Facts & Fun Trivia about Outer Banks

Fun, random, interesting, sometimes useful and sometimes useless facts about the Outer Banks.

  • Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, flipped a coin to see who would first test the Wright Flyer on the sands of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Orville won the coin toss. Wilbur won the toss, but his first attempt on December 14 in 1903 was unsuccessful and caused some minor damage to the aircraft. 3 days later it was Orville’s turn and for 12 seconds, the aircraft left the ground before touching down 120 feet away in the soft sands.
  • It took only 6 months for Orville and Wilbur Wright to build a “flying machine” in 1903, costs were estimated at $1,000.00. 100 years later, it took several craftsmen over a year to construct a replica of the infamous 1903 aircraft, the cost were approximately $500,000.
  • Jockey’s Ridge State Park is home to the largest sand dunes on the East Coast.
  • Wild Ponies still run wild along the coast of North Carolina.
  • Duck is ranked as one of the “Top Beaches” in America by the Travel Channel.
  • Wild Ponies still run wild along the coast of North Carolina. These are the descendants of Spanish Mustangs which survived early shipwrecks. Historical research records the horses here as early as 1523. Today, with the increasing development in their habitat, they are under the pressure of encroachment of their range –particularly from vehicle traffic.

  • First Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was built in 1802 and lit in 1803. The current Cape Hatteras lighthouse is America’s tallest lighthouse at 198 feet high. It is also the worlds tallest brick lighthouse. The Cape Hatteras lighthouse. has 257 steps leading to the top. The beacon light can be seen for 20 miles out to sea It took 1.25 million bricks to build the tower and if you laid each brick down, one-by-one, they would extend from Corolla to Ocracoke Island – over 100 miles!
  • Nights in Rodanthe is a film starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane. Two strangers meet at an inn, each planning to deal with troubling circumstances in their lives. Sparks fly and a relationship begins that may open up new possibilities for both.
  • A 400 year old mystery haunts Roanoke Island. Here, 117 men, women, and children lived for a short time – then vanished without a trace, leaving historians with a mystery that has never been solved. What happen to those colonists? The Lost Colony is their story, told summer nights in a dazzling song, dance, and drama, beneath the stars at Waterside Theatre.
  • Cape Hatteras has been a deadly trap for sailors that have entered for past centuries. This stretch of shore is home to more than 600 shipwrecks off the shifting sandbars of the Hatteras Islands. More than 2,000 shipwrecks lie off North Carolina’s Outer Banks. A dangerous mix of storms, shoals, and strong currents earn the area the nickname “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”
  • Ocracoke Island is 16 miles miles and ranges from a half mile to 2 miles in width.
  • A 400 year old mystery haunts Roanoke Island. Here, 117 men, women, and children lived for a short time – then vanished without a trace, leaving historians with a mystery that has never been solved.
  • The Bodie Island Lighthouse has stood guard over Oregon Inlet since 1848, but it has a chequered past. The first light started tilting to one side so much that the light stopped flashing. The second light in the lighthouse was blown up by Confederate troops in 1861. The third one is the present one, and stands 150 feet tall and is still fully operational.
  • The most famous pirate of all, Edward Teach, alias Blackbeard, used to scour these waters looking for lightly armed merchants to rob. Many wouldn’t even put up a fight once they knew who he was. He used to put wicks laced with gunpowder in his huge black beard to make himself more fearsome. Blackbeard was powerful enough to blockade the whole town of Charleston, South Carolina for a whole week in May 1718. Seven months later, in November 1718, Blackbeard eventually died in a fierce battle at Ocracoke Inlet. His flagship, the ‘Queen Anne’s Revenge’ has only recently been found off the coast and is now being excavated. But his treasure, rumoured to be buried on Ocracoke Island, has never been recovered.
  • The cemetery on Ocracoke island is officially located on British soil. It contains the graves of British sailors washed ashore after the wreck of the HMS Bedfordshire during WW2.
  • One of the most popular questions visitors ask is the origin of the name Kill Devil Hills. There are many stories, but the most accepted seems to be that Kill Devil refers to a rum. In fact, one urban legend hints that pirates inadvertently named the town. A bottle of rum called “Kill Devil” was once also found washed up on the shore of Kill Devil Hills, but Kill Devil Hills is best known as the site of the first successful flight of the Wright Brothers.
  • The number of Outer Banks weddings has increased each year and nowadays more than 20,000 couples visit this area each year to trade their vows and begin their new life together.
Well Done! You’re ready for the best Outer Banks vacation ever!