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Outer Banks: Wild Horses Roam North Carolina's Gorgeous Barrier Islands

If you haven't watched the Netflix show, Outer Banks, you need to stop what you're doing and watch it immediately. Yes, it looks like another angsty teen drama, but it is seriously good. Not only is the show action-packed and unexpected, but it showcases the very real oceanfront stretch of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The string of barrier islands along the coast of North Carolina affectionately referred to as OBX has been popular with vacationers for years. We can only assume that — thanks to the show — they'll see a surge in tourism.


The Netflix series follows a group of teens who are looking for a treasure that was lost in a shipwreck years before. The lead character John B. is following in his father's footsteps. (His dad went missing searching for the treasure himself.) While there is a sense of adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat nearly the entire season, the show also highlights some class issues between the rich and poor residents on the island, making sure to note that the working class caters to the tourists who frequent the area. One thing that is definitively accurate in real life is the shipwreck aspect of the story. No, you read that right. Maybe there's no hidden treasure, but the area has earned itself the nickname "Graveyard of the Atlantic" with an estimated 3,000 sunken ships below the surface of its waters. 

Though its set in North Carolina, Outer Banks is actually filmed in Charleston, South Carolina.

Read More: Wilmington, North Carolina: The Charming Coastal Town Known as 'Hollywood East'

Outer Banks Attractions

There are multiple islands that make up the Outer Banks along the East Coast — Currituck Banks (includes parts of Virginia), Bodie Island (includes Duck, Nags Head, and Kitty Hawk) Roanoke Island, Hatteras Island, Ocracoke Island, Core Banks, and Bogue Banks. That's all spread across 200 miles. Though the show takes place in the fictional Kildare County, Dare County is the real easternmost string of beaches in North Carolina. The county was named after Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World. Even if you don't want to dive for buried treasure like the Netflix teens, there are plenty of activities that make the area worthy of a spot on your travel bucket list.


Though the Redfield Lighthouse visited by John B. and his friends is fictional, there really are multiple picturesque lighthouses around the islands to visit on your trip — Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Roanoake Marshes Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Ocracoke Island Lighthouse and Cape Lookout Lighthouse.  

In case you were wondering, Roanoke Island is the historic site where the lost colony of Roanoke disappeared in 1587. The island regularly puts on the play The Lost Colony to honor its former residents in one of the longest-running theater productions in the United States.

For those just looking for some fun in the sun, find a cozy vacation rental in the charming town of Manteo and enjoy a kayak or other water sports while making sure to fit in time on the beach.

For a good photo op, make sure to catch the wild horses that roam free along the beaches north of Corolla. If you visit, do not feed the horses as apples and carrots kill wild horses. (Earlier this year, a yearling colt died after being fed an apple.)

The Corrolla Wild Horse Fund is dedicated to protecting, conserving, and responsibly managing the herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs that roam the northernmost Currituck Outer Banks.

For the history buffs, the northern beaches of Kill Devil Hills are where the Wright Brothers earned their spot in the history books and took their very first flight. The Wright Brothers National Memorial marks the historic spot for you to commemorate on Instagram.

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