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7 Jun 2023
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Environment & Nature

The Outer Banks has long been a favorite destination for beach lovers. With its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant coastal communities, the Outer Banks offers a perfect setting for a memorable vacation. One of the things that makes the Outer Banks just so special is the abundance of nature and wildlife. However, as the impacts of climate change become increasingly apparent, it is more important than ever to consider sustainable choices when planning our vacations. Join us as we explore how to enjoy a greener Outer Banks vacation by making responsible choices that minimize our environmental footprint.

Support Local and Sustainable Dining

While exploring the Outer Banks' culinary scene, prioritize restaurants that embrace sustainable practices. Look for establishments that source their ingredients locally, supporting local farmers and reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Choose seafood options that are sustainably caught or farmed, ensuring the long-term health of the ocean ecosystem. By dining at eco-conscious restaurants, you not only enjoy delicious meals but also contribute to the local economy and environmental preservation. Most restaurants on the Outer Banks prioritize fresh, local seafood and that's one of the benefits of dining on the OBX! All of North Carolina's fisheries are required by the 1997 Fisheries Reform Act (FRA) to be run with sustainability in mind so check out our list of seafood restaurants and seafood markets on the Outer Banks during your next vacation!

Engage in Low-Impact Activities

The Outer Banks offers a wide range of outdoor activities to enjoy during your stay. Opt for activities with a low environmental impact that allow you to immerse yourself in the region's natural wonders while minimizing harm to the natural world. Choose hiking, biking, or kayaking to explore the area's natural trails, waterways, and marshes. Nags Head Woods and Jockey's Ridge State Park are two amazing places to visit for a fun vacation retreat that encourages environmentalism and taking care of our precious Outer Banks enviroment. You should also definitely try birdwatching while you're here! This "leave no trace" activity is fun for the whole family and is a great way to learn more about the local ecosystem. Places on the northern Outer Banks like Duck and Corolla offer biking and walking paths that provide an easy way to enjoy the area without having to get your car. These activities not only provide an opportunity to connect with nature but also reduce reliance on fossil fuel-powered transportation, promoting a greener and healthier vacation experience.

Embrace Responsible Beach Practices

The beautiful beaches of the Outer Banks are the highlight of any OBX vacation. To protect and preserve this natural treasure, it is crucial to practice responsible beach etiquette throughout your stay. Additionally, consider participating in local beach cleanup initiatives or volunteering with conservation organizations to contribute to the preservation of these beautiful coastal ecosystems. Here are some tips for how to be more environmentally friendly during your next beach visit!

Leave No Trace

If you're familiar with outdoor adventures like hiking or geocaching, this isn't a new idea. However, it's still a really good motto to have when visiting the beach. One of the best ways to ensure that the beach is here for generations moving forward to enjoy and that it stays in good shape for all the wildlife in the area is to leave as little impact on the landscape as possible. This can include everything from picking up your trash to avoiding tampering with the local ecosystem by removing objects.

Avoid Single-Use Plastic

Bring reusable containers for snacks, like these awesome reusable sandwich bags, and waterbottles that are easy to refill and have the added bonus of keeping your drinks cool. You can also use washclothes instead of napkins and bring metal or rubber reusable straws - though many restaurants have switched over to paper or recycled straws already! With a little extra prep, you can make a huge impact on protecting the environment.

Always Bring a Garbage Bag

As part of "leave no trace," this includes picking up your trash after your day at the beach. So be sure to grab everything, including things that may seem compostable such as food scraps or paper. These things are not part of the native beach environment so it's important not to add things that could harm wildlife or plantlife.

Respect Wildlife and Their Habitats

This means observing them from a safe distance and not disturbing their natural behavior. While it is actually illegal to get near or touch the Corolla Wild Horses, it's important to let other wildlife thrive in their natural environment. Take plenty of photos and enjoy watching from a distance to ensure that the beautiful, untouched landscape of the Outer Banks stays that way.

*Fill in Holes*

This may seem kind of silly, but flattening sand castles and filling in holes protects wildlife, other guests, and emergency vehicles who may need access to the beach. If that wasn't enough motivation to remember to fill in holes when you're done playing, leaving large holes unattended can actually result in a fine in some parts of the Outer Banks. So just be compassionate of your surroundings and after you've had your fun, leave things how they were when you got there.

Support Local Conservation Efforts

Take the opportunity to learn about the unique environmental challenges the Outer Banks face and support local conservation efforts. Visit the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, Jennette’s Pier, and the Hatteras Island Ocean Center where they focus on coastal preservation or consider making a donation and becoming a member of organizations dedicated to protecting the region's fragile ecosystems. Check out our guide on How to Help Protect OBX Beaches for more ways that you can get involved both during and after your stay on the Outer Banks. By contributing to these initiatives, you play an active role in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Outer Banks for future generations to enjoy.

Book Your Next Sustainable OBX Vacation Today!

As travelers, it is our responsibility to make sustainable choices and reduce our impact on the destinations we visit. By adopting eco-friendly practices during our Outer Banks vacation, we can enjoy the beauty of this coastal paradise while preserving its natural wonders for years to come. Let's be mindful travelers and embrace responsible choices for a memorable and eco-friendly Outer Banks vacation. Don't wait! Book your next Outer Banks vacation today!

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!

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We’ll see you at the beach.

Last updated on Fri, June 9, 2023.

 About the Author:  Lauren is an Outer Banks local, mom, trained historian, and travel enthusiast. When she isn’t writing for the Seaside Vacations Travel Blog, Lauren can usually be found with her nose in a book or cuddling with her cats.