Outer Banks, North Carolina
We are planning an extended family reunion on the North Carolina Outer Banks this fall. Can you recommend a hotel suitable for our diverse tribe? Suggestions for activities would also be appreciated. Thanks.

A great source for lodging and activities is the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau (www.outerbanks.org). Be sure to get your free “Getaway Card” for off-season discounts on dining, lodging and activities. Instead of a hotel we’d suggest considering the increasingly popular option of renting a home for a true family experience. We recently used Village Realty (www.villagerealtyobx.com) to secure a perfect nine-bedroom home that handled our group with comfort and style. Adult bedrooms all had private baths and for rainy days or late night fun, a huge rec room with pool table, air hockey, foosball and even a fitness room kept us well entertained. The third floor featured a totally awesome open kitchen with ocean view dining and living spaces. More modest homes and condos are also available.

A highlight of our trip was flying off the dunes at Jockey's Ridge State Park under the delightful and capable guidance of Kitty Hawk Kites. The highest dunes on the east coast and consistent winds provide perfect conditions for novices to lift off of the earth for a short taste of flight. Soft sand ensures landings don’t have to be graceful to be safe. Kitty Hawk Kites offers a wide range of other flight adventures. Definitely check them out.

On the Outer Banks you can fish directly on the beach, from piers or with charter services. A sunset cruise is a great way to relax at the end of the day. You’ll be pleased to find beach access so well-marked, with parking and often facilities.

Experience the rich eco-system of the Outer Banks by kayak. Perfect for beginners satisfying for experienced paddlers. Kayaking gets you harmoniously up close to the flora and fauna of the sound and marshlands. Eco-tours are available through Carolina Outdoors.

Historical and cultural activities abound on these barrier islands, home of Orville and Wilbur Wright's first flight at Kitty Hawk. This being the centennial of that historic event, many special events have been planned throughout the year. The December 13 through 17 celebration will feature events, exhibits, concerts and flyovers. See www.firstflightcentennial.org for details.

Have a great and memorable reunion.

  Express-Times, October 2003


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