Your Guide to Enjoying Summer in the Outer Banks

If you are planning on visiting the Outer Banks during the summer, you probably know that there is plenty to do. There are lots of towns scattered throughout the OBX area, with vacation rentals available everywhere from Nags Head to Kitty Hawk and from Duck to Corolla. If you are looking for a vacation rental near Hatteras Island, you need to be ready to take advantage of everything during your getaway.

What are some of the top things to do during your Outer Banks vacation, and what do you need to know about visiting during the summer?

Pros of Visiting During the Summer

There are several major advantages of visiting the Outer Banks, including Kill Devil Hills and Manteo, during the summer. Some of the benefits include:

It’s Warm Enough To Swim

If you love watersports, you need to visit during the summer. Even though the water is still relatively warm during the winter, it is not warm enough to swim. If you show up during November or December, beach vacations will not be as much fun. If you are someone who likes to swim during your visits to the beach, plan on visiting during the summer.

More Restaurants Are Open

Another highlight of visiting this family-friendly location during the summer is that more Outer Banks restaurants are open. There are plenty of beautiful oceanfront restaurants, but many of them close during the winter. If you want to enjoy the best food, you need to visit the Outer Banks during the summer.

You Can Pack Lightly

Finally, if you show up to enjoy the ocean views during the summer, you can pack lightly. You probably only need a few t-shirts, some bathing suits, and whatever you bring to the beach. There is always something going on outside when you visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina, so you can pack lightly.

Cons of Visiting During the Summer

There are a few drawbacks to visiting the Outer Banks during the summer as well. They include:

It’s More Crowded

One of the first things you will notice if you show up during the summer is that it is much more crowded. Even though you may like to check out the oceanside, if you show up later in the day, you may have a difficult time finding a spot to lay out your towel. In addition, unless you have access to a private pool, you may have a difficult time getting a chair to relax in.

It’s Hot and Muggy

It is also very hot and muggy when you visit during the summer. Therefore, you need to bring plenty of water with you. Even though your rental home will probably provide you with a great source of air conditioning, it is always hot during this time of year. Make sure you stay hydrated.

You Might Get Sunburned

Finally, you might get sunburned when you visit during the summer. It is certainly possible for you to get a sunburn during the winter if you visit Roanoke Island or the Southern Shores, but you probably will not spend as much time outside. When you are enjoying a jet ski on the water, it is easy to lose track of when you last applied sunscreen, which means you might end up getting sunburned.

Top Things To Do During the Summer

There are plenty of amazing activities during the summer in the barrier islands. Some of the top things to add to your bucket list include:

1. Enjoy the View From Jockey’s Ridge

Photo Credit: hollyshealthykitchen via Instagram

If you are looking for the most beautiful views the Outer Banks has to offer, then consider heading out to Jockey’s Ridge. This is the biggest sand dune in the area, and there are plenty of fun activities in the area. Of course, you should bring your camera to snap a few pictures, particularly during the sunset, but you may want to try hang gliding as well.

Keep in mind that this area can get busy during the summer, so you may want to try to make a reservation ahead of time. That way, you can avoid long lines.

2. Check Out the Lighthouses

Photo Credit: Susan Smith via Flickr CC2.0

During your visit to the Outer Banks, you should also take the time to check out a few of the lighthouses. There are lots of lighthouses scattered throughout the islands, but you should definitely check out the iconic lighthouse on Cape Hatteras. This is the spiral landmark that everyone knows and loves, so make your way over there at some point during your vacation.

You may also want to learn more about the history of the lighthouse, including why there are so many shipwrecks in the local area. You might even want to sign up for a tour if you want to learn as much as possible.

3. Relax on the Beach

“Kill Devil Hills NC 0312” by bobistraveling is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Of course, you should also take some time to relax on the beach. Even though the beaches can get crowded during the summer, there are always hidden spots where you can spread out. Each beach has its unique charm, so you may want to check out a handful of them during your visit.

If you want beach access to the biggest waves, particularly if you enjoy surfing, you should try to find some beaches that face the Atlantic Ocean. That way, you can truly tackle some gigantic waves at high tide! Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen!

4. Dig Into Some Fresh Seafood

Photo Credit: Austin Fish Company, Inc. via Facebook

One of the best parts of visiting the Outer Banks is the fresh seafood. Therefore, be sure to try some of the local seafood restaurants in the area. Each of them has its own specialty, so you may want to talk to the chef before you decide what to order.

Some restaurants may specialize in crab and lobster, while other restaurants may specialize in grilled fish. If you want your food to be as fresh as possible, you should ask them about the specials!

5. Visit the Lost Colony

Photo Credit:

If you love history, then you will certainly enjoy visiting the Outer Banks. Roanoke Island is one of the most popular attractions, and this is an island that has a tremendous amount of history behind it. It was one of the first locations settled by European settlers, but the colony did not last.

It has been an intense source of research during the past few hundred years, as lots of people have tried to figure out what happened to the people who settled in this area. Maybe you want to learn more about what life was like in the Lost Colony as well.

6. Take Advantage of the Watersports

Photo Credit: algrigg via Instagram

Finally, you should also take advantage of the water sports in the local area. There are plenty of opportunities to do so. For example, you may want to consider renting a canoe or kayak. Or, if you are looking for a bit more of an adrenaline rush, you may want to rent a jet ski or go whitewater rafting.

You may even want to go hang gliding where the Wright Brothers launched the first airplane. Even if you do not have a lot of experience with water sports, there are plenty of opportunities to sign up for a lesson. Do not let this chance pass you by!

Get Ready To Enjoy the Outer Banks During the Summer

Ultimately, these are just a few of the many activities you may want to try during your visit to the Outer Banks. This is an absolutely gorgeous location with plenty of fun activities at all times of the year, but if you want to take full advantage of everything this area has to offer, you should consider visiting during the summer.

Even though it can be hot and crowded, as long as you plan accordingly, you can still enjoy everything on your bucket list.

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