When visiting the Outer Banks, North Carolina, you’ll notice that many piers dot the coastline. These piers serve various purposes: scenic boardwalks, premier fishing spots, boat docking areas, and even memorable event venues for celebrations such as weddings.
One of the oldest piers in the area, Kitty Hawk Pier, has served many of these purposes. In its heyday, it was a popular fishing destination and restaurant beloved by locals. It has since been renovated and become a famous OBX wedding venue, known to be the perfect backdrop for an incredible ceremony.
It’s certainly safe to say that Kitty Hawk Pier has undergone many changes through the years. However, the timeless beauty of this iconic Outer Banks landmark has stayed the same. Here is your guide to this iconic pier.
About the Kitty Hawk Pier
- Location: 5353 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC
- Hours: Daily, 8 am to 10 pm
- Access: To walk on the pier, the fee is $3; to fish on the pier, the pass is $20.
Originally built in 1953, Kitty Hawk Pier was originally one of only three piers in the Outer Banks. It was also the northernmost pier on the Carolina coastline. Today it is the second oldest remaining coastal pier in all of North Carolina.
Kitty Hawk Pier has weathered many different storms and hurricanes through the years. It stood strong through many notable hurricanes that battered the shores of the Outer Banks. However, 2003’s Hurricane Isabel came close to destroying it.
The 160 mile per hour winds and 10-foot storm surges took their toll on the pier. The Pier House was badly damaged, and portions of the pier were washed away. For some time, it appeared the pier may not reopen as renovations were too costly. Fortunately, 2006 Hilton Garden Inn purchased the pier and began the lengthy and expensive restoration process.
Restoration efforts included reusing as much of the original materials as possible to commemorate the pier’s long-standing historic charm. The restoration also took great care to modernize the pier and pier house amenities over the 2-year project. Kitty Hawk Pier reopened in 2008 and has become a popular Outer Banks entertainment and event venue.
The Kitty Hawk Pier House
The Kitty Hawk Pier House has undergone a few transformations over the years. It once housed a popular restaurant where locals fondly remember getting a delicious breakfast before heading out to fish on the pier all day.
Now primarily used as an event space, the Pier House is a 2200-square-foot structure with sweeping wooden ceilings and rafters. Wide windows flank the structure, capturing all the beautiful natural light of the surrounding shores. The house can comfortably seat 125 guests making it the ideal venue for a wedding reception.
Fishing at Kitty Hawk Pier
Fishing off the pier is a popular option for those looking for a big catch in the Atlantic Ocean. Pier fishing gives you the benefit of being able to cast into deeper waters without having to take a boat out. It also allows you to target bigger fish.
The Kitty Hawk fishing pier has been the home of many great catches, including record-breaking hauls. Several state records have been set for bluefish, whiting, red drum, and king mackerel caught from the pier. It’s also a popular spot for catching bluefish, puppy drum, spot, and flounder.
A fishing pass costs $20 for the day. A Coastal Recreational Fishing License is required to fish. In the Pier House, you will find a fully stocked tackle shop and rental rods and reels.
Special Events and Weddings at the Pier
Kitty Hawk Pier is a popular wedding destination with its dreamy oceanfront backdrop and historical significance. The open and spacious pier and deck house are ideal for intimate gatherings and grand affairs.
Evening wedding ceremonies are particularly popular, and if you’re visiting the beach surrounding the pier at sunset, you’re likely to see a wedding party on the deck above.
The Pier House also hosts occasional live music!
You’ll find no shortage of tasty eats near the pier. Located just north of the pier, you’ll find Rundown Cafe. This island-themed restaurant serves Pacific and Caribbean dishes. Fish tacos and poke bowls are popular items at this oceanside spot.
Another option if you’re craving some delicious seafood fare is Streamers Restaurant. This spot is just down from the pier. Visitors claim the hushpuppies here are the best they’ve ever had. They also rave about the creamy seafood bisque.
If you’re craving a taste of the South, you’ll want to check out High Cotton Barbeque for some down-home Southern cooking.
Things to See and Do Near the Pier
Nearby the pier, you’ll also find plenty of other OBX landmarks and attractions. The nearby Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve is great for an afternoon. You can hike through miles of trails that traverse a variety of ecosystems, including maritime forests and sand dune systems.
Other Piers in the Area
Nags Head Pier
Piers have a way of becoming the centerpiece of many of the small beach towns in the OBX. The closest to Kitty Hawk is Nags Head Pier. This pier offers daily passes to fish. You can also pay a small fee to access the pier for sightseeing. You can buy bait, tackle, and gear in the Pier House Tackle Shop.
You’ll also find a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Additionally, you can pay to have the fish you catch on the pier cleaned and cooked.
Jennette’s Pier is just a few miles south of Nags Head Pier. This stunning 1,000-foot pier was built in 1939 and remains the oldest in the OBX. You can pay a day rate to fish on the pier, and rentals and bait are also for sale in the pier house. Inside the pier house, you’ll also find many interactive educational exhibits and an aquarium on the bottom level.
Another popular Outer Banks Pier is the Avalon Pier, located on Hatteras Island. This pier is frequented by fishermen and has been the home of record-breaking Red Drum catches. You’ll also find a small bait shop and restrooms located at the foot of the pier.
A Glimpse of OBX History
The Kitty Hawk Pier is an iconic stop to add to your list when staying at a First Flight vacation home. So pack a beach bag and get ready for sun, sand, and a beautiful view of the Outer Banks coast!