The simple elegance of the chain of barrier islands, known as North Carolina's Outer Banks, is in the grace and majesty of nature. Stretching approximately 130 miles long and surrounded by 900 miles of water, these fragile yet enduring islands, are home to some of the most pristine beaches and one of the largest estuary systems in the world. The islands that make up the Outer Banks are:
- Bodie Island, which is pronounced like body, is the northern most section of the Outer Banks was once an island, but today is actually a very long peninsula extending south from Virginia.
- Roanoke Island, which lies between Bodie Island and the mainland, is surrounded by the waters of the Albemarle, Roanoke and Croatan Sounds.
- Hatteras Island, at approximately 50 miles in length, is one of the longest islands in the United States. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore extends the length of the island with Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge located in the northern 12 or so miles.
- Ocracoke Island is the southern most island and is reachable only by boat or ferry.
This tour begins in the northern communities of Corolla and Duck. To get to the starting point, follow NC-12 north. From Corolla, the tour back-tracks south for a bit and then continues the length of the Outer Banks to Ocracoke, with a side trip to Roanoke Island along the way. Be sure to adhere to the 35 mph speed limit, which is enforced along NC-12. Outer Banks Driving Directions and Ferry Information