The Outer Banks of North Carolina is one of the most unique places in the US. Stretching over 100 miles and bordered by water to the east and west, the OBX provides some of the best beach vacationing in the country. Plus, visitors can enjoy the unique culture of each town, from mellow Corolla to historical Nags Head. Whether you’re surfing, fishing, or simply relaxing with friends and family, you’re sure to find what they’re looking for here.
To help you explore what makes each area unique, we’ve made a handy guide to the towns along the Outer Banks.
Corolla, NC is best known for its large, sandy beaches, and is one of the most popular towns along the Outer Banks among beach-goers. One of the main draws of Corolla are the famous wild horses, descendants of Colonial Spanish Mustangs that now roam free along sections of the coast.
The overall pace of Corolla is relaxed, and with plenty of things for families and children to do. Enjoy excellent food, shopping, golfing, bike rentals and of course, relaxing on the beach. The town was mainly developed in the 1990’s through to the present, giving the architecture a modern and luxurious feel.
The quaint village of Duck, NC has maintained much of the charm that has kept visitors returning since the 1970s. With many town-sponsored activities such as outdoor concerts and yoga, Duck caters to family vacations. It’s no surprise that this Outer Banks town was named one of the best beaches in America for families.
Duck is also home to some of the finest food and shopping that the Outer Banks has to offer, which are accessible by a meandering soundside boardwalk that lines the length of town. It is also host to the annual Duck Jazz Festival in October, as well as some of the best kayaking, biking, and fishing on the East Coast.
One of the main draws of Kitty Hawk, NC is its central location. Close to the main bridge that connects the Outer Banks to the mainland, Kitty Hawk is easily accessible and a short distance to grocery stores and shops. It is also home to beautiful beaches and historical attractions, and is a short drive to the location where the Wright Brothers took their historic first flight in 1903 (many don’t know this, but the famous first flight actually took place down the street in Kill Devil Hills!). After a day lounging on the beach, there are wonderful bars and restaurants to choose from that provide some of the best food and atmosphere on the Outer Banks.
The relaxed pace of historic Nags Head, coupled with its 11 miles of oceanfront, makes it an ideal spot on the Outer Banks for a family beach vacation. Nags Head is also home to Oregon Inlet, where you can take one of the world-renowned offshore fishing charters to the Gulf Stream, an experience you’ll never forget.
Many of the Outer Banks best-known festivals are held in Nags Head, including the Outer Banks Seafood Festival held each October. Of course, even if you’re not visiting in October there is plenty to do, including visiting Bodie Island Lighthouse and Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the largest sand dune on the East Coast!
Southern Shores is a small community nestled between Duck and Kitty Hawk. The location gives those visitors access to all the amenities of the neighboring towns, but generally with fewer people. Southern Shores is a perfect vacation spot for those wishing to truly get away from it all yet have easy access to shops, dining, and activities of the Outer Banks.
Unwind as you stroll along miles of quiet beaches, or take a bike ride along the multi-use path. Southern Shores is a perfect destination on the Outer Banks.
Kill Devil Hills, centrally located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, is a popular vacation spot for the active family. In addition to traditional beach cottages with private ocean walkways, this stretch of beach on the Atlantic Ocean also offers public beach accesses, some with parking, bathhouses and special accessibility.
Lifeguards are stationed every half-mile for your family’s safety and convenience (seasonal). A wide range of restaurants are within easy reach, along with surf shops, miniature golf, go carts, laser tag, a bowling alley, movie theater and grocery stores and of course, the Wright Brothers National Memorial.