Raleigh locals welcome the 2013 Best Family Beach honor as the Outer Banks rank topples Hawaii's Maui (#2) and a local all time favorite sister state vacation spot - South Carolina's Myrtle Beach (#4). #3 was San Diego. US News just gave locals another reason to plan their beach vacation early this year.
Raleigh locals are known to travel pass Rodanthe, Salvo, Avon, Frisco, and Buxton. Even if the entire adventure had one goal - to catch the Cape Hatteras ferry with bike riding, sea loving, beach going, shell collecting passengers heading to Ocracoke or Cedar Island. On a fixed schedule, the ferry (all of) transports to and from.
Locals know better than to take their time driving to the Swan Quarter ferry that departs to Cape Hatteras. The long drive that comes after missing the ferry is more inconvenient than most first timers know thanks to a lack of convenient stores. But once you've reached society, and salty air, it all comes together nicely.
The Outer Banks journey includes Kitty Hawk. A place known for creative kites, Orville and Wilbur Wright historical plane success, and other fun facts. Other points of interest along the Outer Banks includes Jockey's Ridge. Locals tend to find themselves inside of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Adult visitors of the Lighthouse can climb for $7, $3.50 is the cost to (62 years and older) elderly visitors and $3.50 for kids (42" or less) under 11. Passes where available. Visit NPS Gov for more Cape Hatteras Lighthouse updated beach regulations and rules. Note, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is not open year round. Winter months remain closed to the public.
Warning; Climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse may cause dizziness due to height. Locals tend to recall that from time to time, including myself.
Raleigh locals usually make time for the Cape Hatteras Village, a small port of shops with unique beach related items. But there's another thing locals can teach newbies traveling to Cape Hatteras. And this is golden. There is a grocery store, a drug store, convenient stores, and other buildings of use tucked along the main road in Cape Hatteras and neighboring areas.
Tip: Check the date on maps purchased for road existence.
Locals also know of the low key hidden treasure deep inside the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Blackbeard is a part of North Carolina's history. The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, located along the southern tip, can spark that interest.
The Museum spotlights the years between 1524 to 1945. An interesting educational taste of North Carolina maritime history involving victim ships, deadly seas, piracy, battles between man and rigid sea floor under rough current with breaks. The summer schedule has not been released. To view the calender visit The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. Open 10 am until 4 pm weekly. Closed Saturday, Sunday, state holidays and select dates.
Tip: When visiting Outer Banks landmarks and museums, remember to leave early! There may be a longer line this year.
For more visit Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.
Raleigh locals, do you risk long lines of out-of-state visitors? They can take away the convenience of short lines for the Lighthouse, all the Dr. Pepper from the outdoor vending machine, your favorite beach location, but they can't take away your sunscreen. So don't forget to be prepared and wait for it, wait for it.
Okay, not worth the emotional risk when it comes to fears of a merchandise shortage? Stay home this summer. Raleigh is not a lost summer cause. With outdoor concerts and weekend events in Downtown Raleigh, and surrounding areas, locals should be thoroughly entertained.
All in all, no one can deny the Banks of a fair shot in being noticed as a coastal treasure once again, traffic or no traffic. Chances are, the Outer Banks will be busy but worth this #1 spot. Bank on it! Retailers will.
US News has more. Also ranked? Cape Cod #7, Virginia Beach #8, Fort Lauderdale #10.
US News, "Best Family Vacation Spots", http://travel.usnews.com/Rankings/Best_Family_Beach_Vacations_in_the_USA/; Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, http://www.graveyardoftheatlantic.com/; NPS Gov, http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/climbing-the-cape-hatteras-lightho...