A temperate climate and wide, open beaches attract tons of visitors to the Outer Banks, a 200-mile chain of pencil-thin barrier islands clinging to North Carolina’s coastline. But beyond its bountiful sand, the area is rich in American history. Roanoke Island was home to the infamous Virginia colony that mysteriously vanished without a trace in the 1580s. More than 300 years later, the Wright brothers took flight for the first time in Kill Devil Hills—not nearby Kitty Hawk, despite what's taught in fourth grade. And the tallest lighthouse in the United States still stands on Cape Hatteras. The Ramada Plaza Nags Head Beach is close to all of these. The oceanfront hotel offers central access to the region's best beaches as well as its numerous landmarks.
Relaxing days can be spent lounging on the property’s expansive beach, or in motion atop a bicycle or surfboard rented from a nearby shop. An indoor pool and in-room Nintendo consoles ensure fun on days when rainy weather or full-scale alien invasions make the outdoors inaccessible. The hotel's 171 guest rooms feature beach-inspired décor and offer striking views of the city, dunes, or ocean. Peppercorns, the onsite restaurant, serves up seafood, sandwiches, and sweeping panoramas of the beach. The restaurant’s lounge offers live music on Friday nights and karaoke on Saturdays.
The Outer Banks: Monuments and Natural Wonder
Atop the hill near Kitty Hawk where human-powered aviation was born, a 60-foot granite obelisk topped by a shining marine beacon commemorates the achievements of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Located just about a mile north of the Ramada Plaza, the Wright Brothers National Memorial includes wind-tunnel reproductions, replicas of the brothers' early gliders, memorabilia, and the pinch of Tinker Bell's pixie dust that made the flight possible.
A couple miles south of the hotel, some of the tallest natural sand dunes on the East Coast stand at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The mounds of constantly shifting sand would fill 6 million dump-truck beds. Combative winds from the northeast and southwest keep the dunes from blowing away. Further south, Cape Hatteras National Seashore has earned the nickname “Graveyard of the Atlantic” for the many ships that have wrecked during storms on its dangerous shoals. Wildlife, including nesting seas turtles, abounds, and the surfing is considered some of the best on the East Coast.