Things to do in outer banks in summer

As Australians who grew up by the seaside close to Sydney and who now reside in Raleigh, we’re so grateful we’ve got superior coastal locations to flee to, and down beneath we’re sharing our favourite issues to do in OBX (Outer Banks).

We just lately watched the Outer Banks sequence on Netflix with our children, and although we already had an Outer Banks trip excessive on our North Carolina bucket listing, that present gave us the additional push to go there now!

See more: Things to do in outer banks in summer

In case you don’t know, the Outer Banks (OBX) is a 100-mile stretch of barrier islands separating the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland.

These islands are dotted with a number of the greatest seashores in North Carolina to your seaside trip, plus quaint cities, historic lighthouses, state parks, wonderful sand dunes, scrumptious Outer Banks eating places, enjoyable watersports, and distinctive wildlife experiences!

This vacation spot simply speaks to us as a household who love nature and the nice open air (and seafood). And being only a 3.5 hour drive, I do know it’s going to be one in all our prime weekend getaways from Raleigh – in all seasons!

From our latest four-day go to, we got here to appreciate that there isn’t a scarcity of enjoyable issues to do in Outer Banks, and while we didn’t have time for the whole lot we predict we did job of maximizing our time and down beneath we listing our prime strategies to your personal OBX journey!

Whether or not you’re on the lookout for enjoyable seaside days or journey, informal eating or slightly romance, gorgeous sunrises or sunsets, the OBX has you coated.

Learn on to find why we predict this is without doubt one of the greatest locations to go to in North Carolina, and what it’s best to add to your itinerary! And don’t miss trying out our listing of 25 cool Airbnb Outer Banks trip leases.

Play on the Outer Banks Seashores

Most individuals go to the Outer Banks in the summertime months for some seaside time, and as Aussies we are able to positively get on board with that!

With 100-miles of wide-open shoreline, take your choose from one of many many lovely Outer Banks seashores.

The sand is clear, the water is an ideal temperature by summer time, they’re family-friendly, they usually’re not too crowded – win, win.

As we have been staying proper on Kill Satan Hills Seashore we spent most of our time on this seaside (see dawn suggestions down beneath).

However our favourite for our children to go body-boarding would most likely be Corolla Seashore for the light waves and it looks as if you’ll be able to stroll out without end (see rise up paddle boarding part down beneath). Additionally Nags Head Seashore close to the pier was nice for waves too!

Kitty Hawk can also be splendid for water sports activities, and Duck is called some of the pet-friendly seashores within the US.

However have in mind seaside and wave circumstances change every day, relying on the place you’re on the islands.

Lifeguards are on responsibility on all seashores between Memorial Day and Labor Day – be conscious of the tides and currents!

If you’d like calmer waters, think about one of many quite a few sound entrance water accesses on the western aspect of the islands.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

An Outer Banks trip is usually about nature and coastal experiences, however not all are water based mostly!

We love visiting distinctive state parks, and Jockey’s Ridge State Park is house to the tallest sand dune system within the japanese United States and is without doubt one of the hottest issues to do in OBX.

The dunes listed here are always altering form attributable to wind and attain as much as 100 toes excessive from the place you get spectacular views of the Carolina shoreline on one aspect, and Roanoke Sound on the opposite.

Begin on the customer heart and museum to study in regards to the ecology, then head out to discover the huge dune system by following the 360-foot boardwalk.

Fashionable actions right here embody cling gliding, sand-boarding and kite flying (convey your personal), nature trails, sundown viewing, and studying to hang-glide (see down beneath about our expertise).

Ranger-led applications all year long are principally free, however some require pre-registration.

And throughout the hotter months it’s extremely instructed to convey your personal sneakers, solar safety and loads of water – sand dunes get HOT.

There aren’t any entrance charges to benefit from the park. However have in mind, this can be a day-use solely park with no campgrounds!

Sizzling Locals Tip:

Go previous the sand dunes to West Soundside Rd, it goes to a pleasant seaside on the sound the place you’ll be able to stroll within the water without end.

Be taught How you can Hand Glide (safely) at Jockey’s Ridge

Hang gliding at Jockey

Searching for enjoyable issues to do in Outer Banks? This is without doubt one of the coolest family-activities we’ve got executed in a very long time.

You’re within the space the place the Wright Brothers first flew a aircraft, so why not discover ways to fly too!

And don’t fear, it’s very protected and straightforward. If our 8 yr outdated Savannah can do it, you’ll be able to too!

Kitty Hawk Kites have been working cling gliding classes since 1974 with newbie, intermediate and superior classes from certified instructors – who’re superior by the way in which!

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Hang gliding in the Outer Banks

We had a lot enjoyable studying launch, fly, and land on the smooth sands of Jockey’s Ridge with our teacher holding a rope all the way in which supplying you with a way of security!

Ranging from $99, commonplace newbie classes final 3 hours, together with 1 hour of floor faculty.

Positively put this in your listing of OBX issues to do, it’s tremendous cool enjoyable!

Learn our full evaluate of Kitty Hawk cling gliding.

Ebook your tickets right here.

Jennette’s Pier

Situated in Nags Head, Jennette’s Pier stretches 1,000 toes into the Atlantic ocean and is without doubt one of the must-visit Outer Banks piers throughout your go to.

What’s significantly cool about this pier is that it’s powered by wind (evidenced by the windmills on it) and it has an academic heart and small aquarium connected.

I visited for some lovely dawn images, and we additionally went swimming right here within the afternoon.

This is without doubt one of the prime issues to do in Nags Head, and is widespread for fishing, or for simply taking a stroll out for nice views again over the shoreline.

All day walk-on charges: Adults $2, Youngsters $1.

Discover all of the Outer Banks Piers

You Individuals love your piers, and within the Outer Banks the piers are some of the placing options of this coastal space – there are seven in complete.

5 of the piers are situated within the central Outer Banks space; three in Nags Head, one in Kitty Hawk, and one in Kill Satan Hills.

The opposite two OBX piers are on Hatteras Island; one in Rodanthe and the opposite in Avon – the 600-foot lengthy Avon Fishing Pier was the primary pier on Hatteras Island.

Our favourite is the The Outer Banks Fishing Pier in Nags Head – we don’t fish, however we love Fish Heads Bar & Grille on the finish of the pier (see extra about that down beneath).

Apart from fishing off the piers, seaside fishing can also be widespread within the OBX. So if you happen to love piers too, this is without doubt one of the greatest issues to do in Outer Banks.

See the OBX Lighthouses

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Outer Banks, North Carolina
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

One other of the favored issues to do in Outer Banks is see the enduring lighthouses.

After I consider the OBX, one of many first issues that involves thoughts is the lighthouses. They’ve guarded the shoreline right here for over 200 years and have performed an necessary function in maritime historical past – this space is called the Graveyard of the Atlantic for ships for its treacherous waters.

There are 5 lighthouses in complete and every one distinctive:

  • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
  • Bodie Island Lighthouse
  • Roanoake Marshes Lighthouse
  • Currituck Seashore Lighthouse
  • and Ocracoke Lighthouse.

The simply recognizable Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, with its spiraling black and white stripes, protects some of the hazardous sections of the Atlantic Coast and was formally accomplished approach again in 1870.

Probably the most widespread OBX actions is to climb to the highest of the historic Hatteras lighthouse to get gorgeous views from the tallest brick lighthouse in North America.

Sadly it was closed to climbing once we visited (August 2020 attributable to Rona) however you’ll be able to nonetheless go to the grounds and guests heart.

Cape Hatteras Nationwide Seashore

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

This 70-mile stretch of the Outer Banks from Bodie Island to Ocracoke Island is the nation’s first nationwide seashore.

This space is house to distinctive seaside communities, historic lighthouses, and infinite actions reminiscent of seaside fishing, kiteboarding, browsing, swimming, windsurfing, crabbing, shell-collecting, kayaking and paddle boarding, tenting, and seaside driving.

You may discover by automobile, bicycle, foot, or by boat.

We didn’t spend a lot time down right here, concentrating most of our time on the northern islands, however stopped in at above talked about Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and some seashores alongside the drive.

Cape Hatteras

For extra tips about issues to do in Hatteras, go right here.

The north entrance to Cape Hatteras is situated in Nags Head on the intersection of U.S. Freeway 64 and NC Freeway 12, and there are lots of roadside public pull-offs alongside Freeway 12 with seaside entry.

Hatteras Village is house to regionally owned and operated eating places.

Go Stand Up Paddle Boarding

For those who’ve been following our travels for some time, you’ll know that stand-up paddle boarding is one in all our favourite family-activities.

We just lately purchased two inflatable BodyGlove paddle boards, and couldn’t wait to make use of them within the OBX.

One instructed spot from the locals was Corolla Seashore attributable to it’s light waves and shallow water, and it proved to be an excellent spot, though my stability wants work as I saved falling off – ocean paddling is totally different to lake or river supping!

One other widespread place for paddle boarding/kayaking is the Historic Corolla Park on the Whalehead Membership – there’s a public launch spot for small boats/kayaks/SUPs and there are shallow canals to paddle in.

In Nags Head, we obtained really useful West Soundside Street as one other good soundside location – it’s near Jockey’s Ridge.

For those who don’t personal your personal SUP boards, think about a tour.

Drink and Eat at Fish Heads Bar and Grill

Fish Heads Bar and Grill

Hear up Santa Monica Pier. THIS is the way you do a pier!

Again in our house nation of Australia, we don’t have piers at our seashores (effectively, only a few) and Aussies are most accustomed to Santa Monica Pier.

However we predict that pier in LA is tremendous cheesy, crowded and only a flat out vacationer lure!

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We’ve additionally been to many different piers on our travels throughout the USA and we predict we’ve got discovered our favourite pier proper right here in North Carolina – the Outer Banks Fishing Pier. And it’s principally to do with Fish Heads Bar and Grill on the finish of this pier.

After we first arrived on the seaside right here, there was a protracted line ready (social distancing) to get onto the pier and we thought, “what’s happening right here?”

Seems, it was pleased hour shrimp at Fish Heads which suggests 15 CENT SHRIMP between 4pm – 6pm. We put our names down instantly!

fish heads

Not solely that, however Fish Heads affords an excellent beer choice (40 beers in complete), killer ocean views, chilled native vibe and music, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Don’t miss it. This can be a tremendous cool native spot, and one in all our greatest reminiscences from our Outer Banks trip!

Wright Brothers Nationwide Memorial

You’re within the place that had the primary profitable Wright Brothers flight, and if you happen to worth airplane journey like us, why not go and honor the birthplace of flying on the Wright Brothers Nationwide Memorial

In case you don’t know, the Wright Brothers (Orville and Wilbur) piloted 4 profitable flights with their powered, heavier-than-air flying machine in Kitty Hawk, and you may go to the historic web site to see a monument.

You too can see the historic sand dune the place they did most of their gliding, and the placement they lived while experimenting.

Sadly the Customer Middle and ranger talks are presently closed till no less than September 11, 2020 (attributable to Rona), however the outside space is open.

Test the web site for updated information and prices.

Since we’d been right here earlier than, we determined to skip it on this go to, however if you happen to haven’t been it’s one of many should do OBX points of interest.

Watch a Dawn by the Ocean

Dawn within the Outer Banks is certainly price getting up for!

We all know, if you’re on trip rolling away from bed early may be powerful. However we’re at all times grateful once we take the time, particularly when rewarded with a surprising dawn like this at Kill Satan Hills Seashore.

Dawn is definitely one in all our favourite instances of day. It’s peaceable, our children are normally nonetheless asleep, and it simply provides us a lot extra time within the day to do issues.


When staying within the OBX do your greatest to remain on the ocean so you’ll be able to simply roll away from bed and stroll onto the seaside, and even sit in your deck and watch the magic occur!

Sundown Drinks at Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant


Searching for a type of well-known OBX sunsets? You may’t go improper right here.

Miller’s is definitely a extremely really useful place to eat with a variety of optimistic critiques, however we felt our meals fell slightly flat. We dined downstairs within the restaurant, however subsequent time we’d prefer to attempt upstairs on the Sundown Bar & Grill.

Nevertheless, the sundown stole the present and on the very least come right here for sundown drinks, sit exterior on the grass space and watch the magic occur over the sound – it appears to be an Outer Banks custom.

Go Browsing

Seeking to carve up some waves? The Outer Banks are recognized for having the most important waves on the East Coast of the US and is well-known by surfers all over the world.

As a result of the OBX shoreline is uniquely located, it receives swells from a number of instructions with wintertime offering wonderful circumstances alongside the east dealing with seashores, while summertime swells sweep into the south aspect seashores.

Kitty Hawk Seashore and Kill Satan Hills Seashore are recognized for good wave browsing (and skimboarding), and sometimes have the most important waves of the Northern Seashores.

We noticed a number of surfers having fun with the waves close to Nags Head Pier, and a frequent customer instructed us that Cape Hatteras has the very best browsing when it’s on.

Need to discover ways to surf? Think about a browsing lesson in OBX.

Discover Manteo

manteo obx 1

Manteo was our first cease once we arrived within the Outer Banks driving in from Raleigh, and it’s positively price a glance.

We discovered it to be a lot quieter than different locations in OBX with a number of fascinating factors of curiosity.

There’s a pleasant waterfront space to stroll alongside – the city wraps round Shallowbag Bay on the japanese aspect of Roanoke Island.

Means again in 1587, 117 English males, girls and kids got here ashore on Roanoke Island to determine the primary English settlement. However, In 1590, when English ships returned, they discovered the island abandoned, therefore the title the Misplaced Colony.

In regular instances, there’s a Misplaced Colony Drama carried out on the positioning however this season is cancelled because of the pandemic.

The small foremost road has a number of outlets and the Misplaced Colony Brewery (we had lunch right here – the burgers are good).

Lost Colony Brewery

Different extremely instructed OBX points of interest right here is the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum and the Elizabethan Gardens

Outer Banks Brewing Station

Outer Banks Brewing Station

We’re at all times up for brewery, particularly a family-friendly one, and the Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Satan Hills is a must-visit.

This brewery is the primary wind-powered brewery in America – how cool is that – and there’s an excellent beer backyard space out the again with loads of room for the children to run round.

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The draft beer choice choice is prime notch (I recommend the LemonGrass Wheat Ale or Hugh Hefeweizen), plus there’s wine and specialty cocktails.

Outer Banks Brewing Station

The meals is effectively above common, they usually have reside music – what’s to not love. In “regular instances” there’s a jam-packed occasions calendar. Test their web site for present occasions.

Stroll the Duck Boardwalk

Duck Boardwalk

This was one of many prime really useful issues to do in Duck NC, however I believe we did this on the improper time, simply after lunch on a HOT day and I’m guessing this is able to be greatest to do both early morning or early night at sundown.

Regardless, it’s a reasonably stroll and straightforward for teenagers and stretches 0.6 miles. with loads of locations to cease and eat close to the water (eat at NC Coast Grill & Bar by the way in which), their poutine and fish tacos are unbelievable.

The boardwalk begins on the southern finish of the Village close to Christopher Drive and continues to finish on the Waterfront Outlets

Finest accessed from City Park and different places all through the City’s Village Industrial District.

Donutz on a Stick

Okay guys. When most donut lovers go to the Outer Banks, they go to the unique Duck Donuts within the city of Duck.

Admittedly, we promised our children a go to too (although we are able to stroll to a Duck Donuts close to our home in Cary).

However after I typed within the handle in Google maps, it mentioned the shop closed at 1pm (it closes at 1pm every day) which I assumed was loopy!

Fortunately, one in all our excellent native followers on Instagram who had been offering wonderful suggestions throughout our keep, instructed we go to Donutz on a Stick. He mentioned it’s family-owned, not tremendous busy, and higher! And it turned out to be an excellent suggestion, belief us, our children will let you know!

They serve up made to order donuts and donut sundaes which our children had (two donuts topped with ice cream and whipped cream).

Plus sandwiches, gluten-free and vegan choices, espresso, espresso, presents and souvenirs.

We even obtained severed by David, the proprietor, and he’s a brilliant good man. Inform him we despatched you, and make sure you put this in your listing of issues to do within the Outer Banks with youngsters!

Breakfast at Contemporary Match Cafe

Fresh Fit Cafe, OBX

Come for the wholesome meals, keep for the superior water views!

We’re fairly well being aware with our weight loss program, and we significantly like to begin off our day with a wholesome breakfast and we’re glad we discovered this place throughout our analysis.

Freshfit Cafe is situated on the Nags Head-Manteo Causeway and is a health-oriented cafe and juice bar.

They serve breakfast and lunch every day with an superior waterfront setting, and we totally loved our hearty omelettes – top-of-the-line we’ve had really!

Additionally on the menu is natural espresso, espresso, a full juice bar, detox drinks and smoothies, they usually accommodate vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets.

Mulligan’s Grille in Historic Cottage Row


This place is cool, and as quickly as we walked in we had the sensation, “yeah, this might be our native”.

Mulligan’s affords a number of eating and consuming areas, however we ate within the informal and chilled Tiki Bar upstairs (we love Tiki bars).

With distant views of the seaside, recent coastal breezes, and a enjoyable vibe, it was laborious to go away and will have sat there for hours.

The burgers are nice, they’ve good native seafood, there’s a pleasant collection of beers, a downstairs bar, and indoor and outside seating with views of Jockey’s Ridge (Be aware: Mulligan’s is working below present Covid restrictions).

Automobile Seashore Driving

Outer Banks, North Carolina

If you wish to go seaside driving, it’s one other of the favored OBX issues to do and affords a enjoyable and totally different perspective for exploring the ocean seashores.

Seashore driving is allowed yr spherical on Hatteras Island, and October 1-April 30 in Nags Head and Kill Satan Hills.

For present Cape Hatteras Off Street Automobile (ORV) use, click on right here. For Nags Head right here, and Kill Satan Hills right here.

Extra Issues to Do in OBX

As talked about, we solely had 4 days for our Outer Banks trip, so missed many issues.

Beneath are extremely instructed OBX actions and locations to eat in Outer Banks from locals within the know, and the tourism board, that we plan to tick off on a return go to:

  • See the wild Horses of Corolla.
  • Alligator River Nationwide Wildlife Refuge kayak tour
  • Horseback driving on the seaside.
  • Elizabethan Gardens pleasant 10 acre backyard
  • Tortugas Lie (Nags Head) a locals favourite restaurant. Sit on the bar, order Cayman Crippler drinks, and pair with spiced steamed shrimp.
  • Artwork’s Place (Kitty Hawk) beachside burger spot and superior pancakes.
  • The Shack Espresso Store & Beer Backyard (Corolla) distinctive hidden gem. .
  • Black Pelican Restaurant (Kitty Hawk) good views, wonderful pizzas, recent seafood.

For those who didn’t beforehand know what to do in Outer Banks, I hope this put up helps you with your personal planning to go to Outer Banks.

We’ll positively be again many instances, so why not be a part of our e mail neighborhood and comply with us on Instagram to see what we rise up to on future visits, and all our different North Carolina adventures!

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