If you ever head south to check out Ocracoke Island, once you get off the ferry ride from the northeast, you will be driving down a quiet section of highway 12. About 1 or 2 miles down, pull off the road and walk over the dunes on the oceanside (your left as you drive). Most of the beach in this area is desolate and filled with incredible sea shells at low tide! You will be amazed at their size and numbers! We accidentally discovered this hidden secret of the Outer Banks just a couple years ago!
Metal Detecting and Treasure Hunting in the Outer Banks
Treasure hunters are everywhere on the Outer Banks of North Carolina! With all the ship wrecks and pirates tales it's no wonder that treasure hunters abound! Items of value can be found on the beaches by simple metal detecting. During the tourist season, it is best to detect in the early morning or evening hours. The off-season months are even better because the currents and surf are stronger and they expose more treasure to the seekers.
Be aware of the locations you choose to do your detecting. Most of the beach from Nags Head north to Virginia are available for metal detecting. Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island are off limits. The National Parks Service prohibits the use of metal detectors in all the National Parks in the Outer Banks.
View the Bankers
The Outer Banks is home to several groups of wild horses affectionately known as "the Bankers." These horses were brought to the Outer Banks by explorers and pirates. They are a smaller height horse but very muscular. They are similar to Spanish horses. You can observe the bankers at the northern end of Corolla and also at the National Park Service observation tower on Ocracoke Island.
But, beware - the Bankers are protected by local laws and a ferocious Sheriff who polices the 4-wheel drive beach above Corolla! It is illegal to come within 50 feet of the protected horses. They will fine you anywhere from $50 to $250 and they are fanatical about their mission. Even if the horses approach you on the beach, it is your responsibility to get away from them quickly. You were warned.
Martians Have Landed!
The Martians have landed! In the town of Hatteras you will pass a "Martian space craft" sitting quietly along side highway 12. It's complete with little green men and some spooky creatures peering out from the porthole windows. The sign on the property boasts of align space crafts for sale. I guess if you want a unique way to view the Outer Banks stop in and purchase your very own alien space craft!
In The Movies
There is a famous beach house on the Outer Banks. Have you seen "Nights in Rodanthe" starting Richard Gere? Parts of the movie were filmed on location in Rodanthe. The house used to be located south on highway 12 on your left when you first enter Rodanthe, but in January of 2010 the house was moved 1/2 mile south to Beacon Road to get it away from the surf. They added blue shutters and an extra porch or two to spruce it up for the movie, but it's still the same beach house.
Just for fun, see how many of the winged horse statues you can locate throughout the Outer Banks. These beautiful horses are from the Winged Horse Extravaganza in celebration of the 2003 Centennial of Flight. They can be found throughout the Outer Banks. Several websites on the internet are dedicated to the story of these horses. One helpful hint: they can also be found in front of rental properties, not just at places of business.