The Outer Banks are a long series of barrier islands separating mainland North Carolina from the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean. The transportation backbone along the Outer Banks is an 80 or 90 mile stretch of Route 12 from Kitty Hawk to Hatteras.

To the north is Kitty Hawk and Nags Head, a commercial zone full of gift shops, mini-golfs, kitschy restaurants, and time share travel resorts, but also the site of the Wright Brothers National Memorial at the site of the world's first motorized airplane flight and home of the impressive sand dunes at Jockey's Ridge State Park where they even have a hang gliding school.

To the south, across the long Oregon Inlet Bridge and past the scores of fisherman hanging off the catwalks, is Pea Island National Seashore, a near pristine region of beach that's worth the drive for open space and clean sand. Further along... much further along is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and for a small fee its definitely worth the 10 minute walk up the winding spiral staircase to the viewing deck. From the lighthouse deck you have a fantastic view of the elbow-like change in direction as the beach pivots almost 45 degrees at Cape Hatteras. At the southern tip is the Ships Graveyard Museum and the ferry to the next island, Ocracoke Island which is accessible only by ferry as there are no bridges to get there. At Hatteras and many other points along the OBX, you can four wheel it to the beach for free, provided you can manage it. This was my first time 4-Wheeling with the Ram out on the beach, and I thought we handled it fairly well once I got over the jitters of possibly getting stuck out there.

So go to it, and enjoy the photos!