The Outer Banks is famous for its beautiful beaches and stunning views. One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the Outer Banks is to wake up early and watch a stunning sunrise over the Atlantic ocean. With miles of pristine coastline, there are plenty of spots to catch a breathtaking sunrise. From Carova to Hatteras Village, here is our list of the best places to see a sunrise on the Outer Banks.
Carova 4x4 Beach
If you have a 4x4 vehicle and are up for a mini adventure, head to the northernmost beach on the Outer Banks. Carova 4x4 Beach can only be accessed by driving bwyond the northernmost paved point of NC12 and onto the sand. Parking anywhere along the remote beach, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning sunrise over the ocean, and with a little luck, views of Carova's herd of wild Spanish mustangs.
Corolla Beach Access Points
The town of Corolla has several beach access points that offer excellent sunrise views, along with amenities like parking, showers, and restrooms. Here's a list with map links:
With public parking, located on the following streets in Corolla:
- Corolla Village Road - restrooms, showers, parking, and lifeguards
- Shad Street - parking, lifeguards
- Bonito Street - parking, lifeguards
- Sailfish Walkway - parking, lifeguards
- Yaupon Lane - restrooms, showers, parking, and lifeguards
Without parking, at the following locations:
- Tuna Street
- Barracuda Walkway
- Herring Walkway
- Perch Street
- Mackeral Walkway
- Coral Walkway
- Marlin Walkway
- Dolphin Street
- Albacore Street
Kitty Hawk Pier
One of the most iconic piers on the Outer Banks, Kitty Hawk Pier is part of the Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks property. Beach access is free, and there is a small fee to walk onto the pier. You’ll get a perfect view of the sun rising over the ocean, and you might even see some surfers catching early morning waves.
Another great pier to watch the sunrise is Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills. The pier opens early between March and November, so you can catch the sunrise while standing out above the ocean surf.
Outer Banks Fishing Pier
Outer Banks Fishing Pier is a popular spot for fishing and watching the sunrise. The pier is open before sunrise in season.
Located in Nags Head, Jennette's Pier is another great spot to watch the sunrise. This concrete pier offers several benches, a panoramic view of the ocean, and has a great atmosphere for a peaceful morning.
Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse
For a spectacular non-ocean sunrise view, head to the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse and boardwalk at the downtown Manteo waterfront. The lighthouse offers a stunning view of the sunrise over the Shallowbag Bay.
Bodie Island Lighthouse
Another lighthouse that offers a great sunrise view is the Bodie Island Lighthouse in South Nags Head. The lighthouse isn't open for climbing at sunrise, but you can catch a beautiful view from the park's marshfront gazebo and wooden walkway.
Bonner Bridge Pier
If you’re willing to wake up early, head to the South end of Bonner Bridge and take an immediate left. The Bonner bridge pier is an old section of the Basnight bridge offers great views of the new Bonner Bridge, a stream of charter fishing boats leaving Oregon Inlet, and views of the old Oregon Inlet Lifesaving Station. It's open 24 hours per day and features plenty of parking.
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
One of the most picturesque spots on the Outer Banks, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to watch the sunrise. You can park at the Pea Island visitors center and walk along the beautiful, natural, secluded beach.
Located in the heart of Rodanthe, the Rodanthe Pier offers a great view of the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. The pier is open early, so you can catch the sunrise while sitting in a comfortable chair or strolling the length of the pier.