Happy casual couple going for a bike ride on the pier

Learn About Sustainable Travel to OBX

08/16/2023 | by Joseph Mitchell | Outer Banks Travel Tips

Travelers heading to the Outer Banks of North Carolina have a lot to look forward to in the way of fun, amazing views, access to wildlife, and one-of-a-kind activities too. That said, the appeal of the Outer Banks often links back to the area’s intricate ties to nature, which makes implementing sustainable travel practices into your journey more important than ever. These incredible barrier islands host stunning waterways, wildlife, and plant species that require an eco-friendly approach to visit in order to remain in place for generations to come. The following are just a few small, but important steps you can take to make sustainable travel your personal approach the next time you’re looking forward to a trip in this direction.


Don’t forget to download our complimentary Manteo Vacation Guide to find hand-selected recommendations for things to do in the area, places to dine, shopping, activities and more!   


Adhere to the Leave No Trace Principles

water bottle with the text life without plastic

Protecting the barrier islands in a sustainable fashion starts with adhering to the “Leave No Trace” principles upon arrival. The idea behind this is to always leave a place you’re visiting as pristine as when you found it. Some simple steps you can take to ensure this happens is to always pack out any trash you acquire along the way so it doesn’t end up affecting local ecosystems or wildlife habitats. Extinguishing any fires you enjoy completely is essential while traveling on designated trails and routes further protects the environment from unnecessary damages and interference.

Pack Ocean Safe Sunscreen When Enjoying Time on the Water

The waters that surround the Outer Banks are ideal for sailing, snorkeling, diving, and enjoying watersports of all types. They’re also home to amazing plant and marine life that are susceptible to the chemicals they come in contact with when visitors hop in the water with traditional sunscreens on. The next time you’re here, consider swapping out the sunscreen you usually have on hand for an ocean-friendly variety that doesn’t contain ingredients that can harm underwater life. Check the label to make sure your ocean-friendly sunscreen doesn’t contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, PABA, parabens, triclosan, or 4-methyl benzylidene camphor. Products with nanoparticles of zin or titanium as well as microplastics like exfoliating beads should also be avoided.

Swap Out Vehicles for Bikes

Anytime you can swap out a vehicle for a bike while visiting the Outer Banks it’s a win for you and the environment. Pedaling your way through a stay is also a good opportunity to enjoy sightseeing at your own pace! There are plenty of rental companies here ready and willing to help you find the perfect bike to make the most of your fun on the trails.

Group Of Volunteers Tidying Up Rubbish On BeachSign Up for a Volunteer Opportunity

Sustainable travel practices also include taking time to check the event calendar before you travel and seeing if there are any volunteer opportunities you can take part in during your stay. These might be a beach clean-up day or working alongside an organization that plants sea grass just to name a few.

Book Your Stay Today

When travel plans bring you the Outer Banks, the team at Pirate’s Cove Realty has the vacation rental you need to infuse luxury, comfort, and style into your experience. Browse our rentals to learn more about our many exciting options! See our pet friendly vacation rentals in Outer banks here!