Things Outer Banks Locals Wished Visitors Knew: Part II

By Hannah Lee Leidy

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog on 10 Things Outer Banks Locals Wished Visitors Knew. Readers chimed in, and, let me say, y’all have great advice. It’s infused by different experiences, passions and, yes, occasionally pet peeves too. These insightful comments resonated so strongly with me that I wanted to write a follow-up blog to share them: 6 More Things Outer Banks Locals Wished Visitors Knew … from other locals!

The Outer Banks Environment

Wild horses are wild. Are these creatures pets? No. Are they the same horses you find in a stable? Again, no. They should be treated like any undomesticated animal in the wild. Don’t approach them. Even if they come to you first, do your best to give them their space (at least 50 feet at all times). More importantly, though, don’t feed them. The Corolla wild horses’ singular diet includes only the local vegetation. Many in the herd died in past years from people feeding them – even foods that domestic horses love. Keep this in mind and be conscious of how you dispose of your trash. Food waste carelessly left outside can be deadly to a horse. Check out the Corolla Wild Horse Fund to learn more about protecting these beautiful creatures.

Waste not. Speaking of not leaving out food waste, it’s a good practice in general to properly dispose of all waste so that you protect the Outer Banks delicate ecosystem. Balloons, plastic bags, plastic wrap, snack wrappers and even small things like cigarette butts and plastic straws threaten land and marine creatures and plant life. Maybe it’s a pain to keep up with all of your trash during a carefree beach day, but it’s worth it if you save an unsuspecting (and endangered) sea turtle from mistaking your forgotten plastic bag for food.

Watch where you park. When cruising down Highway 12, be careful if you pull off the road and into the sand. Cars get stuck and can even sink into the sand, especially in the more remote areas like Pea Island. Let me tell you, as someone who’s attempted to unearth a bus trapped in sand on the side of the road, it’s a position you don’t want to be in.

Outer Banks Social Qs

Strength in numbers? It does not apply at the grocery store. Avoid shopping in a large group as it clogs the aisles, checkout lanes, etc. This makes shopping hard for everyone: It’s less efficient for you as everyone in your group likely has different opinions about what to get. And listening to your debate about crackers versus pretzels blocks someone from grabbing that bag of chips in front of you. Make a list and send one person. That way you have more room in your car for all the shopping bags.

Sunscreen is your friend. Nothing screams rookie like showing up to dinner looking like a lobster after a day the beach. Use sunscreen and use frequently. Contrary to what you believe, it won’t stop you from tanning – just burning. That said, don’t be that person who applies spray-on sunscreen inside. Nothing disrupts my morning coffee like the mingling taste of Coppertone. Also with spray sunscreen, remember to face the wind when applying – and check behind you to make sure no one is going to be the recipient of your overspray.

You’re on island time. If you haven’t noticed, things are a little looser on the Outer Banks. This includes pace of life and schedules. We all have places we’re going and things to do, but locals won’t appreciate it if you speed-demon past them on the Bypass or rush their conversation with a cashier at the store. Don’t be surprised if the Ocracoke ferry isn’t running on-schedule or if the table isn’t quite ready at your exact reservation time. Breathe. It’s coming. There aren’t a lot of places where you aren’t bound to the clock, so enjoy it while you can.


Got more comments, suggestions or other feedback? Share them with us, below or on Facebook. We love the Outer Banks, and we love sharing it with visitors. By working together we can create the best Outer Banks experience for everyone, every day of the year. And don’t forget to check out our Daytime Events and Nightlife listings for all the local happenings to enjoy during your time here.

About the Author Hannah Lee Leidy
Hannah Lee is a fiction and creative nonfiction writer living on the Outer Banks. She graduated from Kenyon College in Ohio with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Traveling is her passion, but nowhere ever feels as much like home as the Outer Banks. When not planning her next trip or adventure, Hannah Lee loves aimless drives down the Beach Road, spending copious amounts of time in coffee shops and reading every short story collection she gets her hands on.