Posted on 5/17/2023


Traveling to the Outer Banks and looking for the perfect activities to do while you’re here? Look no further! We have compiled a list of the best “free” things to do on the OBX while you’re here!

Check out this list of top 10 free things to do on the Outer Banks!

1. Start Your Day at Sunrise Cafe

Your first stop in the morning must be at the Sunrise Cafe while staying with us at John Yancey Inn! There are several signs located around the property to help you find your way or you can stop by the front desk if you have forgotten.

Here you will find the best homemade waffles and of course all of the toppings you could imagine. We also have many other options such as fresh fruit, juices/milks, cereals, muffins, and much more!

Completely free with your stay! Yep, complimentary breakfast is on us!

2. Play in the Sand Dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park

This beautiful sand dune in Nags Head, just minutes from the John Yancey Inn, has the most breathtaking views. This location is perfect for kids to run around and play and even great for a romantic date night as the sunsets are beautiful.

This is the one sightseeing location on the OBX you won’t want to miss. Open dusk till dawn. It’s even one of the many pet-friendly places in the area.

3. Go Shell Hunting and Crab Hunting

This activity is our favorite one of all! You never know what you will find or see. This activity is completely free and you might find something that money can not buy!

4. See the Wild Horses at Currituck Beach

Currituck is known for the wild horses that roam the beaches there. This location you can actually take your vehicle in the sand and see the horses for yourself! This is easily one of the best day trips to take in the Outer Banks.

It is amazing watching them roam freely. However, we suggest keeping your distance and you do not feed the horses.

5. Go Birdwatching at Pea Island

If you are a bird lover or even interested in nature you will love Pea Island on Hatteras Island. This beach sees up to 250 different types of birds year-round. This beach you will also see a lot more sea life in the waters and is better for shell hunting!

6. Take in the Views at Currituck Beach Lighthouse

This lighthouse is amazing and has incredible views. Be sure to check their website for the days they do a free climb to the top, if you do not want to pay the small fee. This climb is 220 steps and absolutely breathtaking the entire climb.

7. Learn Some History at Fort Raleigh Historic Site

This location in downtown Manteo is great for those who love the history of the Outer Banks! This is known as the first English settlement in America and has a great story to tell. This location is open from 9am to 5pm.

8. Walk the Many Piers

Take a walk on the piers while in the Outer Banks! Whether you’re looking for a kid friendly environment like Jennette’s Pier or looking for a bit of nightlife at Avalon Pier, they have it all!

Many of these piers are home to some of the best dessert shops and ice cream parlors in OBX, too. Perfect for a sweet treat while you stroll.

9. See Exotic Wildlife at Alligator River Wildlife Refuge

They have over four miles of walking trails, wildlife to see, and much more. Make sure that you pack a lunch and wear athletic clothing! Open from dusk till dawn located on the Albemarle peninsula.

10. Partake in Local Events

The Outer Banks is full of events that go on each month! Lots of these events are free and are posted online with dates and hours and any information you may need. Stay tuned to our blogs to learn about each month’s events that are going on!

Pictured above is the annual Kitty Hawk Kite Festival in November at Jockey’s Ridge State Park.

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