Outer Banks Scenic Byway

National Scenic BywayNorth Carolina

Top Photos

  • 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.

  • Sunset - Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

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

  • The Beach at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

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

  • Bodie Island Lighthouse

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

  • 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.

  • Snow Geese at Pea Island

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

  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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View all 38 photos for this byway.