Great Ideas for Family Fun on the Outer Banks

Gather up the family and head to any one of the most entertaining spots on the barrier islands. Fun for “kids” of all ages is around every corner and at every price point, making it easy for each member of the group to have a great time on the Outer Banks. Anytime the family can all play together, lasting memories are formed. Here are some of our favorite ideas for incredible bonding experiences.

Water Park

Visit a fun park for popular amusements that can provide lots of laughs for everyone in the family. One of the newest Outer Banks attractions, H2OBX Waterpark, sets the stage for a wet and wild experience. With everything from lazy rivers to advanced tubing slides, a day of joyful activities awaits. There’s even a splash pool for the little ones at this popular new attraction.


  • “Pelican Plunge” slide is great for the littler ones
  • “Riptide” is a ride for daredevils
  • “Queen Anne’s Revenge” accomodates everyone!

Race Tracks

Speed around a racetrack in a go-kart, challenging other members of the family to see who can cross the finish line first. At Full Throttle Speedway or Nags Head Raceway, not only will your heart be racing, but the rest of your body will be as well. Take your go-kart around racetracks including the Slick Oval and Figure 8 as fast as you can! So that everyone can have a fun time maneuvering around a course, there are kiddie karts for younger drivers who want to drive by themselves or double karts that accommodate passengers so parents can sit with their children on the track.

Return to Simpler Times

Find yourself face to face with nature and history at the Island Farm in Manteo. This working farm preserves the past, depicting life in the region during the 1800s. Visitors can wander around the farm and gardens, feed chickens, take a ride in a cart pulled by an ox, and learn how people lived in coastal North Carolina during the 19th century. Lend a hand in the cornfield, garden or just relax and immerse yourself in a historic era. The docents in the Visitor’s Center and in the preserved buildings on the property explain how people cared for livestock, worked the land, fished the waters, and even harnessed the wind’s energy on a daily basis.  It’s an educational experience that is incredibly delightful.


  • Interact with costumed interpreters
  • Watch a blacksmith forge metal items
  • Learn about life in the 19th century

Mini Golf

Mini golf is a very popular activity in the evening after the sun has set and the course is lit up, but it’s really fun any time of the day. Choose a course with a theme that you find appealing and putt through the obstacles trying for that elusive hole-in-one. Some of the local parks have arcade games or even small rides such as bumper cars or trampolines to play on after a bit of family-friendly competition.

Outdoor Entertainment

Beach communities are famous for great things to do outside, and the Outer Banks offers more than most other areas. The natural dunes at Jockey’s Ridge are fun to climb, and there are many opportunities for fun that the family can enjoy, including hiking and flying a kite. The rich history of the region also contributes to the list of available outside entertainment. For instance, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site where early colonists once lived, is an interesting day trip. Fort Raleigh is home to The Lost Colony outdoor drama, which is performed in an open-air theater and is a must-see attraction while in the region. Last year it celebrated 80 years of productions and is the longest-running outdoor drama in the nation. There are also the beautiful Elizabethan Gardens, extensive natural parks, and of course, the area beaches.


  • Hear the story of the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island
  • Walk among the flowers at the Elizabethan Gardens
  • Explore the shifting sands and natural beauty of the sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge

Sun, Sand, Surf

Play like a kid again and go splashing and swimming in the ocean—after all, isn’t that why the family chose to vacation in the OBX? The Atlantic Ocean and the other side of the barrier islands, the sounds, are arguably the greatest tourist attractions to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. People are compelled to come to the sea. The beautiful waterscapes are home to a host of activities that can ensure everyone in the family has a memorable and exciting time on the water. To heighten the fun, bring a wave board, boogie board, or just use your body to ride the surf into the shore. Afterwards, relax from the excitement and dry off on the clean, spacious beaches under the warm Carolina sun.


  • Practically every moment spent at the beach is a highlight!

Spending time together only strengthens family bonds by creating memories. The Outer Banks has many opportunities to interact with those you love. Make sure to take advantage of as many as possible!