Outer Banks Scenic Byway

National Scenic BywayNorth Carolina

All Photos (38)

  • Thorofare Marsh and Sky

    With a marsh extending nearly as far as the eye can see, the sky becomes an enormous canvas for the many moods of the weather. This photo, with its rolling blue, gray and white clouds and dead-level gold and green, captures the sense of big sky and vast lands experienced by visitors as they traverse the great marsh of Cedar Island.

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  • Chicomacomico Lightsaving Station

    Learn all about lifesaving at the Chicomacomico Lightsaving Station Museum

  • The Grounds of Roanoke Island Festival Park

    A flag flies over the landscaped grounds of the Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo.

  • Historic Homes of Nags Head

    Historic homes on the beach wait underneath a cloudy day in Nags Head on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

  • Chicomacomico Lightsaving Station Museum

    Lovely woodcarvings ornament the eaves of a building at the Chicomacomico Lightsaving Station Museum.

  • The Beach at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

    Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge has miles of deserted white sand beaches.

  • Sunset - Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

    A silhouetted osprey descends to a post at sunset on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Bodie Island Lighthouse

    The striking black-and-white Bodie (pronounced Body) Island Lighthouse stands at the north end of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

  • Snow Geese at Pea Island

    Snow Geese love to winter on the Outer Banks at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Leading up to Chicomacomico Lightsaving Station

    Learn about lifesaving on the Outer Banks at Chicamacomico.

  • A Satellite View of North Carolina's Outer Banks Scenic Byway Route

    North Carolina’s Outer Banks are a prominent barrier-island landform on the United States’ east coast. A vast green watershed, varied blues of the rivers, sounds and ocean and the white strip of sand edging the islands are the natural world that shapes the unique culture celebrated along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway.

  • Bodie Island Light Station and Visitor Center in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore

    An aerial view reveals the the Outer Banks Scenic Byway’s Bodie Island Light Station from the east. The lighthouse stands stoic with its horizontal black-and-white striped “daymark,” with the white Keepers Quarters and Oil House barely visible to the left. The Atlantic Ocean’s waves create a horizontal fringe of froth in the distance.

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  • Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site and Museum

    This “life-saving station,” with its decorative board-and-batten walls and elaborately styled eaves, clearly indicates European medieval inspirations for its designer, the architect Frances W. Chandler. It is the only one to survive unchanged of the first 23 built along the Atlantic coast in 1874. The boxy brown-shingled building to the left is an 1892 cookhouse.

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  • Hatteras Village Welcome Center

    The enormous second-story railed belvedere atop the shingled hip roof of the first story of this odd-looking building along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway was the observation tower and deck for the U.S. Weather Service in 1902. Now the Hatteras Welcome Center, it has been restored to its original appearance with bright yellow clapboards on the first floor and red painted shingles visible between the dark-green shutters of the second story’s many windows.

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  • Waterfowl Impoundments at the Heart of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

    Waterfowl impoundments, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, dominate this view of the Outer Banks Scenic Byway’s Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. East of this narrow strip of watery land are dunes and a froth of restless white Atlantic waves.

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  • Mile Markers on Bodie, Hatteras, and Ocracoke Islands

    Small green numbered markers unobtrusively placed every mile on Bodie, Hatteras, and Ocracoke Islands help keep travelers oriented and aware of distances along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway.

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  • Biking past Directional Sign in Cape Lookout National Seashore

    In Atlantic, a bicyclist pedals past a standard white-on-brown NPS directional sign which gives distances to three locations in the Cape Lookout National Seashore.

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  • Signage at Cedar Island

    This sign signals traveler’s arrival at Cedar Island along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway. A North Carolina scenic byway marker is on its left post and a green numbered marker for NC’s bicycling system is on its right post. In the photo, a stylish ground-level sign bids visitors to “The Crystal Coast” to “enjoy your visit.”

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  • Wayfinding Signs at Davis

    Along Outer Banks Scenic Byway, NC’s small green, blue, and white scenic byway marker is appended to the left post of a familiar brown National Park Service sign directing travelers to toll ferry locations. It is joined by the NC bicycle map marker on the right post and a separate, standard black-and-white U.S. route marker for US 70. All provide arrows guiding travelers at this key corner with its revitalized country store.

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  • Wayfinding Signs at Davis

    At a key turn, a thicket of wayfinding signs greets the eastbound traveler. A freestanding NC scenic byway sign, a NPS sign directing travelers to toll ferry concession locations, a separate, standard U.S. route marker for US 70 and NC’s picturesque ferry system logo direct travelers. The ferry sign provides both a toll-free number and a website address. Travelers seeking state routes “off the beaten path” in NC learn to spot the tiny four-digit numbers seen on the post below the US 70 sign.

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  • Portsmouth Village Methodist Church Steeple

    A blue sky with fluffy white clouds is pierced by the weathervane-topped, green-and-white shingle-and-clapboard steeple of Portsmouth’s 1914 Methodist Church.

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  • Heart of Hatteras Village

    A friendly front porch with a bench and rockers welcomes customers to the Burrus Red & White, which was established in 1866. A hefty row of three ice chests speaks of hot thirsty days.

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  • The Gambler out of Hatteras, NC, at Hatteras Inlet

    Heading homeward to Hatteras, this bright-red deep sea fishing vessel carries a friendly passenger waving to a passing ferry on the Outer Banks Scenic Byway.

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  • Ferry at Hatteras Inlet

    A large ferry crossing Hatteras Inlet carries a full summer load of travelers along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway. On the bow and upper deck, passengers enjoy the sunshine and the cooling breezes of Pamlico Sound.

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  • Harkers Island Fishermen and Harbor

    Young fishermen tie up in Harkers Island’s harbor along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway to deliver a load of fish to a waiting buyer. In the background the dark waters of the harbor reflect a line of white-painted small wooden skiffs.

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  • Herbert C. Bonner Bridge and Oregon Inlet

    The Outer Banks Scenic Byway’s Herbert C. Bonner Bridge emphasizes the horizon as it rises gracefully above Oregon Inlet in this portrait in silver, gray, white, and sandy gold. Waves mark the turbulence as the tidal outflow from the sound joins the Atlantic Ocean.

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  • Decoy Carving Demonstration

    Renowned decoy carver Roy Willis demonstrates his skill for elementary school students visiting the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center on Harkers Island along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway.

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  • Isabel's Path

    This aerial view of the Sandy Bay Soundside access and walkway gilded by morning light shows how narrow this point of Hatteras Island is.

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  • Albatross I Model

    This bright white and sea green model of the Hatteras deep-sea charter fishing vessel Albatross I, by Jimmy Amspacher, shows Harkers Island heritage with a rounded stern designed to keep nets from snagging.

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  • Pamlico Sound Sunset

    The sun sets in a splendid display of golden light and dark cloud seen to the west across the vast Pamlico Sound, one of the many visual pleasures of the Outer Banks Scenic Byway.

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  • Ocracoke Village's Howard Street

    Picket fence-lined Ocracoke’s Howard Street , just off the Outer Banks Scenic Byway, is a deeply shaded narrow lane paved only with crushed oyster shells.

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  • Taking Photos from the Cedar Island Ferry

    A summer visitor to the Outer Banks Scenic Byway engages in a favorite pastime on the ferry leaving Ocracoke’s Silver Lake, photographing the harbor and the enormous former U.S. Coast Guard Station, built in 1935.

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  • Ocracoke Museum Front Porch Talk with Earl O'Neal

    A summer crowd fills the deep front porch of the David Williams House to hear Earl O’Neal and his cousins, all three older residents of Ocracoke, tell stories of their lives on the island.

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  • Harkers Island Boats at Davis Harbor

    Wooden vessels in a harbor in Davis, painted in traditional white and rigged as trawlers, include the two large Harkers Island boats at right. Their low, flared hulls, designed to carve shallow waters, stand out against the straight hulls of the two larger boats at left.

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  • Cedar Island's Exhibit at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center

    Cedar Island’s exhibit at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center includes three colorful modern versions of a long-standing Down East quilting tradition as backdrops, with one, top left, using a nautical compass as its theme.

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  • Gift and Seafood Shop

    On Harkers Island along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway, hand-painted signs attract the visitor’s eye to Captain Blaine's Gift and Seafood Shop, offering fresh local seafood along with gifts, decorative buoys and driftwood.

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  • The Miss Vonnie, Cedar Island Harbor

    Fishing trawlers in Cedar Island’s harbor along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway include the Miss Vonnie with her rounded stern, indicating an early 20th-century style of wooden boat built along Core Sound and on Harkers Island.

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  • Directional Signs Outside the Village of Sea Level

    A row of directional signs greets the traveler just outside the village of Sea Level along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway. Signs on the photo include NC’s standard green directional sign, which signals the major turn just ahead, with Sea Level (the name is misspelled here as Sealevel) and Atlantic to the east, and a shortcut to Cedar Island to the left (north). The NC ferry system’s blue-and-white sign announces 12 more miles to the Cedar Island ferry. An attached handmade sign stating “restaurant,” is a hitch-hiker, designed to resemble NC’s local-level directional signs. The National Park Service’s standard sign points the way to a toll ferry ride to Portsmouth Island. NC’s green numbered marker for its bicycling system is attached.

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