North Carolina's Outer Banks

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North Carolina's Outer Banks are a string of barrier islands that begin at the Virginia border and go south for 120 miles to Ocracoke Island.

The Outer Banks is home to many natural and historic attractions.  Wilbur and Orville Wright made the first successful flight in 1903. America's oldest outdoor drama, "The Lost Colony," brings to life the story of the first English settlement in America. We are home to five distinct lighthouses, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Whalehead in Historic Corolla, one of the three North Carolina Aquariums, the Roanoke Island Festival Park, the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education, four national wildlife refuges (Alligator River, Pea Island, Currituck, and Mackay Island), Jockey's Ridge State Park, Nags Head Woods Nature Preserve, and the wineries and farmlands of Currituck County.

Tourism is the number one industry of the Outer Banks. Over 5 million visitors vsit the area each year. Other industries such as building, real estate, boat building, commercial and recreational fishing compliment that industry. There are also a number of farms, vineyards and wineries in Currituck County. There are also a number of artists and writers who live and work in the area.

Dare County covers an area of 800 square miles, of which 391 square miles is land.  The elevation of Dare County is 11.3 feet.  Located in the northeast section of the state, it is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean; Pamlico, Croatan, and Albemarle Sounds; and Hyde andTyrrell Counties Dare County was formed in 1870 and is named in honor of Virginia Dare, the first child born of English parents in America. The County contains much of what is known as North Carolina's "Outer Banks" resort and vacation areas and contains approximately two-thirds of the North Carolina coastline.

Currituck County was established around 1668. It was one of the five original ports for North Carolina and one of the original counties. The Currituck County Courthouse and Jail are two of the oldest buildings in North Carolina. The original Courthouse was constructed in 1723. This building was replaced in 1842, was renovated and housed  the County's government offices until the new Governmental Center- North was completed in 1998. In 1776, the Colonial Legislature granted permission to build a jail in Currituck County. The Currituck County Jail is one of the five oldest jails in North Carolina.

The word "Currituck" in the Algonquian Indian language means "The Land of the Wild Goose." The abundant waters, marshes, and woods still available in the County enable Currituck to enjoy a national and international reputation as a "Sportsman's Paradise." One of the oldest hunt clubs in the County is the Currituck Shooting Club, organized in the 1850's. Another outstanding Currituck hunt club was the Whalehead Club. It was built in the 1920's by the wealthy industrialist Edward C. Knight at a cost $400,000 to construct.

Ocracoke Island is the southernmost village within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  The entire island is owned by the National Park Service, except for the village.  It is the most remote inhabited island of the Outer Banks and can be reached by ferry from Hatteras Village, Swan Quarter or Cedar Island. Ocracoke Island is 13 miles long, 2 miles wide and located in Hyde County.

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