Welcome to the Southern Atlantic Coast Highway!
Pack your sunscreen and grab your bathing suit, because it’s sunny skies and warmer temperatures as we make our way from North Carolina to Florida. Along with our Brazilian friends, we explored the sights, shops, restaurants and beaches of the Atlantic Coast Highway.
Our road trip started in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. After an hour and a half drive in from Virginia, our first stop was the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Inside, they have exact replicas of the 1902 Wright Glider, the third free-flight glider built by the brothers and one of the first to actually take flight. Just outside, there was also a bronze statue of their original motor plane—the first one to take off the ground like planes do today. Touring the Memorial, we felt like we were part of history. What the brothers accomplished changed the world forever!
When lunchtime rolled around, we made our way to Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill, a local favorite. This family-owned restaurant has been open for 10 years already, and they pride themselves on excellent service. Our wonderful host, Aaron, was living proof of that. We enjoyed some of their best seafood plates like the Pepper Seared Ahi Tuna and Shrimp Pad Thai. They were so good we were ready for seconds!
Happy after a wonderful lunch, we decided to take on the famous sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The park is considered the tallest natural sand dune system in the Eastern United States, and it’s a local favorite for watching amazing sunsets. We also learned that it’s a hot spot for hang gliding, sand boarding, and water sports like kayaking and windsurfing. With so much to do, we could’ve spent the entire day right there! But we had more exploring to do.
Just 10 minutes from Jockey’s Ridge, we found Jennette’s Pier, a great place to enjoy North Carolina’s oceanfront. All around us, locals and tourists were soaking up the sun, fishing and swimming in the warm ocean water. The pier even has its own fishing shop so customers can dive right into the action.
After enjoying the ocean breeze at the Pier, we made our way to the nearby Bodie Island Lighthouse. This recently restored lighthouse was originally built over a century ago, and it’s made out of 1 million bricks! We loved learning about its mysterious history: apparently the island is named after the bodies that would wash ashore due to the many shipwrecks around the dangerous waters. Spooky! We decided we had to get the full experience, so we climbed up its 219 steps and enjoyed the most amazing views of the area.
Our day ended with an unforgettable dinner, backstage tour, and show at The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama. The show, made possible by 200 actors, technicians, designers and volunteers, portrays dramatic reenactments of the country’s most historical moments. We saw everything from epic battles, Indian dances and the beauty of the Queen’s court. After the show ended, we took a backstage tour and were in awe at all the work that goes into the enormous production. It was great to see al those talented people come together to put on an award-winning show!
We were tired but excited when we checked into our hotel, the beautiful First Colony Inn. The vernacular architecture and colonial décor fit perfectly with the adventures we had earlier that day. Needless to say, our first day exploring the Southern Atlantic Coast Highway was an experience we’ll never forget. Can’t wait to share what tomorrow brings!