Sand dunes and water sports along windswept barrier islands.

By Travel & Leisure
February 18, 2014
Flying in Kitty Hawk, NC
Credit: Courtesy of Sanderling Resort

The windswept landscapes of Kitty Hawk, NC, inspired the Wright brothers to take flight in the first controlled powered airplane flights in 1903. Visit Kill Devil Hills, four miles south, where the brothers use to practice with gliders, and take off over sweeping dunes.

Sanderling Resort

The Sanderling Resort is the only full service resort in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, one of the country’s best coastlines for sand dunes, secluded beaches, and waterfront wildlife. The 101 accommodations range from double rooms to family homes, all with cedar shake sidings, water or dune views, and large bathrooms stocked with plush robes and L'Occitane bath amenities. Travelers in linen pants and wide-brimmed hats unwind by the pool or beach, or head to the painted white porches for complimentary morning coffee and afternoon tea. And the 6,000-square-foot spa—a Travel + Leisure World’s Best Award winner—incorporates local ingredients (sea, salt, and sand).

Kitty Hawk Kites

Buzz over town in a WWII-era biplane. Or, for an even more thrilling adventure, take wing yourself with a hang glider over Kitty Hawk’s powdery dunes (Kitty Hawk Kites offers three-hour lessons for $100).

Barefoot Bernie's

Cuban steaks and margaritas are the draw at this relaxed tropical-style restaurant with a high, open-beamed roof and a polished-wood bar.

La Isla Latin Bakery & Latin Market

Pick up mango pastries and supersweet tropical desserts.