Part natural oasis and part sunny beach town, Kitty Hawk is a fantastic destination for kids who love adventure. From watersports lessons to museums designed for busy hands, families will want to discover these top Outer Banks attractions and activities to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Educational Sites and Attractions
Children at Play Museum - Designed for the Outer Bank's youngest visitors, the Children at Play Museum has plenty of interactive exhibits that pay homage to the local environment, and are designed to inspire young minds. The museum features regular story hours, craft projects, and other daily events to keep multiple visits interesting
Wright Brothers Memorial - This iconic site features a Visitors Center where kids will be wowed by the life-sized, replica gliders that steal the show. Regular media programs and talks are also offered by the National Park Service to make the story of the First Flight accessible for all ages.
Jennette's Pier - Start an afternoon of fishing or beaching by exploring the expansive pier house that features borrowed exhibits from the North Carolina Aquarium. Located in Nags Head, the recently renovated Jennette's Pier is great for educational programs, angling, and sightseeing combined.
North Carolina Aquarium - Located a 30 minute drive away from Kitty Hawk, the North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo features multiple exhibits on local, deep water, and exotic species, as well as special rooms and displays that are interactive and are designed just for kids.
Island Farm - Take a trip back to the 1850s at this working Roanoke Island farm that features costumed interpreters, local friendly farm animals, and plenty of opportunities for kids and adults to join in the daily activities of a typical mid-19th century Outer Banks farm.
Roanoke Island Festival Park - Located in a pretty Manteo outdoor setting, patrons can meet and mingle with costumed settlers and Native Americans as they explore this extensive replica of Roanoke Island circa 1586.
Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education - Head 20-30 minutes north to Corolla to learn about the sea critters that call the Outer Banks home at the extensive Center for Wildlife Education. Adjacent to the Historic Corolla Park, this center boasts a 5,000 gallon saltwater tank, museum exhibits, and regular programs for explorers of all ages.
Kitty Hawk Woods - With multiple ways to access this extensive natural reserve, kids can run wild in one of the central Outer Banks' largest parcels of maritime forests. Follow the nature trails that veer off of The Woods road, or create your own route along the ample paddling trails that border the sound.
Public Parks - Kitty Hawk has two public parks that are quietly located along the wooded soundside region.
- Sandy Run Park features a covered pavilion, picnic areas, grills, a raised walkway for bird watching, and access to hiking and biking paths. There's also a canoe / kayak launch that leads to maritime woods canals and the open sound waters. Sandy Run Park is located on The Woods Road within the Preserve at Kitty Hawk Woods.
- Kitty Hawk Park is one of the newest parks in Dare County, and boasts a covered picnic shelter, Skate Park, a half mile walking trail, playground, and even a dog park. The park is located at 900 West Kitty Hawk Road in Kitty Hawk.
Promenade Watersports - This extensive watersports complex features everything kids need to have fun on the water. Activities include jet skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, boating, sailing, and even parasailing, allowing patrons to choose their own adventure. The center is located at 105 Promenade Lane, next to the Wright Memorial Bridge.
Kayaking, Kiteboarding, Windsurfing and Stand-up Paddle Boarding - Active kids can head to several local locales for watersports equipment and lessons. Kitty Hawk Kayaks in Kitty Hawk offers both SUP lessons and guided kayaking eco-tours while Nags Head's Kitty Hawk Kite has a wealth of lessons available, from hang gliding to kiteboarding clinics.
Fishing - Head to the Kitty Hawk Pier, the Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills, or Jennette's Pier in Nags Head for a full day of angling and incredible open ocean views. The majority of piers on the Outer Banks offer special reduced rates for young anglers.
Mini-Golf - Head to Paradise Golf and Arcade or Lost Treasure Golf, both located in neighboring Kill Devil Hills, for a fun afternoon or evening on the links. Additional amenities at these mini-golf centers include go kart tracks, bumper cars, arcades and snack bars.
Kitty Hawk Beaches - There are eight public beaches in Kitty Hawk, including three with lifeguard stations which are located at the Byrd Street access, the Eckner Street access, and the Kitty Hawk Bath House access. Beach gear and rentals can be picked up at local souvenir stores, or beach rental shops like Ocean Atlantic Rentals and Moneysworth Rentals.
Bowling - Nags Heads' OBX Bowling, (formerly the Nags Head Bowling Alley), is open daily for friendly family bowling competitions. The bowling alley also features a separate arcade, as well as a snack bar for cold drinks and easy kid-friendly lunches.
Arcades - Game lovers can check out Paradise Golf & Arcade and Destination Fun Laser Tag, which are both conveniently located in Kill Devil Hills along the Beach Bypass.An arcade is also located at the OBX Bowling Center in Nags Head and at the R/C movie theater in Kill Devil Hills.
Laser Tag - There are two laser tag centers in the central Outer Banks, which are Destination Fun Laser Tag and Outer Banks Gearworks. Both centers are appropriate for kids, and feature snack bars, arcades, and / or other amenities for patrons.
Movie Theatres - The R/C Theatre in Kill Devil Hills is located a quick 5-10 minute drive away for young movie fans, and features multiple curved screens, digital surround sound, stadium seating, a snack bar and an arcade. For a historic experience, head to Manteo and the Pioneer Theater, which is one of the oldest family-owned movie theaters in North Carolina.
Arts and Crafts - Kids can get their hands dirty at Kitty Hawk's The Jelly Lounge, which features a suite of arts and crafts classes, as well as parties for kids and adults. Nearby, Kill Devil Hills' Garden of Beadin' allows kids to create their own masterpieces and sea-worthy pieces of jewelry.
YMCA - The YMCA in Nags Head features a sprawling indoor pool and an outdoor skate park, as well as special fitness classes designed just for kids. Temporary passes and guest memberships are available for Outer Banks visitors.
Ice Cream - Take a bike ride or stroll along the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk, and it won't take too long to spot an ice cream stand or two. Popular local ice cream purveyors include Salty Cow, Big Buck's, and Rita's - which are all found in Kitty Hawk.