Oceanfront Hotel Close to Historic Attractions
When it comes to a vacation that blends outdoor recreation and cultural offerings, the North Carolina’s Outer Banks makes as strong a case as any destination. The area is popular for its history as well as its temperate climate and wide-open beaches. The United States’ tallest lighthouse is situated on Cape Hatteras, one of many barrier islands that make up the banks. Nearby, you can find the spot where the Wright brothers took flight for the first time, in Kill Devil Hills (not in Kitty Hawk, contrary to what’s in many textbooks). The Ramada Plaza Nags Head Oceanfront sits right along the oceanfront, close to all of these attractions.
Upstairs, each of the hotel’s guest rooms features beach-inspired decor and a private balcony with views of the city, dunes, or ocean. To recreate the comforts of home, each room includes complimentary WiFi and a flat-screen TV, and you can even bring your dog along for an extra fee (request this in advance with the hotel).
If it’s warm enough, you can spend the day lounging on the hotel’s expansive beach or go bicycling or surfing with equipment rented from a shop nearby. If it’s not warm enough, you can always take advantage of the hotel’s indoor pool. The onsite restaurant, Peppercorns, serves seafood and sandwiches amid sweeping panoramas of the beach. Stop at the lounge to catch live music on Friday nights and karaoke on Saturday nights.
The Northern Beaches of the Outer Banks, North Carolina: Idyllic Beach Towns, Sand Dunes, and Wright Brothers Flight History
Dubbed the “East Coast’s recreational playground” by Frommer’s, the Outer Banks is a string of narrow barrier islands that hugs the northern coast of North Carolina. Vacationers have flocked to the islands’ postcard-worthy beaches and idyllic villages since the 18th century. The most northerly island in the Outer Banks, Bodie Island, is home to five such towns, known collectively as the Northern Beaches: Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head.
Head to Kill Devil Hills to see the Wright Brothers National Memorial Park, where a large granite boulder commemorates the spot where the world’s first powered flight took off, in 1903. The memorial also includes replicas of the brothers’ early gliders. Just outside the town of Nags Head lie some of the East Coast’s tallest natural sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Strong winds off the ocean constantly reshape the dunes and make the area a popular spot for hang-gliding and flying kites.
It’s worth it to make the drive south to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, nicknamed the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” for the many ships that have crashed into its dangerous sandbars during storms. Here, you can climb the 248 steps to the top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, whose iconic exterior is a swirl of black and white stripes. There’s also abundant wildlife along the seashore, including five species of sea turtles; female loggerhead sea turtles often nest on these beaches.