Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina is really a unique and interesting site to check out when visiting the Outer Banks. The original pier was built in 1939 and had to be rebuilt in 2011 after a hurricane. The 1000 feet long concrete fishing pier offers numerous informative signs talking about the rich history of the pier and fishing in the Outer Banks.
Inside the building at the pier there are a couple of tanks with fish on display and information about them. A walk on the pier is only $2 for adults and $1 for children (free to North Carolina Aquarium members with card). Even if you’re not interested in visiting the pier to fish it is worth it for the views. The pier also, has a North Carolina Aquarium gift shop with some items themed for Jennette’s Pier. I personally love their vintage pier post cards.
Fishing from the pier is $14 for adults and $7 for children and includes a one day admission. Other options are available for multiple days and annual passes. A NC fishing license isn’t required in addition to this fee to fish from the pier as the fee covers a person for the paid period (on the pier only). Information on different types of fish that can be caught as well as citation information can be obtained from the visitor’s desk.
One of the coolest features of this North Carolina Aquarium location is the public beach access and free parking! Jennette’s Pier Piet also, offers Summer Camps and learning experiences for schools (including free programs for Title 1 schools) and children. In addition the pier has is a beautiful rentable venue for events, special occasions and weddings. Jennette’s Pier is definitely a place you’ll want to visit on your next trip to the OBX.
Do your part to help save the ocean! 🦈🦦🐬🐳🐠🐢
I appreciate that the North Carolina aquariums contribute a lot of their resources to conservation and research. Plastic is causing many issues for ocean life. We can all do our part to reduce, recycle and reuse! Considering buying a reusable straw or skipping one all together. Each little part can add up to something big. I personally carry one of these straws on my wallet and use it almost everyday.
Save a sea turtle….say NO to plastic straws❤️🐢
I want to do what I can to protect the ocean for generations to come. Saying no to plastic straws has become a personal motto of mine. I’ve seen first hand how many pieces of trash and plastic wash up on our beaches and float in the water. I’m always picking up trash on the beach and wish people would be more mindful. Please do your part to keep our oceans clean and our animals healthy.
If you’re interested in more information about the OuterBanks check out my article Camping on the OBXwhich includes a lot of interesting area information as well as information on the Oregon Inlet Campground and Visit a North Carolina Aquariumwhich includes a full listing of all the North Carolina Aquarium sites.
The Oconaluftee River in Cherokee is a beautiful area to visit and if you’re ever near the Smokies I suggest checking it out🏔The Oconaluftee area and trails have plenty of places to float/raft, fish and play. The river here is a place many families gather, especially the Oconoluftee Island Park. In the evenings or on the weekends many people can be seen playing in the water and enjoying family time together.
When I visit family we like to go to Oconaluftee Island and listen to stories from elders over a bonfire. Fun fact: Cherokee don’t have typical powwow type dances like you may have seen from other tribes or on tv, but instead hold stomps. Bonfire times and other special events can be found on the Visit Cherokee website.
Museum of the Cherokee
If you’re looking to see Native American artifacts and learn more about the history of the Cherokee tribe I highly suggest checking out the Museum of the Cherokee. The layout of the museum is great and the exhibits are very interactive. The collection of Native American artifacts is impressive. The museum is also, within walking distance to many shops and food options.
Indian Village-Cherokee, North Carolina
If you’re looking to see the heart of the Cherokee people I would also, suggest visiting the Indian village. The village isn’t far up the mountain from the museum and has tours daily with Native American guides that explain the culture, history and way of life. The village also, has a walking trail and gardens to explore.
Combined tickets can be purchased that include multiple attractions such as the Unto these Hills drama. The theatrical interpretation of the journey of the Cherokee people is a must see. The internal flame in front of the theater is worth a walk down to the theater and I highly recommend getting tickets to watch the performance.
Visiting the Great Smoky Mountain’s National Park
If you’re into hiking Cherokee has many beautiful trails. The Great Smoky Mountain’s National Park is also, a close drive from Cherokee and offers a plethora of trails and photo opportunities. Hiking part of the Appalachian trail is an unbeatable experience.
Things to do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
As you drive from Cherokee, Nc to the Great Smoky Mountain’s National Park you will also, be close to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. From where I was staying in Cherokee it was only 37 miles to Gatlinburg. If you’re not familiar this area along with Pigeon Forge is a known tourist hotspot. It is a vacation destination in itself and has everything you can imagine in terms of entertainment, restaurants and shopping. During this trip I didn’t spend much time in Gatlinburg, but I have been there before several times with family.
Skylift Park-Gatlinburg, Tennessee
One evening of the trip was dedicated to Gatlinburg. While there I wanted to revisit one of my favorite attractions and ride on the Skylift . This ride is a Gatlinburg icon and I remember riding on it as a child. I was excited to be able to finally check out the new partial glass bridge this trip as well. Tip:The Skylift Park allows multiple visits in a day with paid admission and it is the perfect spot to catch the sunset.
While at the Skylift park a storm came up and we stayed put there for a couple of hours. There is a gift shop, concession style restaurant and bar on top of the mountain. Along with the beautiful views there are plenty of chairs to sit and areas to capture the perfect photos. We decided to enjoy lunch there too and had pizza and beer with the mountain views. The concession area had fresh food and the bar staff were very friendly.
Sugarlands Distillery- Gatlinburg, Tennessee
One of the other activities I decided to do while in Gatlinburg was to visit Sugarlands. I enjoy a good drink and had heard so many positive things about this distillery. I am not a stranger to moonshine and grew up with a family that proudly made their own shine.
Watching programs like Moonshiners on the History channel peaked my interests in this topic as an adult. I was excited to be in Gatlinburg and to finally get to checkout Sugarlands for myself. Tasting tours are available for $5 and I tried 12 tiny samples of different varieties of their moonshine, plus a cream liqueur. Honestly it was all amazing!
Sugarlands also, has a huge gift shop and after our tasting we purchased several types of shine to take home. The $5 tasting fee is knocked off a shine purchase too which was nice. There were several deals for a percent off certain items and a free item after 5 when we visited. We also, enjoyed some fun cocktails and live music in their bar behind the gift shop. Sugarlands was really a great way to spend our evening in Gatlinburg and a fun way to experience something different.
There is so much to do and see in this area of the Smoky Mountains from Cherokee, Maggie Valley, Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge anyone could make a multi week vacation out of it. There is something to appeal to everyone in the family too from history, water activities, food/drink and the outdoor lifestyle. I know I can’t wait to plan another trip back to the area.
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The Outer Banks of North Carolina has had a piece of my heart since I was a girl. As soon as I had my driver’s permit I couldn’t wait to take my suv to the beach and drive on the sand. Many weekends growing up I spent fishing and laying in the sun on Oregon Inlet. As an adult I’ve stayed in too many Outer Banks hotels and rentals to count. I feel like the OBX is a part of me.
For me being able to camp on the Outer Banks is literally a dream come true. For those of you interested in camping on the OBX there are many camping choices. I am new to rving having just remodeled an almost 30 year old Sunline Saturn I’ve named the Lilly Pad. This trip to Oregon Inlet Campground was our madden trip and the campground featured can be booked on recreation.gov . The online booking process was very easy as was the checkin and out at the location.
Oregon Inlet Campground 101
Oregon Inlet Campground is compromised of three sections. Section A is solely for tent camping and B/C allows for tents and RV’s (some offering electric and water hook ups). Generators are also, allowed to be used from 7am-10pm in B/C. The campground is across the street from the Oregon Inlet fishing area which has a dump station, fresh water hook up for getting your potable water and a small store for necessities.
You can also, often buy fresh fish in the area or drive a few miles North to Sugar Shack Fish Market Oyster Bar and Grill for them. Sweet NC shrimp purchased fresh from the Sugar Shack Fish Market are hard to beat in the OBX! Cooking up fresh, local seafood makes a wonderful addition to any beach camping experience.
This campground is well maintained, has a ranger station and onsite host volunteers. The best part is the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean is right over the dunes of the camping area. A quick walk from the campground and you can swim in the cool green water of the island or catch your dinner. You can also, get an off road vehicle permit and drive your 4×4 vehicle on the beach and park at your chosen beach spot while visiting the OBX.
Things to do in the Outer Banks, North Carolina
The towns of Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills are a quick drive North and have many grocery stores and restaurants to choose from as well as plenty of shopping. The Bodie Lighthouse is also, a few miles up the street from the OI campground as well as one of my favorite NC beaches Coquina beach. A further drive North for a day trip and one can visit the quaint town of Duck, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse or even go see the wild horses of Corolla on a horse adventure or hop on an atv and ride the dunes.
If you’re looking to explore I highly suggest booking a flight over the islands through OBX Air Planes. You’ll definitely get a better appreciation for how the beautiful outer banks is laid out and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to see a few shipwrecks and maybe even some dolphins. There is just something extra special about flying over the Wright Brother’s memorial area knowing it is the site of the birth of flight itself!
If flying isn’t your thing you can also, choose to drive to the Wright Brother’s Memorial and walk the grounds on foot or consider a visit the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island to see some cool ocean life by foot too and a ship wreck. An immersed model of the the SS Monitor is in one of their exhibits. Roanoke Island is also, home to many restaurants and shops.
If you’re a nature lover definitely visit the beautiful Elizabethan Gardens on the picturesque sound of Roanoke Island. There is plenty for the history buffs too like seeing the wonderful outdoor drama the Lost Colony , visiting Festival Park to see a replica Elizabeth II ship and historical artifacts from the area.
If you’re into fishing you can book a fishing charter right out of Oregon Inlet across from the campground! Not that you will, but if you get tired of the beach and like water fun you can drive north to check out the new H2OBX water park too while you’re in town. H2OBX has plenty to offer for the whole family from a huge lazy river, water rides the whole family can fit on, single and double tubing rides, delicious food and fun apparel shopping. Spending a day at H2OBX definitely is a great addition to any trip to the beach.
From wild horses, the birth of flight, fresh seafood and breathtaking beaches the the area surrounding the Oregon Inlet Campground doesn’t disappoint. Camping among the dunes and opening the windows to hear the ocean were a big perk of this campground and a highlight to this adventure for me. I would highly recommend a trip to the OBX!
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