The main Outer Banks attraction:
So much makes the Outer Banks special, but miles and miles of pristine coastline are what brings visitors back year after year. There are so many fun and relaxing ways to enjoy your beach time on the Outer Banks, and we’ve outlined some of our favorite activities below.
Stretch out on a towel with a great book.
If you need some inspiration, we’ve reviewed several interesting Outer Banks-related books!
Find a perfect seashell.
Several different shells can be found on our shores, and the best time to look is low tide. Our beachcombing guide will help you identify your treasures from the sea.
Go for a long walk or beach run.
Hoping to fit in some exercise on vacation? Walking on sand is a workout! It can take more than twice the energy to walk or run on sand compared to hard surfaces. Plus, exercise with an ocean view isn’t so bad…
Catch the sunrise.
Set that alarm. We promise it’s worth it! Sunrises over the Atlantic are breathtaking. Plus, early mornings are one of the best times to spot pods of dolphins swimming parallel to the shoreline. (If you aren’t a morning person, sunset afterglows on the beach are truly beautiful too! Or you can catch the full sunset on the soundside. Check out our soundfront homes here.)
Go for a drive on the sand.
Most Outer Banks towns allow off-roading on the beach during certain times of the year. It’s a ton of fun to pack a lunch, some beach gear, and take a four-wheel-drive vehicle out to find the perfect spot to spend the day. Learn more about each town’s rules and off-road vehicle safety.
Have a beach bonfire.
Few things are more relaxing than the sound of a crackling fire next to waves lapping the shore. Beach fires are only allowed in Nags Head and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Learn more about the regulations and required permits.
Surf fishing from the beach is a pastime enjoyed by all ages. Learn more about the required fishing license and all the other ways to fish on the Outer Banks.
Build a castle.
Sandcastles are a classic beach day activity. Add some friendly competition to the mix by having a sandcastle-building contest with others in your vacation group! You don’t have to stick to castles – your imagination is the limit.
Take in a surfing lesson.
Surfing is a favorite local pastime, and there are great instructors on the Outer Banks ready to help you learn. No board? No problem – if the instructor doesn’t provide boards, they can be rented locally.
Give boogie boarding or skimboarding a try!
Boogie boards (also known as bodyboards) are great for riding shore break waves back to shore. Skimboards are used to glide on the water’s surface closer to shore. Boogie boarding tends to be the easier of the two. Both types of boards can be rented or purchased locally.