History on the Outer Banks ~ North Carolina

Wright Brothers Monument NC

Spring time in North Carolina and Jason had just returned from a work trip, and we were itching to get out of the house!  Camping sounded perfect, so we booked a cabin at the Cape Hatteras KOA on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the weekend.  I love the cabins we rent at the KOAs…perfect for a family with 3 kids.  There’s a small main room with a large bed, and an adjacent room with two sets of bunk beds.  This particular spot also had a dog park for our pup and some fun activities for the kids, including an enormous bounce pillow.  The adults had a bit of fun with that one too:)


The first day we ventured north to the town of Kill Devil Hills (by Kitty Hawk), where the site of the famous Wright Brothers first flight took place.  This was an especially significant stop for Jason, since he’s a pilot by trade and lifelong admirer of all things sky bound. About an hour drive through the windswept dunes of the outer banks and we arrived at the site.  The memorial itself is atop a Kill Devil Hill and overlooks the site where the actual flight took place.  It is large and stately and flanked by great informational plaques full of details about the theory of flight and the engineering problems the brothers had to overcome.

Kitty Hawk NC Monument

Wright Brothers Memorial NC

Down at the bottom of the hill is a park area that features a replica of the first plane at the moment of takeoff and the people that were present are all statues in the exact positions they had been in, based off of a photo taken of that historic day.  Kids are free to climb on the plane and explore it.  When I pointed out the old fashioned clothing from 100 years ago on the statues, Flynn stated “All the people died and then they froze into statues.”  A three year olds mind can be a scary place…

Wright Brothers Plane Kitty Hawk

Wright Brothers Kitty Hawk NC

Back at the front of the park, you can walk along the markers representing the takeoff and landing, and then enter a small museum that contains a replica of the plane and other interesting artifacts, portraits, and letters.  We caught the second half of a presentation inside and the kids were able to ask questions at the end.

Wright Brothers Museum

The next day, we headed down the coast in the other direction, to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  It’s one of 4 iconic lighthouses on the North Carolina coast, each with a different distinctive pattern painted on it in black and white.  This particular lighthouse is the biggest…it has the distinction of being the largest brick lighthouse in the world.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse NC

There are many posted rules about climbing the steep 257 steps (equivalent to a 12 story building) to the top, one of which is a minimum height restriction of 42 inches.  Flynn stretched his body on tippytoes and a few of his hairs grazed the height marker, so the staff graciously let him climb with us.  The winding spiral steps were not a physical challenge for fit children and adults, but for anyone with a fear of heights they are dizzying.

Climb Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

At the top, we emerged to a gorgeous view of the ocean and a friendly ranger took the time to explain to us the function of the lighthouse and how the ever changing coastline required the entire lighthouse to be moved from it’s original location a few years back.  He answered all of the kids’ questions as the strong wind blasted our faces.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse view

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

At the bottom of the lighthouse there is a museum.  I recommend skipping the museum video about the lighthouse, which includes a lady slowly climbing the stairs and awkwardly describing every landing and nook and cranny on the way up in the most dull possible way.  The sea artifacts and old photos in the other rooms are much more interesting!

Overall, a fun and educational weekend.  The Outer Banks region of North Carolina is very beautiful serene and I can see why so many people flock there every year:)


  • Els - Looks like a very interesting place to teach children some history! Especially if they can climb on stuff 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Claudia - Nice post! I really like the idea of climbing a lighthouse. I live on an island and as you can surely imagine we have several all around it, but I have never been in one 🙁ReplyCancel

  • Stacey Valle - That’s cool! I forgot that famous Wright Brothers first flight took place in North Carolina. It would be an interesting place to visit 🙂 It definitely sounds that you had a great weekend, and it’s good to go out with the family!ReplyCancel

  • Brianna - I love the Outer Banks, luckily for me its less than a 2 hour drive away!ReplyCancel

  • Milosz Zak - I really respect that monuments in the states are so well maintained. There are so many countries out there, and regions of the world where memorials to great people and accomplishments are allowed to be overtaken by nature, and decay with time – I’m talking about Eastern Europe/post-Soviet sphere especially.ReplyCancel

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