget. But sometimes, you just need to take an afternoon where the kiddos can enjoy a little more structured playtime with playground equipment, swings, and more to change it up a little. And when you're ready for a little extra fun on your vacation, there are also plenty of national and state parks that are great for hiking, as well as waterparks and amusements for the whole family! Here is our list of park, playground, amusement parks, waterparks, and more on the Outer Banks that are great for giving the kids a change of scenery and the chance to get their wiggles out in a safe, fun place.
Outer Banks Parks & Playgrounds
This cute little park sits just a short walk from the Currituck Beach Lighthouse on Schoolhouse Lane. When you need a break on the nothern Outer Banks, give the kids a chance to stretch their legs on the jungle gym or the slides before heading to the beach.
Duck Town Park & Boardwalk
When you're looking for an amazing place to to catch some sunsets over the sound while also letting the kids enjoy some time in the fresh air and sunshine, look no further than the Duck Town Park & Boardwalk. The Town Park boasts 11 acres of beautiful trails, a public kayak/canoe launch, a picnic shelter for quick and easy lunch stops, a playground with lots of fun equipment for the kids to enjoy, water fountains, and a gazebo. This park is pet-friendly and offers both restrooms and parking!
Address: 1100 Duck Rd., Duck, NC
David Paul Pruitt Jr. Multi-Use Path and Park
Hidden away on The Woods Road in Kitty Hawl, this park is a fantstic place to let the kids run around in a fenced-in area with swings, jingle gyms, and multiple places to climb around and get some exercise. For the parents and pets, take advantage of the multi-use path that wraps around for two miles. You'll also find picnic tables, restrooms, and parking.
Address: 5160 The Woods Rd., Kitty Hawk, NC
Kitty Hawk Park
Kitty Hawk Park is a local's favorite with a large playground area, a 5000 square foot skate park, a half-mile walking trail, a dog park, and a covered picnic shelter where you can grill up something yummy for lunch. Take advatnage of the nearby parking and restrooms for a fun afternoon in the sunshine.
Address: 900 West Kitty Hawk Rd., Kitty Hawk, NC
Sandy Run Park
Sandy Run Park is a great place that runs through the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Preserve, meaning that as you walk along the half-mile boardwalk or nearby bike trails, you'll be able to see plenty of beautiful wildlife and native maritime plantlife. Take advantage of a canoe and kayak launch, a covered picnic area with multiple grills, and lots of space to run around and enjoy the natural birds and wildlife. The kids will especially love getting a chance to see the turtles in the pond!
Address: 4352 The Woods Rd., Kitty Hawk, NC
Kill Devil Hills
Conveniently located in the heart of Kill Devill Hills and the site of many local events, Aviation Park is a great place to stop and let the kids play around while enjoying the fresh air. This park includes a fun frog and turtle pond as well as a fitness trail, a dog park, skate ramps, a playground with slides and climbing equipment, swings, and plenty of places to sit. There are restrooms and plenty of parking places for you convenience.
Address: 103 Veteran's Dr., Kill Devil Hills, NC
Dare County Recreation Park
The Family Recreation Park in Kill Devil Hills is a great place near the beach to enjoy fun picnic lunches, tennis courts, a multi-use field, and a playground with a climbing wall. You'll also find plenty of parking and restrooms.
Address: 602 Mustian Street, Kill Devil Hills, NC
This neighborhood park near the sound has a large multi-use firled that's great for frisbees, pets, and letting the kids run around with a soccer ball. You'll also find plenty of picnic tables and a grill for lunches. There are swings and playground equipment for the kids to enjoy. You'll find parking and a portable toilet.
Address: 219 W. Hayman Boulevard, Kill Devil Hills, NC
Dowdy Park is a great place to for kids of all ages and abilities to get out and about on the Outer Banks! Take advantage of the fitness trail as well as an inclusive playground, large field space, plenty of parking, picnic areas, and bathrooms. The climbing wall is particularly great for your more adventurous kids. Be sure to check out the Farmer's Market and Holiday Farmer's Marktets throughout the year.
Address: 3005 S. Croatan Hwy., Nags Head, NC
Nags Head Town Park
Located near Mile Post 11, Nags Head Town Park has plenty of sandy spaces and open areas for kids to run around and explore. Grill up some yummy lunch on the outdoor grill and covered shelter. Let the kids enjoy the playground area and use the open space for soccer and frisbee. There is plenty of parking as well as restrooms for visitors.
Address: 415 Health Center Dr., Nags Head, NC
Located near Jennette's Pier near Mile Post 16.5, Whalebone Park is a great stop when the kids are starting to get antsy after driving around or spending some time at the beach or fishing at the pier. Enjoy this nautical-themed playground with lots of fun equipment, shaded picnic tables, a bocce ball court, and several volleyball courts.
Address: 7300 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC
Located just off the rounabout on Sir Walter Raleigh Street, Cartwright Park offers a great little playground area for kids as well as a picnic area, multiple grills, and restrooms.
Address: 303 Bideford Street, Manteo, NC
Old Swimming Hole
Not far from the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, Old Swimming Hole Park offers a sound access (with seasonal lifeguard), a picnic pavilion, and playground equipment for letting the kids run around after a tour of the aquarium!
Address: 410 Airport Rd., Manteo, NC
The Manteo Waterfront Park wraps around with a boardwalk and provides access to a waterfront gazebo or the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. Enjoy a convenient playground area near many of the shops in Downtown Manteo as well as picnic areas and plenty of benches for snacks and relaxing.
Address: 207 Queen Elizabeth Ave., Manteo, NC
The Avon Playground is located near Kinnekeet Village and provides a fenced-in playround area with plenty of grass, playground equipment including a slide, tunnels, and swing set, a picnic area, and plenty of benches for the adults to relax with the kids play.
Address: 40184 Harbor Rd., Avon, NC
Fessenden Center and Skate Park
Acting as the primary community center in Buxton, the Fesseden Center has a playground, soccer goals, picnic area, basketball court, tennis courts, and a skate park. There are also restrooms and plenty of parking nearby.
Address: 46830 Hwy. 12, Buxton, NC
The Roandthe Community Center Playground is nautical-themed and includes slides, tunnels, and climbing bars, a swingset, and picnic areas. Parking can be found at the Community Center next door.
Address: 23646 Myrna Peters Rd., Rodanthe, NC
Outer Banks National Parks & State Parks
Jockey's Ridge State Park
No trip to the Outer Banks is complete with a trip to Jockey's Ridge State Park. This amazing, unmistakable living sand dune sits 100 feet tall and extends more than 420 acres. It offers a vast array of wildlife, hiking trails, and opportunities of a lifetime such as the chance to take a hang gliding lesson with Kitty Hawk kites! Come enjoy a wide range of fun activities while enjoying one of the most recognizable features of the Outer Banks.
Address: 300 W. Carolista Dr., Nags Head, NC
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
While you're in Manteo enjoying the amazing local seafood or visiting the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, be sure to stop by the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site! This 355+ acre park offers guests the chance to explore various monuments, trails, and a fun visitor's center with all sorts of educational activities for the whole family. This site is home to the location of the earliest English settlements, including the infamous “Lost Colony,” the Freedmen's Colony, and site of radio transmission experiments in the early 1900s. Visitor’s can also purchase tickets to the award winning annual theater performance, The Lost Colony, performed at the adjacent Waterside Theater. (Open daily from sunrise to sunset with specific hours for the visitor center and Theater play. Located at 1401 National Park Dr. Manteo, NC 27954). Admission to the park is free but The Lost Colony requires ticket purchase.
Address: 1401 National Park Dr., Manteo, NC
Roanoke Island Festival Park
The Roanoke Island Festival Park is a fun, interactive family attraction that celebrates the first English settlement in America. Costumed interpreters are on site to teach visitors about life in 1585, especially kids who will enjoy trying on armor, practice woodworking, watch a blacksmith at work, and even play Elizabethan-era games. An American Indian Town Exhibit with will teach visitors about the history and culture of the Algonquian people and allow them to practice skills such as cordage, basket weaving and boat building. The best part of the park is the Elizabeth II which represents one of the seven ships that brought the colonists to America from England. Kids will love climbing abord the ship!
Address: 1 Festival Park, Manteo, NC
Wright Brothers National Memorial
A visit to the Outer Banks isn’t complete without experiencing the Wright Brothers Memorial. This landmark combines elements of history with interactive fun making it a must-see for both first-time visitors and repeat vacationers. On December 17, 1903, Wilbur launched their heavier than air Wright Flyer I in Kill Devil Hills for a flight that lasted 59 seconds and traveled a length of 852 feet. This incredible flight marked an aviation achievement that, although not initially recognized in the United States, would go on to become known as the first successful powered flight earning the Wright brothers a well-deserved place in our country’s aviation history. Today, the location of the successful 1903 flight is a 428-acre national park that includes a museum, replicas of their living quarters, hangar and various flying machines, as well as the well-recognized Wright Brothers Memorial made of over 2,000 tons of gravel, 800 tons of sand and 1,200 tons of granite. Recent renovations to the Visitor's Center were completed in 2018 adding new interactive exhibits and artifacts to help teach visitors how Wilbur and Orville’s innovations inspired modern aviation.
Address: 1000 N. Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
If you came to the Outer Banks to experience the beach but you still want to explore some of the best designated park areas on the Outer Banks, you are going to love the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. This portion of the beach stretches from Bodie Island to Ocracoke Island and is preserved and managed by the National Park Service. This was the country's first national seashore and gives visitors the chance to see untouched beauty and wildlife right by the ocean. There are three visitor centers which offer tours and information about the seashore as well as ongoing beach conversation efforts. The Bodie Island Visitor Center, the Hatteras Island Visitor Center and Museum of the Sea, and the Ocracoke Island Visitor Center all offer exhibits and information about the history Cape Hatteras and the formal designation of the national seashore.
Address: 46372 Lighthouse Rd., Buxton, NC 27920
Pea Island Wildlife Refuge
When you're looking for a fun way to get the kids outside while exploring the Outer Banks environment, the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge is a small but beautiful spot in Rodanthe that's great for hiking, fishing, and relaxing at the beach. The North Pond Wildlife Trail is less than a mile long and lets the kids burn off some steam while enjoying the chance to see waterfowl and other birds, sea turtles, and other wildlife native to the area. And if your kids do better with a little more structure, stop by the Visitor Center on Highway 12 for an updated schedule of weekly bird walks, sea turtle eductional activities, and more! And if you live within driving distance of the Outer Banks, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge also offers plenty of opportunities for volunteering and additional educational opportunities throughout the summer.
Address: 14500 NC Hwy 12, Rodanthe, NC
Amusement & Water Parks on the Outer Banks
The ocean is the primary attraction to any beach location, especially on the Outer Banks where we enjoy miles and miles of underdeveloped, beautiful coastline. However, North Carolina is prone to rough surf and rip currents every now and then prompting yellow and red caution flags to be flown all over the beach… in other words, no swimming! Luckily, for visitors who still want to enjoy the water on a nice day even when the surf is too rough, there’s another option. H2OBX Waterpark is a water park in Powell’s Point that offers a day of fun for both kids and adults.
Address: 8526 Caratoke Hwy., Powells Point, NC
Located in the Tumbuck II Shopping Village of Corolla, the Corolla Raceway is the place for hours of endless entertainment for the entire family. Fulfill your own need for speed with single, double, and junior go-karts as well as bumper cars and arcade games with a variety of entertainment options for kids of all ages.
Address: 796 Sunset Blvd., Corolla, NC
Paradise Fun Park
Further south, in Kill Devil Hills, Paradise Fun Park is a fantastic spot for family amusements! Enjoy 2 mini-golf courses, go-karts, bumper cars, and an arcade room with a variety of fun games and prizes. Come try your luck in the arcade and cool off under one of the outdoor picnic tables while your family plays!
Address: 3300 N. Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC
BOOK YOUR HASSLE-FREE VACATION TODAY
So whether you're hoping to come for a short stay getaway or you're excited to introduce the kiddos to some important North Carolina history while recreating memories of your childhood beach vacation, we've got the perfect place for you to stay while you're in town. There really is no bad place to stay on the Outer Banks, so why not plan a yearly trip and maybe stay in a different town each time? You're sure to find your perfect spot.
Keep an eye on our specials and deals and book now before your dream Outer Banks beach house fills up for the summer. Give our wonderful Guest Services Team a call today at (866) 884-0267 or take a look at our available rentals to get started planning your next historic adventure to the Outer Banks. And don't forget about our layaway plan, which makes booking your dream vacation easier than ever. So don't wait. We're booking Outer Banks vacation rentals year round and we're excited to help you create memories to last a lifetime. We're here to help make your OBX vacation fun, exciting, and hassle-free. Give us a call today!
We'll see you at the beach.