Of all the successful businesses on the Outer Banks, Kitty Hawk Kites is the one that has made the most of the barrier islands’ outdoor recreational assets. Founded in 1974 by two young men who opened a small store across from Jockey’s Ridge, the East Coast’s tallest sand dune, Kitty Hawk Kites singlehandedly created a new identity for the Outer Banks as one of the premier hang-gliding locations in the world. The business partners started out selling a few hang gliders, T-shirts and kites, in addition to teaching hang-gliding for $10 for a three-hour lesson. Today, Kitty Hawk Kites is not only the world’s largest hang gliding school, it also encompasses nine stores on the Outer Banks and two in Florida, and teaches tandem gliding, surfing, kiteboarding, paddleboarding and wakeboarding. Kayak, dolphin and air tours are also offered at various locations around the Outer Banks, not to mention wall climbing, parasailing, jet skis, water skiing, and Segway tours. The original location in Nags Head is now an enormous store with multiple rooms, each filled with an array of dazzling choices. In addition to outdoor clothing and shoes, the store sells an amazing number and variety of items geared toward outdoor recreation: kayaks, creative toys, camping gear. The impressive kite selection is reason enough to visit the store, especially with the superior flying at Jockey’s Ridge across the road (there’s a traffic light there to protect pedestrians). Flight devotees will enjoy the Flight Room, which honors the Wright brothers ---who in 1903 flew the first manned flight at Kitty Hawk --- and other aviation pioneers, and is chock-full of cool flight-related items and memorabilia.

Nags Head
  • Monday8:00am-10:30pm
  • Tuesday8:00am-10:30pm
  • Wednesday8:00am-10:30pm
  • Thursday8:00am-10:30pm
  • Friday8:00am-10:30pm
  • Saturday8:00am-10:30pm
  • Sunday8:00am-10:30pm
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

More than 2,000 shipwrecks sunk off the Coast of North Carolina in what’s called the Graveyard of the Atlantic. With all that history floating around, it was only natural to build a museum to honor and preserve the maritime culture of the Outer Banks. A state-of-the-art structure, the year round museum houses and displays artifacts, and presents a variety of exhibits and interprets the rich maritime culture that includes war, piracy, ghost ships and more. Artifacts include thoseex from the USS Monitor, which sank 16 miles off the Hatteras coast. The lobby features the stunning and original, 1854, First Order Lens from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Current hibits include those on piracy and the Civil War on Hatteras Island.