A Visitor’s Guide to Nags Head Pier

Nothing quite captures the essence of coastal North Carolina and its historic fishing roots like a visit to the Nags Head Pier. Stretching 750 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, this iconic structure—among the oldest in the Outer Banks—is an absolute must-visit if you’re exploring the area.

Located in the heart of Nags Head, the pier is one of the most beloved places for fishing in the Outer Banks. Surrounded by gorgeous golden sandy beaches and the sparkling ocean, the Nags Head Pier is also fantastic for sightseeing and even has a restaurant and bar right on the pier.

Considering a coastal getaway to North Carolina? Let the allure of the Nags Head Pier draw you in, and while you’re at it, find your perfect oceanfront stay with First Flight Rentals. It’ll serve as the perfect jumping-off point to explore the Nags Head Pier, along with all the amazing beaches in the Outer Banks and more. 

If you’re planning a visit to Nags Head and want to make the most of your trip, here is everything you need to know about what the iconic Nags Head Pier offers!

About the Nags Head Pier

Photo Credit: Cvandyke
  • Website: nagsheadpier.com
  • Location: 3335 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC
  • Access Fee: $2.75 per person or $15 for a fishing day pass. 

You can find the Nags Head Pier, one of the most popular piers in the Outer Banks, right at milepost 11.5. If you’re planning a visit, there is plenty of free parking right by the pier, making it very accessible.

Perhaps best known for fishing, the Nags Head Pier is also very popular for sightseeing. Visitors love walking along the pier at sunrise or dusk to take in the sweeping ocean views and the fishermen at work.

Constructed in 1947, the Nags Head Pier stretches 750 feet into the Atlantic, making it the second oldest pier in the Outer Banks. However, it’s not the longest pier in the OBX- that title belongs to the 1,000-foot-long Jennette’s Pier. 

There is a sightseeing fee for pier visitors of $2.75 per person. If you plan on fishing, the fee is $15 for a day pass. Season passes are available for purchase if you plan on spending more time on the Nags Head Pier- and we wouldn’t blame you! 

The Nags Head Pier closes in December and welcomes visitors back in the spring. However, for the rest of the year, the pier is buzzing with activity and well worth a visit.

What to Do and See at the Nags Head Pier

Cast a Line 

Photo Credit: travelview

Also called the Nags Head Fishing Pier, it is incredibly popular for casting a line. As one of the oldest and longest surviving piers on the barrier islands, it is excellent for little ones or newcomers to hook a fish. The pier is open 24 hours for fishing, meaning you can cast under the moonlight here! 

Thanks to its proximity to the Gulf Stream, this area has some of the best fishing on the entire East Coast. Some of the fish you might encounter here include flounder, red drum, bluefish, marlin, king mackerel, tarpon, and more. 

The pier has a bait shop on site where you can grab anything from tackle to a rod! The bait and tackle shop staff are super friendly and available to offer you tips on having the best fishing experience on the Nags Head Pier. 

Cook Your Catch

Photo Credit: amenic181

If you’ve experienced some luck while fishing off the pier (fingers crossed!) You can celebrate by enjoying the Cook Your Catch experience from the Pier House Restaurant. They’ll not only clean your fish for you but also cook it to perfection and serve it to you with a side of crispy french fries, tangy coleslaw, and delicious hushpuppies. 

It doesn’t get fresher than that! 

Grab Drinks from Captain Andy’s Oceanfront Tiki Bar

Photo Credit: Ben Roussel

Looking to relax on the pier with a drink in hand? Captain Andy’s Oceanfront Tiki Bar has just the thing. Sip on specialty cocktails right on the pier while either basking in the sun, lounging in the shade, or cooling off inside.

Dig into the Freshest Seafood at the Pier House Restaurant

In addition to your fresh catch, the Pier House Restaurant serves up mouth-watering Carolina-style seafood. Pier House Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and even has live music.

People Watch

The Nags Head Pier isn’t just great for fishing- it’s excellent for sightseeing. If you want to see the gorgeous colors of the OBX sky, just take a walk on the Nags Head Pier. There’s tons of aquatic life, so turn your gaze to the sea to spot all sorts of fish and maybe even some manta rays and sea turtles!

If you really want to see some beautiful views, head to Nags Head Pier at the break of dawn to watch the lovely sunrise. 

Things to do Near Nags Head Pier

Making a full day of it? Here are some other great things to do near the Nags Head Pier!

Visit Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Photo Credit: refrina

A short drive from the pier, visiting Jockey’s Ridge State Park is one of the best things to do in the Outer Banks! Jockey’s Ridge State Park is home to the tallest living sand dunes on the East Coast. The dunes reach towering heights of over 60 feet and are perfect for hiking, sunbathing, hang gliding, kite flying, sand boarding, sand sledding, and picnics.

Relax at Dowdy Park

Photo Credit: Andrew C.

Dowdy Park is a beautiful 5-acre park located very close to the Nags Head Pier with plenty to do. The park has a large green space, picnic areas, an amphitheater, a fitness trail, pickleball and basketball courts, and a unique playground for kids.

The park also frequently hosts fun community events like farmers’ markets and summer movies in the park. You can check the event schedule on the Dowdy Park events page.

Try Surfing

Photo Credit: Karen Blaha via Flickr CC2.0

The Outer Banks are one of the best surfing destinations in the US, and the area right around Nags Head has some great waves. You can surf right at the Nags Head Pier or pretty much anywhere along the beach access points to surf the beach breaks. There are plenty of local surf shops in the area offering board rentals and lessons if you’ve never been surfing before, too. 

Cast Your Lines at Nags Head Pier

After a fun day of fishing, sightseeing, and exploring around the Nags Head Pier, the best place to rest your head is at one of our First Flight Rental homes. We offer oceanfront vacation rentals, beach houses, soundfront homes, and more. Curious about another one of the area’s most famous types of fishing? Check out our guide to surf fishing in the Outer Banks. Book your stay today, and get ready to enjoy the magic of Nags Head Pier and the Outer Banks.