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Best Camping in the Outer Banks, North Carolina

The best places are never easy get to, but the 300 miles of long, skinny barrier islands that make up the Outer Banks (OBX, for short) are so worth the haul. Summertime finds the area bustling with activity, but those looking for quieter seaside excursions will find a more low-key scene come April or September. As to which town to choose, the sky’s the limit: the entire stretch is dotted with quaint coastal towns filled with award-winning restaurants, colorful local history and activities galore.

At Cape Lookout National Seashore, you can tour the lighthouse and spy wild horses; or take a quick paddle to Wrightsville Beach to Masonboro, an estuarine research reserve that’s undeveloped and accessible only by boat. On clear nights, you can catch stars and meteor showers amongst the comfort of fellow campers.

Those really looking to go off-grid should take the short ferry ride to Ocracoke, the southernmost island in the Outer Banks. Rent a bike for the day and wind down streets that lead to lighthouses and history at every bend. If you’re lucky, you may run into an Ocracoke native (O’Cocker, as they’re called) sporting the fast-disappearing Ocracoke brogue, an Elizabethan-inflected dialect with its own stash of words, like “buck” (male pal) and "dingbatter" (clueless tourist).

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