When you hear the name Kitty Hawk, chances are the first thing that comes to mind is Orville and Wilbur Wright, the pioneers of modern aviation. The location of their first flight is found a few miles south of Kitty Hawk, in what is now known as Kill Devil Hills.
However, you shouldn’t let that stop you from visiting. In fact, Kitty Hawk contains some of the best beaches in the Outer Banks. Shouldered by towering sand dunes, its wide sprawling beaches are the perfect place to spend a day at the beach.
So when you’re planning your next visit to the OBX, be sure to plan for a day at Kitty Hawk beach. It’s a short drive from your vacation rental, for a big reward in fun.
About Kitty Hawk Beach
The small coastal town of Kitty Hawk, nestled between Duck and Kill Devil Hills contains approximately eight miles of beaches and provides a dozen different public beach accesses.
Located just south of the Kitty Hawk Pier, the eponymous beach is hailed as one of the best beaches in the Outer Banks! The beach itself is somewhat narrow but clean with a long expanse of the soft sand and seagrass patches that characterize the Outer Banks.
Kitty Hawk Beach is a blissful blend of natural beauty, recreational activities, and local charm. It’s not just about soaking up the sun here – this beach also offers a plethora of shops and restaurants for you to explore when you need a break from the sun.
You’ll find seasonal lifeguard stations, with roving lifeguards traveling between them, at most beach access points. Lifeguards are on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day from 10 am to 6 pm.
Things to Do at Kitty Hawk Beach
Kitty Hawk Beach is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking to surf the waves or fly through the skies, you’ll find your next water adventure along these shores. You can try at hang gliding, kiteboarding, surfing, parasailing, or practically any water sport imaginable. You’ll find watersport rental shops all along the coastline, offering high-end equipment and wise advice from experienced guides.
Beachcomb and Search for Shells
There are all sorts of hidden treasures to find along the shores of Kitty Hawk Beach. Just taking a leisurely sea shelling stroll along the shores can uncover all sorts of riches from the seas. From colorful sea glass hand carved by the ocean to a diverse array of unique seashells, you will surely find the perfect piece of the coast to bring home as a memento from your trip.
If you’re an avid fisherman, the Outer Banks is probably on your fishing bucket list already. Kitty Hawk Beach and the surrounding areas are known for some of the best surf fishing in the world. From red drum to bluefish to flounder and more, record-breaking catches have been made on the shores of these beaches.
If you’re not into surf fishing, finding a fishing charter departing from the area is easy. Kitty Hawk’s proximity to the deeper waters of the Atlantic gives you a chance to reel in a trophy catch on the open sea.
There are plenty of opportunities for maritime fun at Kitty Hawk. You can rent a pontoon boat and spend the day cruising on the whitecaps or go stand-up paddleboarding through the sound. You’ll find rental options from kayaks to jet skis close by.
You can also catch a boat out to sea in search of sunset or embark on a dolphin tour. No matter how you set sail from Kitty Hawk, you’re certain to have adventure in your sights.
Spend your Day Enjoying the Beach
Kitty Hawk beaches are the perfect place to work on your tan while relaxing with your toes in the sand. Take a nap in your beach chair or catch up on a good book; there’s never a better time to unwind than on these southern shores. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day listening to the waves crashing against the sand.
If you’re less of a sun worshipper and would rather play in the ocean, you can take a dip in the salty waters of the Atlantic. On most days, you’ll find the winds are ideal for flying a kite, and the sandy shores are perfect for beach games like volleyball and bocce ball.
What to Know Before You Go
The town of Kitty Hawk has several ordinances to protect its beaches and its many visitors. These are subject to change, so be sure to check the latest updates before visiting.
- No driving is allowed on the beach, including ATVs
- Glass is prohibited from the beach
- Fires are not allowed.
- Surfers must be attached to a surfing leash
- Personal belongings are not allowed unattended overnight
- Dogs are welcome, provided they are on a leash no longer than 12 ft.
- Motorized watercraft may not be launched from the Atlantic Ocean Beach
- Please refrain from digging holes and mounding sand as it is unsafe for beach travelers and local wildlife.
Leave No Trace
Always leave the OBX beaches better than you found them. Please dispose of any trash in designated receptacles and consider ways to minimize waste while visiting the beach.
Always Observe Wildlife from a Distance
From the wild mustangs of Corolla to the sea turtles at Cape Hatteras, the Outer Banks of North Carolina are teaming with wildlife. For your safety and theirs, always be sure to maintain a respectful distance when observing these native island inhabitants.
Always Practice Water Safety
While Kitty Hawk beaches provide roving lifeguards, they are not stationary and cannot physically monitor the entire perimeter of their area at all times. You should exercise caution and always watch children and those who are not strong swimmers closely.
Beyond the Beaches
When you need a break from the sun and the sand, you’ll find several attractions close by that are worth visiting.
Kitty Hawk Pier
You can take a stroll down the beach and check out Kitty Hawk Pier. While only guests of the Hilton Garden Inn are allowed on the pier, it’s worth a visit to see this OBX landmark that was one of the first original fishing piers to don the beaches of the Outer Banks.
Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve
Across from the beach, on the sound side of the island, you’ll find Kitty Hawk Woods. This natural area encompasses a diverse array of ecosystems, including maritime forests, salt marshes, and wetlands. Visitors can enjoy a large network of trails that explore the area’s rich biodiversity.
Wright Brothers National Memorial
Just south of Kitty Hawk, nestled in Kill Devil Hills, you’ll find the Wright Brothers Memorial Park. This historic park commemorates the first flight of the Wright Brothers. At the park, you’ll find a range of exhibits, including a full-scale replica of the brother’s 1903 Flyer and a museum full of artifacts demonstrating the rich history of aviation in the area.
Jockey’s Ridge State Park
Located in Nags Head, about ten miles south of Kitty Hawk, you’ll find Jockey’s Ridge State Park. This park, which spans over 400 acres, is home to the largest natural sand dune system in the eastern United States. Visitors to the park enjoy all different types of activities, including kite flying, hiking, hang gliding, and sandboarding.
Kick Back and Relax at Kitty Hawk Beach
When your OBX vacation itinerary consists of lazy days relaxing on a beach, the beaches of Kitty Hawk are just a short drive from your First Flight beach house rental. So pack a picnic lunch and a beach towel and hit the sand. Beach days are the best days on the Outer Banks!