This series of Everyday Conversations is about a family traveling to each of the 50 states in the U.S. Join the family members as they learn about local pastimes and history. These conversations are for intermediate-level English-language learners or higher.

In this conversation, the family visits the Outer Banks in North Carolina.


Sam: I didn’t realize we’d have to take a ferry to get to the Outer Banks.

Paul: Of course. The Outer Banks is a long string of peninsulas and islands.

Claudine: And the place of the Wright brothers’ first successful flight!

Paul: That’s right. But we’re going to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, so we’ll be seeing more nature than airplanes.

Claudine: There must be a lot of great sea life here.

Gina: Yes, and if we’re lucky we can see the baby sea turtles returning to the sea after they hatch.

Sam: They’re born on the beach?

Gina: Yes. The mother digs a hole with her back flippers, lays her eggs and covers them. After the baby turtles hatch, they walk across the sand into the ocean.

Claudine: Wow, little baby turtles are brave.

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

A ferry is a boat that carries people and things across a river or narrow part of the sea.

The Outer Banks is an area of North Carolina. It is a long line of peninsulas and islands off the coast of North Carolina and a small part of Virginia.

A peninsula is an area of land that is almost entirely surrounded by water but is connected to a larger land area.

The Wright brothers were two brothers (Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright) who successfully built and flew the first powered airplane.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a U.S. national seashore within the Outer Banks area. A national seashore is an area of land along the sea that is protected by the U.S. government.

To hatch means to be born by coming out of an egg.

On a turtle, the two flippers are flat parts of its body that are used for moving and swimming.

The verb to lay means that a reptile, bird, etc., produces an egg from its body.

The American English website offers a variety of free resources for learners and teachers of English. The American English Facebook page posts learning materials for English-language learners daily. The American English for Educators Facebook page posts teaching materials for English-language teachers daily.

Everyday Conversations are developed by the State Department’s Heidi Howland, a senior program officer in the Office of English Language Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Learn more about planning a trip to the U.S. and applying for a tourist visa.