The Outer Banks is the perfect summer getaway. There are plenty of opportunities for surfing, boating, fishing and more in the Northern Beaches, Hatteras Island and Roanoke Island, and don't forget to order lots of seafood. Distance from Baltimore: 346 miles Summer events/activities: The Watermelon Festival (really) comes to the Outer Banks at the Kitty Hawk Kites store (3933 South Croatan Highway, Nags Head, N.C.; kittyhawk.com or 877-359-8447; activities $1-$10) on Aug. 8 with pie eating contests, inflatable obstacle courses -- and a lot of watermelon; the Outer Banks Adventure Quest (outerbanks.org or 804-475-4339; $25 per person) allows hiking enthusiasts to explore the historic sighs and local hangouts in Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head; check out the local comedy scene at the Comedy Club (1701 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills, N.C.; comedyclubobx.com or 252-207-9950; $26). Cool lodging: It won't be hard to find an oceanfront hotel in the Outer Banks, but here are a few options. The Surf Side Hotel (6701 Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, N.C.; surfsideobx.com or 800-552-7873) provides a relaxing lodging at good value. The Colonial Inn (3329 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, N.C.; colonialmotel.com or 800-276-7670) might have fewer frills, but staying here won't burn any holes in your pocket. Eat here: There's no shortage of Carolina barbecue in the Outer Banks. High Cotton BBQ in Kitty Hawk (5230 N. Virginia Dare Trail; highcottonbbq.com or 252-255-2275) serves delicious authentic Southern eats. Don't miss: Diving with sharks! No, seriously. The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island (374 Airport Road, Manteo, N.C.; ncaquariums.com or 252-473-3494; $195 per diver) lets you get up close and personal with some toothy friends.
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