At this time of year, most kids are heading back to school, but not everyone! Did you know there are over 1.77 million students being home schooled in the U.S.? This trend has been increasing from year to year, and flexible schooling has become more popular for parents as well. If you think about it, homeschooling allows for more opportunity to travel, distance learning, visiting historical sights, and traveling to places with educational opportunities. The Outer Banks is not just a vacation spot, it also has many historically significant locations throughout the island that have tons of educational opportunities. And this is the perfect time of year- less traffic, no lines, and still beautiful warm weather! We’ve provided some locations that are home school itinerary friendly.
In need of a history lesson? The Fort Raleigh Historic Site is a perfect place for students to explore many subjects, from the history of the Last Colony, to how the location the area played in the Civil War. You can arrange for a Field Trip with the ranger-led program, or do a self-guided tour throughout the site. You can even become a Junior Ranger which requires you to attend a ranger program or watch the movie, and complete pages of the Roanoke Rangers Activity Book assigned to your age.
Wild Horse Tours
Did you know that there are over 100 wild horses that live freely in the Outer Banks? These horses were brought over from the Spanish of the West Indies. These Spanish mustangs cannot be traced back to a single breeder making them somewhat of a mystery in the Outer Banks. The history of these mustangs are told during the Wild Horse Adventure Tours who take you on the pristine northern beaches only accessible by off-road 4 x 4 vehicles. It’s an exciting educational for people of all ages!
The Lifesaving Station
Lifesaving Stations were constructed along the Atlantic shores to help rescue passengers and crews aboard shipwrecked vessels. As seen in the black and white photo above, Caffey’s Inlet was constructed in 1874 and decommissioned in the 1950’s, but lovingly restored as the Lifesaving Station. It is on the National Register of Historical Place and now houses historical memorabilia and nautical artifacts that add to the ambiance of the restaurant. You can stop here to learn more about an Outer Banks historical sight and grab a delicious bite to eat!
Elizabethan Gardens prides itself on having “something for everyone”. Whether you’re a nature lover, or a history buff, the gardens will fill your need! You can use your phone to access the audio tour, sit under the mossy oaks, explore the garden paths, visit the bronze Queen Elizabeth I statue, and learn more about the Virginia Dare statue. The gardens have almost endless opportunities for exploring and learning!
The Wright Brothers National Memorial
They taught the world to fly! The Wright brothers achieved their first successful airplane flight on December 17, 1903 and changed the world forever. Recently, local teachers were given the opportunity to create lesson plans at the Wright Brothers Memorial for use on field trips and in the classroom. The plans incorporate science, technology, engineering, math, language arts, and creative arts. These lesson plans allow students to dive in and discover the story of the Wright brothers and their success through hands-on experiments and creative activities. The exhibits reveal an intimate look at Orville and Wilbur Wright, along with their inspirations and setbacks in achieving flight.
Jockey’s Ridge State Park
Jockeys Ridge State Park is a major landmark in the Outer Banks and is an always beautiful and always changing sand dune- and the tallest on the East Coast! The rangers at the State Park regularly hold educational and interpretive programs about the park. For a special exploration for your homeschooling group, you can contact the park office. The State Park has developed a curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics, and Language Arts for grades 4-6 for North Carolina’s competency-based curriculum. On property, there is also an exhibit hall that explains the natural, historical, and cultural history of Jockey’s Ridge. Exhibits include:
- A diorama that depicts what happens at night when the park is closed and the wildlife comes out to takes over the dune.
- A computer program that allows visitors to see how the rising sea level created the Outer Banks and its dunes.
- A computer program that allows visitors to research the weather at Jockey’s Ridge.
- Several matching games that allow visitors to match tracks to the animals that created them, dune names to their locations across the country, dune shapes to the shape’s name, and leaf shapes to the corresponding plants.
- A display of fulgurites, the glass tubes formed when lightning strikes a dune.
For more information you can contact the Park office at (252) 441-7132.
Outer Banks Lighthouses
Lighthouses have saved many sailors lives as they’ve made their way to the North Carolina Coast. You can visit and climb many of these historic lighthouses including the Currituck, Bodie Island, and Hatteras lighthouse. From the top you may see miles of ocean, towns and marshes, and shoreline with panoramic views! Some of the lighthouses have museums or visitor centers nearby to learn more about a lighthouse’s history and significance in the area such as the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse in Manteo. We are lucky to have these unique landmarks in the Outer Banks and share the history of these significant landmarks!
Need help planning your home school trip here? No worries, we’ve put together a 3 day itinerary for your trip to the Outer Banks including educational opportunities that our wonderful island has to offer!
Morning: Head to Manteo! Enjoy a walk along the marina, stroll through the historical town, and view the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse and learn its importance for Roanoke Island.
Afternoon: Enjoy lunch at the Hungry Pelican! A local spot that has delicious sandwiches and food that is kid friendly. Pick up lunch and have a picnic in the Elizabethan Gardens under a huge shaded oak tree. Here you can explore the gardens, or join an informational tour to learn more about Roanoke Island! Only a short drive from the gardens is Fort Raleigh. Here you can mark off the park’s objectives and become a Junior Ranger!
Morning: Enjoy the day by beginning with a Wild Horse Adventure Tour! You’ll be taken in a customized open air truck all around the northern beaches and discover the history of the Spanish Mustangs. The kids won’t even realize how much they’re learning because of all the fun they will have!
Afternoon: If you’re planning on grabbing lunch, head to the Island Smoothie Cafe! Not only do they offer yummy smoothies, but they have some great lunch options such as salads, sandwiches, and wraps. After an action-packed morning, visit the Currituck Lighthouse. You can climb the 220 winding steps all the way to the top and witness the incredible views for yourself! You can also visit the museum shop to learn about the history.
Evening: After a day filled with learning, you can enjoy a dinner at the Lifesaving Station on property of the Sanderling Resort. It has so many appetizing options and of course delectable sweet treats! While you’re there, you can learn all about how the lifesaving station was once a working building by the Coast Guard constructed in 1874, and still has some original artifacts within the restaurants!
Breakfast: If you’re looking for a good local breakfast place, Henry’s Restaurant is a top choice! Henry’s has more than enough breakfast choices for people of all ages!
Morning: Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial and use the lesson plans to teach mathematics, history, technology and more! The kids are sure to enjoy this huge part of history!
Evening: Time to visit the sand dunes! Jockey’s Ridge State Park is a classic Outer Banks landmark that no visitor can miss out on. Its museum is full of history, computer programs, and dioramas that will add even more fun to the experience!
See PDF version attached below!