If you are planning a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, there are lots of villages and cities to explore. The OBX region is known for its sandy beaches, its warm water, and its friendly people.
Every town is a bit different, so you need to plan your visit carefully to pick the place that most appeals to you. Regardless of whether you plan on going kayaking, surfing, or fishing, there are plenty of opportunities to try various water sports during your vacation.
Take a look at some of the top Outer Banks cities you need to visit, and get ready for an Outer Banks vacation you will never forget.
1. Kitty Hawk
Kitty Hawk is located in the center of the Outer Banks, and it is home to some of the best North Carolina beaches in the area. Of course, Kitty Hawk is known as the location of the first flight, where the Wright Brothers first introduced man to the sky.
In addition, this city has lots of other amenities to offer as well. You can check out some of the best retail stores, local boutiques, and surf shops in the area. There are also lots of marathon races and tasting events that take place in Kitty Hawk throughout the year.
Kitty Hawk gets great weather for kiteboarding and is a popular location for people from all over the country to come to and learn this sport. If you’re interested in kiteboarding, book a stay at Waves Village for the best experience possible.
2. Nags Head
Nags Head is one of the largest cities in the Outer Banks, and it has a lot for people to offer. One of the biggest attractions is the first team shoreline, which stretches on for nearly seven miles. You can take a look at some beautiful contemporary cottages along the way.
If you want to see the largest sand dunes in the Outer Banks, you should swing by Jockey’s Ridge State Park. If you are willing to brave the wind, you may want to bring a blanket and a picnic basket. Nags Head is also one of the best places for people who love fishing.
There’s a lot of great vacation rentals in Nags Head, so you can easily find the perfect one for you and your family.
3. Kill Devil Hills
Kill Devil Hills is one of the oldest towns in the Outer Banks, and it is a great location for people who like to stay active during vacation. Kill Devil Hills arguably has the best food scene in the local area, so if you consider yourself a foodie, this is probably the place to go.
You can also access a wide variety of oceanfront vacation rentals that make it easier for you to relax on the beach. If you want to learn more about the history of the area, you should swing by the Wright Brothers National Memorial, which is located in Kill Devil Hills as well. You can even see a life-sized replica of the airplane.
Don’t forget to swing by the fishing pier to test your luck!
Rodanthe is another city where you can go to escape the hustle and bustle of the Outer Banks and enjoy a peaceful vacation rental instead. This is one of the best locations for people who love water sports. You can try kayaking, kiteboarding, and windsurfing in the nearby Pamlico Sound.
The water is crystal clear, there are lessons available, and you can let the ocean wash your stresses away. You may also want to swing by the Rodanthe fishing pier to take a look at some gift shops and get a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. If you are looking for fresh seafood, this is probably the best place to find it.
If you are looking for anything related to the beach, you need to swing by Hatteras. It is known for its white sandy beaches, its fishing charters, and its rolling waves. In particular, this is the place to go if you love fishing, because you can take part in a fishing tournament. If you swing by Hatteras Village, you will see some of the best stores in the Outer Banks area. You can also swing by the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum to learn more about why Hatteras has been such a common location for shipwrecks throughout the centuries. You may want to explore Cape Hatteras National Seashore as well.
If you are looking for some amazing shopping and a great boardwalk, you should swing by Duck. There are a lot of small boutiques that will make for the vacation of a lifetime. As the name suggests, there are plenty of ducks that live in the area. If you enjoy hunting, this could be the location for you to explore.
This is also the home of Duck Donuts, a popular local donut shop. You may want to check out the duck Yuletide celebration if you visit at the right time. There is always something going on at Duck Town Park, so do not forget to take a look at the calendar before you visit.
7. Southern Shores
If you are looking for a city that will help you get away from everything else, then you should head to the Southern Shores. This is a city that is known for its amazing natural landscapes and its clean beaches.
If you head into town, you can check out a few golf courses, some biking trails, and some delicious restaurants. If you have a boat, you might want to dock it at the marina. There are also a lot of entertaining spots nearby if you find yourself craving a bit of nightlife.
This area is the perfect place for families to kick back and relax.
Waves is another great location for people who are looking for watersports. Some of the biggest surf shops are located in Waves, including REAL Watersports. You can find the city located on the northern part of Hatteras Island, and there are a number of shops and restaurants.
Even though the town is a bit smaller than some of the other options, the food is still delicious. There are plenty of places for you to recharge your batteries before you head back out to the water!
Another town that you need to check out during your visit to the Outer Banks is Corolla. This is a city that is known for its rolling sand dunes, its cozy retreats, and its wild horses. In particular, you should keep your eyes open for the local Spanish Mustang, which is something that you may have a difficult time finding anywhere else.
You can even sign up for a guided tour of the city while you are here. During your visit, be sure to visit the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. If you climb to the top, you’ll be treated to an unparalleled view of the Outer Banks.
If you are looking for a relatively quiet area on Hatteras Island, you may want to swing by Frisco. It is often overlooked because there are bigger cities around it, but it is home to the Frisco Native American Museum, which will teach you more about the natives who lived in the area before the arrival of European settlers.
Furthermore, because it is often overlooked, and there is plenty of room to spread out on the unspoiled beaches. In addition, you can relax on the Frisco Pier with a fishing rod and try to catch your dinner.
Salvo is a great location for families with children. It is a relatively quiet town, and there is plenty of space to spread out. You can sit back on the beach and sunbathe all day without being disturbed. If you are looking for a place to hang out, you may want to check out the Salvo Day Use Area.
It has public restrooms, and it is a great place to watch the sun come up and go down. If you are looking for your adrenaline rush, you still have access to the Pamlico Sound, where you can go surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, and more.
Manteo is located on Roanoke Island in Dare County. It is also home to some amazing amenities. The downtown area has some of the best restaurants in the Outer Banks. You can explore art galleries, modern exhibits, visit the aquarium and historic homes.
You may even want to take a boat tour that leads from the Manteo Waterfront Marina. This is another way to learn more about the Outer Banks region. You can also learn more about the history of the area if you visit the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.
Buxton is a relatively small town that has something for people of all ages. For example, you may want to swing by Cape Point, which is one of the most popular locations to go fishing. Arguably, Buxton is home to the biggest landmark in the OBX area, which is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It looks like it has twin black and white spirals leading up to the top. There is a museum nearby that will tell you everything you need to know about this historic lighthouse.
Then, don’t forget to swing by Kite Point or Canadian Hole to try windsurfing. You can also check out the Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve to learn more about the marine life in the area.
Ocracoke Island is one of the pearls of the Outer Banks. It is a popular destination among people who are looking for peace and quiet. There are plenty of historical sites to check out, including the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina.
There are lots of wildlife attractions as well, such as Springer’s Point. If you are heading to town, you can also check out some of the best shopping and dining opportunities in the region. If you are looking for a memorable stay, do not overlook this option.
Avon is situated in the central portion of Hatteras Island. There are lots of attractions that will keep you entertained during the entire trip. The biggest attraction is the Avon Pier. This is the best place to go surfing, and you can grab a snack from the local snack bar. If you stay out at night, you might even spot a few hours.
If you are looking for some beautiful gardens and old houses, you may want to swing by Kinnakeet Village. There is a lot of history in this small town, so make sure you take advantage of it.
Plan Your Next Trip to the Outer Banks on the East Coast
Ultimately, there are lots of cities for you to explore in the Outer Banks. Each one is different, so you may want to plan on coming back multiple times to make sure you don’t miss anything. There are plenty of beach accesses in these cities, and you will be treated to some unparalleled views of the Atlantic Ocean. The barrier islands of Virginia and North Carolina have a lot to offer, so consider checking out a few soundside vacation homes for your next visit.