Destination of the Week:

The Outer Banks, North Carolina

Retreat to a laid-back coast this summer.

You won't find big cities here. A string of barrier islands along North Carolina's coast, the Outer Banks boasts fishing villages and quaint towns with familiar names -- such as Kitty Hawk and Rodanthe. Savor sweet summer solace among a sand-sculpted landscape accented by iconic lighthouses.

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Enjoy long walks or an off-road adventure.

From surfers riding ocean waves to wild horses galloping across the dunes, the Outer Banks is a peaceful playground for couples and families alike. The 70 miles of beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore offers a rare opportunity: off-roading on the beach. (Just be sure to pick up a permit first.)

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Learn about a 16th-century American mystery.

The Outer Banks has an intriguing history, dating back to 16th-century settlers and infamous pirates. One of the most popular stories is told in the Pulitzer Prize-winning outdoor drama, "The Lost Colony." Performed on Roanoke Island June 1 - Aug. 23, it recounts America's first settlers -- and their mysterious disappearance.

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Eat crabs caught by local watermen, or by you.

Blue crabs are the delicacy du jour in the Outer Banks. Crabbing season runs through the summer, and local bait shops are more than willing to help first-timers looking to create a fun memory. Or, let the experts do the work: Feast upon crab-inspired dishes at locally owned restaurants throughout the Outer Banks.

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Fly where the Wright Brothers made history.

Wind, sand and a dream helped Orville and Wilbur Wright launch the world's first successful controlled flight in the Outer Banks in 1903. Today, live out this legacy atop Jockey's Ridge, the East Coast's highest sand dune, located in Nags Head, where hang gliding lessons are popular.

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