Wright Brothers National Memorial

Outer Banks

Self-taught engineers Wilbur and Orville Wright launched the world's first successful airplane flight on December 17, 1903 (it lasted 12 seconds). A boulder marks the take-off spot. Climb a nearby hill, where the brothers conducted earlier glider experiments, for fantastic views of sea and sound. The on-site Wright Brothers Visitor Center has a full-size reproduction of the 1903 flyer and intriguing exhibits.

The 30-minute 'Flight Room Talk,' a lecture about the brothers' dedication and ingenuity, is excellent. For an up-close look at the plane's intricacies, check out the bronze-and-steel replica behind the hill; it's OK to scramble aboard.

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