From the northernmost point on North Carolina’s 320-mile coast to the surf’s-up breaks of Cape Hatteras, the Outer Banks has captured imaginations for centuries. The destination is known for its unique history and attractions. Wild horses — descended from Spanish mustangs that arrived five centuries ago — roaming wild on the beaches near Corolla. The first Englishmen who wanted to settle in the New World. The winds and dunes that made Kill Devil Hills the perfect launching point for man’s first powered flight. And pirates, fishermen, lighthouses, lifesavers and shipwrecks that share a maritime story.
The area has a place in North Carolina beer history, too. Uli Bennewitz lobbied for a law to allow breweries to sell directly to the public, and with the opening of his Weeping Radish Brewery in 1986, North Carolina’s modern brewpub era began. Start your Outer Banks beer journey there in the mainland community of Grandy. Even with no beach in sight there’s plenty to see, starting with Digger’s Dungeon and its monster truck photo ops.
Across the Currituck Sound, Corolla has spectacles and experiences, including wild horse tours, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the Whalehead Club Historic House and Museum. Stop for suds at the Shack Coffee Shop & Beer Garden.
Further south, visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial, and at Jockeys Ridge State Park, home of the East Coast’s tallest dunes, take flight with a hang-gliding lesson. For your beer pleasure, Outer Banks Brewing Station at Kill Devil Hills, the nation’s first wind-powered brewery, has enticing food and beer menus. And in Kitty Hawk, Trio spotlights North Carolina craft beer as well as wine and cheese — with daily tastings.
On Roanoke Island, Full Moon Cafe & Grille with its on-premises brewery is the reigning beer stop. The walkable downtown is great for strolling, shopping and noting the connection to Elizabethan England and the mysterious “lost colony” of 1587.