Family Reunion Fun On The NC Coast
With fun and affordable activities like flying kites, building sand castles, hunting for seashells and swimming in the ocean, it’s easy to understand why so many family reunions are held on North Carolina’s coast. And when your family is ready to venture off the beach, we have got some great places for you to explore!
Corolla along the Currituck Outer Banks and Shackleford Banks on the Crystal Coast are home to wild horses that were first brought to our shores by explorers more than 400 years ago. Outer Banks Tours will take your family on an off-road journey to find these magnificent creatures. During this two hour eco-adventure you’ll hear local folklore and history while you travel over dunes and through hilly sand trails. Although the wild horses are the main attraction, you’ll also see a petrified forest, a giant sand dune and a century old lifesaving station and watch tower.
Located in Currituck Heritage Park, The Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education strives to provide information about coastal wildlife, natural history and cultural heritage. One of the main attractions is a massive aquarium which features fish native to the region. Their calendar is packed with children’s activities, so be sure to check out their website before you head over.
Twenty-five acre Seth West Parrott Park in New Bern is a great park to entertain children of all ages. Older kids will like the tennis courts, baseball fields and basketball court while younger kids will adore the unique Kidsville Playground. This wooden playground has mazes, walkways, balance beams, trampoline bridges, a fire pole, slides, a train, a ship and much more. If you want to show your children the simple pleasure of sun, sand, sky and sea, Swansboro’s Hammocks Beach State Park cannot be missed. Your child’s favorite part of the visit might be the trip over; the beach is only accessible by passenger ferry or private boat. When you arrive, cast a baited hook into the surf, explore tidal pools or simply relax and soak up the serene landscape. For those who like adventure, spend the night and camp among the sand dunes.
Island Ferry Adventures in Beaufort offers a variety of guided tours including a dolphin tour. The whole family will cherish the opportunity to watch Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins swim, jump and play. During the tour you might also see pelicans, blue heron, egrets and osprey.
The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA was in active service from 1941 to 1947 and participated in every major navel offensive in the Pacific. Today it is anchored in Wilmington and stars in movies and television shows. Visitors are encouraged to thoroughly explore its crew’s quarters, guns, turrets, engine room and more.
With lots of options for both big and little kids and activities going on inside and outside, Wilmington’s Jungle Rapids is made to entertain the entire family. Older kids will like racing go-karts, playing laser tag and tackling the climbing wall while younger kids will love the large indoor playground. Everyone can enjoy playing miniature golf and cooling off in the water park.
At the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, a freshwater habitat displays snakes, frogs, catfish, carnivorous plants and even an Albino alligator. A touch pool lets kids get personal with stingrays, sea urchins, hermit crabs and seahorses. A replica of an offshore reef is home to sharks, eels and more. Outside, trails and gardens offer more to explore. Don’t miss the Fossil Pit where kids can sift through sand in search of shark’s teeth.
The North Carolina coast is home to three aquariums with locations on the Northern, Crystal and Southern coast. North of Fort Fisher is the Pine Knoll Shore aquarium, which has replicas of a shipwrecked World War II U-boat and Blackbeard’s pirate ship. Live animal encounters at the northern coast’s Roanoke Island location lets your kids interact with alligators, sea turtles, snakes and more.
added: March 26, 2010
updated: April 24, 2013