While the Outer Banks of North Carolina may be popular for its many outdoor activities, these barrier islands also boast plenty of exciting things to do on rainy days. From family-friendly arcades to upscale shopping centers and evening performances, the Outer Banks have something fun for everyone. After settling into your Outer Banks vacation rental, venture out to experience the area’s top attractions. Take a look at the wonderful indoor activities that the Outer Banks have to offer.

1. Go Shopping

If you love to shop, the Outer Banks has a seemingly endless number of wonderful shopping centers perfect for a day filled with treasure hunting, fine dining, and entertainment. Bargain hunters are sure to love browsing top designers, such as Ralph Lauren and Coach, at Tanger Outlets in Nags Head, or head to the Surfside Plaza in Kill Devil Hills to look for seaside souvenirs and feast on salt water taffy. The Hatteras Landing Shopping Center on Hatteras Island is one of the largest shopping centers in the area, with major department stores and specialty shops for jewelry, toys, novelties, and more. Take the, and let the kids pick out a kite at Kitty Hawk Kites for your next beach day. Then, head to Hatteras Sol Waterside Grill for a dinner of local fusion cuisine plus fresh seafood at its finest. Ask for a table with a view, and time your visit for sunset for a spectacular show.

2. Watch a Movie

When rainy weather makes it difficult to hit the beach, head to RC Theaters in Kill Devil Hills, and enjoy a movie or a double feature. With 10 modern theaters, a large arcade room, and a well-stocked concession stand, this movie theater is sure to keep your whole entertained for a few hours minimum. For a more historical experience, take in a movie at Pioneer Theatre in Manteo. Dating to 1934, this theater maintains its original character, and only shows -friendly offerings at an affordable price point.

3. Explore the North Carolina Aquarium

When it looks like the rain is going to last awhile, head to Manteo for a day at the North Carolina Aquarium. This Roanoke Island attraction offers a multitude of living exhibits featuring the marine life of the Outer Banks area with a focus on conservation. Gaze at an eastern diamondback rattlesnake in the Seven Rivers exhibit, watch frolicking otters and basking alligators in the Wild Wetlands, and be sure to stop in the STAR Center to learn more about the aquarium’s sea turtle conservation efforts. The aquarium does not allow you to bring in food, but a concession area is available for purchasing lunch or snacks.

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4. Play at the Funplex at Destination Fun

When it’s too wet for a round of golf outdoors, take your to the Funplex in Kill Devil Hills for a round of glowing mini-golf played under black lights. Then challenge each other to a little friendly competition in the laser tag arena, and enjoy some old-fashioned arcade games, including Ms. Pac-man and air hockey, in the game room. Destination Fun also offers virtual reality experiences and a bounce house with separate areas for toddlers and older kids.

5. Tour an Art Gallery

See the Outer Banks area through the eyes of local artists with a visit to downtown Manteo and the Dare County Arts Council Gallery. Then stroll through some of the smaller art galleries located along Manteo’s historic streets, including Strawhand Donna, Washed Ashore, and Yellowhouse Gallery. In Nags Head, take a trip through the Gallery Row Arts District located just north of Bonnett Street for a unique collection of art galleries and eclectic shops.

6. Go Bowling

Turn a rainy day into an opportunity for togetherness with a trip to OBX Bowling Center in Nags Head. OBX takes bowling to the next level with a fun interactive scoring system that you can tie into your social media accounts. The center also has an arcade and game room, and a full-service eatery on site. If you want a quieter bowling experience, OBX offers hours for seniors only, or if you love to party, check out their late night rock-and-bowl party times.

7. Dig Into History With a Trip to a Museum

With the many museums scattered through the Outer Banks, exploring the history, culture, and natural environment of the region, there is sure to be one near your vacation rental that whets your curiosity. See the remains of area shipwrecks at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras Village, or learn more about pirates at Teach’s Hole Blackbeard Exhibit and Pirate Specialty Shop on Ocracoke Island. The Wright Brothers Visitors Center and National Monument in Kill Devil Hills exhibits replicas of two Wright Brothers’ gliders, and the Wild Horse Museum in Corolla is the perfect place for a horse lover to spend a rainy afternoon.

8. Laugh Out Loud at a Comedy Show

Head to The Comedy Club for an evening of rollicking entertainment sure to make you forget the rainy weather outside. Three locations, in Kill Devil Hills, Avon, and Corolla, make it easy to take in a show regardless of the location of your vacation rental, and the entertainment is top notch. Come early, and enjoy a great dinner or a few cocktails before your show. For lighthearted theater in a casual setting, check out the show schedule at Theater of Dare in Manteo. If you prefer a touch of mystery alongside your comedy, the Ramada Plaza in Kill Devil Hills offers regular comedy mystery dinners that are suitable for all ages.

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