The Outer Banks are a series of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. On the northern Outer Banks lies Brindley Beach in Corolla. On one side of the island is the Atlantic Ocean, and the other Currituck Bay, with the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge to the north. Staying at a Brindley Beach vacation rental gives you easy access to these beloved attractions. Reconnect with nature while hiking through the preserves or building a sandcastle with your family. Here are some of the top kid-friendly activities to consider while you’re visiting Brindley Beach.

1. Visit Currituck National Wildlife Refuge

The 8,000-acre Currituck National Wildlife Refuge offers wildlife viewing, fishing, and hunting. Drop a line, relax, and spend an afternoon reconnecting with nature and your family. You can fish from the water or the shore, just make sure to have a North Carolina fishing license. Many varieties of animals make their home in the refuge, from deer to the endangered piping plover bird. Stop by the beach, and keep an eye out for loggerhead turtles. This endangered reptile nests along the beaches of North and South Carolina.

2. Climb Currituck Beach Lighthouse

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse was built in 1875 and has been in use ever since. At 162 feet high, it gives a great view of the surrounding area, including the restored ground and keeper’s cottage. Climb the 220 steps to the top of the lighthouse with the kids, and admire the giant lens as well as the view. Stop at the museum shop for a souvenir of your experience (or candy for the kids). The lighthouse also sponsors several events, from educational series to holiday tours.

3. Go to the Beach

Brindley Beach boasts the perfect mix of beachside vacation rentals and public access to the beaches so that regardless of where you stay, you can spend hours swimming and sunning. Bring a kite and your sandcastle-making supplies for some fun in the sand, or go beachcombing with your kids. They can pick up interesting shells and rocks or view the marine life. Ghost crabs, coquina clams, and sand daggers all make their homes in the shifting tides and sand of the beaches.

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4. Play Watersports

Rent some stand-up paddleboards and float through the Atlantic Ocean or the Currituck Sound, or kayak your way through the water. Some kayak rental services even offer tour and cruises. Dune hang gliding (available at Kitty Hawk Kites), windsurfing, skimboarding, and kiteboarding offer other adventurous options. Pick up everything you need at a variety of rental services, such as North Beach Watersports and Real Watersports. Most services also offer lessons before sending you on your way.

5. See the Wild Horses

Corolla is home to the Corolla wild horses, which descended from Spanish mustangs and are now protected. Visit the Corolla Wild Horse Museum for more history. Take your kids to see the wild horses up close on a tour with Back Country Wild Horse Safari, Bob’s Wild Horse Tours, or the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. The latter has a range of public or private tours that include time with a wild horse specialist. With Back Beach Wild Horse Tours, you not only get to view the animals in the wild, but you also get to see other wild animals, such as seals and dolphins.

6. Visit Whalehead

Incorporate a touch of education into your vacation by stopping at Whalehead and Historic Corolla. Whalehead, a historic mansion built in the 1920s, lies on 39 acres of land surrounded by the Currituck Sound. Tour the house, which is rumored to be haunted. Walk the large, sloping lawns, or go for a stroll along the shore.

7. Visit Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education

While you’re visiting Whalehead, stop next door at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education. The 22,000-square-foot area teaches kids about the history and wildlife of the area through displays that include the 8,000-gallon aquarium of ephemera fish that lived in the area long before people did. After you’re done inside, take one of the boardwalks through the coastal estuary for a firsthand view of what you just learned.

8. Take a Day Trip to Knotts Island

Take the ferry over to Knotts Island, and explore the local culture. With a wildlife refuge, horse stables, and streams, the island offers plenty of access to the outdoors. You can hike through the Great Marsh Trail or up to the Charles Kuralt Outlook for a great view of the area. There’s plenty of local wildlife to view, including the house finch and non-poisonous water snakes. Pick some fruit at Martin Farms Orchard, or go horseback riding. Before heading back to your Brindley Beach vacation rental, enjoy some food at Pearl’s Bay Villa Restaurant.

9. Visit the Children at Play Museum

Head down the island to the Outer Banks Children at Play Museum. This museum features hands-on exhibits where kids can learn and have fun. The Carolina Flare exhibit combines fishing with history, letting kids learn how the fishing industry has served the area for centuries. At the OBX Grocery Store exhibit, children learn about a healthy diet and the intricacies of human interaction. At the Outer Banks Teddy Bear Hospital, kids get to patch the boo-boos on stuffed animals and explore a possible career in medicine.

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