Our 2020 guide to socially-distant FUN on the Outer Banks!

The Outer Banks offers plenty of opportunities for a healthy, family fun vacation. Visitors can spread out over more than 100 miles of pristine shoreline.  For Fall 2020, local restaurants and eateries are providing abundant takeout and delivery options.  Also, there’s no risk of boredom with our list of social-distancing compatible activities! It’s no wonder that vacationers are turning to the Outer Banks for a fun, relaxing, and safe vacation during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Here are our picks for outdoor attractions, parks and activities where it’s easy to maintain social distancing guidelines while having 100% of the fun. Official COVID-19 Information: Currituck County - Carova, Corolla | Dare County - Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Manteo, Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras Village | Hyde County - Ocracoke

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Vacation Rental Homes

Vacation rental homes are the most popular way to stay on the Outer Banks. We're famous for our selection of professionally-managed homes with plenty of space for the whole family, and plenty of space between families. Local property management companies have implemented extra stringent cleaning protocols for Fall 2020. The following local companies represent over 5000 rental homes on the Outer Banks. **Note: Booking volume is high since the May 16th re-opening announcement. We recommend booking soon for best selection.**

KEES Vacations
KEES Vacations
Point Harbor
Vacation Rental Company
Outer Beaches Realty
Outer Beaches Realty
Avon
Vacation Rental Company
Twiddy & Company
Twiddy & Company
Corolla
Vacation Rental Company
Resort Realty
Resort Realty
Corolla, Duck, Hatteras, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head
Vacation Rental Company
Hatteras Realty
Hatteras Realty
Avon, Hatteras, Waves
Vacation Rental Company
Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates
Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates
Kitty Hawk
Vacation Rental Company
Beach Realty and Construction
Beach Realty and Construction
Corolla, Duck, Kitty Hawk
Vacation Rental Company
Surf or Sound Realty
Surf or Sound Realty
Avon
Vacation Rental Company
Sun Realty
Sun Realty
Avon, Corolla , Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Salvo
Vacation Rental Company
Southern Shores Realty
Southern Shores Realty
Southern Shores
Vacation Rental Company

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Meals

Takeout and Delivery: Craving some fresh local fare? Outer Banks restaurants are serving tasty meals for takeout and delivery. Check out our list of local restaurants offering excellent local food for Fall 2020.

Groceries: The Outer Banks has several grocery store options, listed below:

Corolla
Food Lion
Harris Teeter

Kitty Hawk
Walmart
Food Lion

Kill Devil Hills
Food Lion
Publix
Harris Teeter

Nags Head
Fresh Market
Food Lion

Manteo
Food-A-Rama

Avon
Food Lion

Buxton
Conner's Supermarket

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Outdoor Outer Banks Destinations

The Outer Banks is well known for its attractions, and COVID-19 era visitors will discover that a number of the region’s famed landmarks and destinations will still be open to visitors for the Fall of 2020. Popular sites and destinations for off-the-beach explorations or day trips are as follows.

4x4 Beaches

Carova's 4x4 beach

The two main 4x4 beach access areas are:

One of the reasons so many vacationers flock to the Outer Banks is the thrill of driving on the beach, a rare privilege that few East Coast beach vacation destinations can offer. On the Outer Banks, beach driving enthusiasts will find miles of shoreline to explore, from the uninhabited shoreline along Ocracoke Island to the solely 4WD accessible beaches of Carova, north of Corolla.

See our full guide to the 4x4 beaches and the recommended equipment for 4x4 beach adventures.

Don't have a 4x4 vehicle? No worries! See the 4x4 beach area and wild horses on an award-winning wild horse tour.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park (Nags Head)

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Jockeys Ridge State Park

Jockey’s Ridge State Park has a lot to offer visitors on the hunt for an outdoor adventure. The expansive 427-acre park in Nags Head features the highest naturally-formed sand dunes on the East Coast, as well as a network of walking trails, wildlife viewing and birdwatching opportunities, and soundfront beaches that are ideal for swimming, kiteboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, and fishing.

Additional allures to Jockey’s Ridge State Park include the following:

  • Sunsets – Head to the top of one of Jockey’s Ridge State Park’s famous 80’ to 100’ ft. tall sand dunes to catch an incredible sunset and a bird’s eye perspective of the central Outer Banks, or follow the park’s access road to the sound to catch a sunset over the water.
  • Hang gliding lessons – Jockey’s Ridge State Park is renowned as a hang gliding destination for visitors throughout the world, and is wonderfully located across the highway from Kitty Hawk Kite’s flagship store, where hang gliding lessons are seasonally offered. In addition, the Kitty Hawk Kites store features a wide array of kites, sports equipment, watersports gear, gifts, and other treats to make a day of exploring the park an enjoyable breeze.

Historic Corolla Park (Corolla)

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Bridge to Whalehead in Historic Corolla

Situated in the heart of Corolla, Historic Corolla Park borders an array of central attractions, including the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the famed 1920s Whalehead Club. 

The 39-acre park also features a wealth of activities for everyday visitors, including fishing, watersports via easy Currituck Sound access, and plenty of room to roam.

Additional activities enjoyed at Historic Corolla Park include the following.

  • Sunsets – Head to the water’s edge at the Historic Corolla Park for a gorgeous sunset over the Currituck Sound. The park features ample greenspaces and grassy areas to lay out a beach blanket or chair, and to enjoy the natural show.
  • Crabbing and Fishing - Historic Corolla Park has a number of barely-inland ponds and soundside beaches, which makes it a popular destination for crabbing, fishing, an wildlife watching. Bring along the kayaks to explore the park in-depth, which includes the miles of calm and shallow Currituck Sound waters.
  • Picnics – The Historic Corolla Park is an ideal spot to enjoy a to-go meal from one of the region’s many restaurants that are currently open for take-out and delivery, and visitors can find both sunny and shaded spots thanks to a sprinkling of ancient and towering live oaks. Bring along the beach chairs and picnic blankets, or just spread out at one of the park’s many picnic tables, (which are scattered throughout the site), to have picturesque views of the neighboring Currituck Beach Lighthouse and Whalehead Club attractions.

Duck Town Park and Boardwalk (Duck)

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Duck NC Town Park and Boardwalk

In previous years, the Duck Town Park was the hopping site of a majority of town festivities, such as weekly movie nights, holiday celebrations, and the annual Duck Jazz Festival. Though large-scale events may be canceled, the Duck Town Park still offers a wealth of activities for visitors to enjoy, which includes a soundfront boardwalk, a playground, multiple picnic and playing areas, and boat ramps and launches for small vessels and kayaks.

Well-known as a central watersports launch, sunset spot, and great off-the-ocean place to relax, the Duck Town Park is easily enjoyable with or without a headlining event.  

Wright Brothers National Memorial (Kill Devil Hills)

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Wright Brothers National Memorial

National Park-managed facilities and historic site throughout the Outer Banks are in the process of eopening to visitors, and this includes one of the most famous landmarks on the Outer Banks, the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Located in the central town of Kill Devil Hills, the Wright Brothers National Memorial commemorates the first successful flight by the Wright Brothers, which took place on December 17, 1903. Fall of 2020 visitors can get an up-close view of the granite monument, and can enjoy long walking trails to the top of the iconic hill where the Wright Brothers’ first launched their initial flight for a bird’s eye view of the surrounding OBX communities. Visitors facilities, which includes restrooms and exhibits, may also be open in the near future for visitors.

Elizabethan Gardens (Manteo)

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Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo

The Elizabethan Gardens, which officially opens for 2020 on May 16, features acres of beautiful grounds to explore in a strictly outdoor environment, complete with seasonal blooms, soundfront views, and lots of outdoor artworks, statues and stunning historical exhibits. The popular Roanoke Island attractions will welcome up to 50 guests at a time in 2020, allowing visitors to safely explore the historic site while still maintaining social distancing guidelines. Featuring 10-acres of beautifully manicured grounds and exhibits, and boasting an outdoor plant sale and other safe enticements for 2020, the Elizabethan Gardens is an enticing day-trip destination for visitors throughout the OBX.

Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Lighthouses

Map Bodie Island Lighthouse
Map Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse

Though the Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Lighthouses may be closed or offering limited climbing tours in 2020, these two iconic Cape Hatteras National Seashore landmarks nonetheless have an array of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy on the surrounding lighthouse grounds.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse, located just north of Oregon Inlet, features several walking trails and nearby boardwalks that lead all the way to the sound waters and wildlife viewing platforms and / or boardwalks, while the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a shell’s throw away from walking and hiking trails, oceanfront beaches, and the historic World War II-era British Cemetery. As such, both sites, (which may continually have open facilities for visitors such as public restrooms), are fun options for both exploring the history of the Outer Banks, and to enjoy an outdoor off-the-beach stroll.

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Solo and Family-Group Activities

One of the biggest allures of the Outer Banks to visitors is that it doesn’t take much effort to enjoy a wealth of safe and fun activities in the great outdoors. With more than a hundred miles of shoreline to go around, there are ample solo or group adventures that families can plan while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Add a dose of adventure to your Fall 2020 vacation, and explore the many activities that can be enjoyed just steps away from your vacation rental or accommodations. From boat rentals to horseback riding, the Outer Banks is designed for exploring the great outdoors in relative solitude.

Beach Games

Check out our picks for the best beach games of 2020.

Below is a photo of Tidal Ball, which was born in South Carolina. Sort of like corn hole, but the beach is your battlefield.

Amusements

Relax with the family over a round of miniature golf. Spend some of that pent-up energy at a trampoline park. Get spooked on a ghost tour. Experience the wonder that is Kitty Hawk Kites in Nags Head. There is no shortage of fun activities and wonders to discover during your Outer Banks visit.

Kitty Hawk Kites
Kitty Hawk Kites
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Hatteras, Manteo, Nags Head, Ocracoke, Rodanthe
Air Tours, Amusements, Bike Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Fishing, Fishing Charters, Hang Gliding, Horseback Riding, Indoor Activities, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Kitesurfing Lessons, Kitesurfing Rentals, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Rainy Day Activities, Sailing, Sailing Tours, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Tours, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Wild Horse Tours, Wine And Beer Tours
Beach Braids
Beach Braids
Corolla, Duck, Nags Head
Amusements, Art Stores & Galleries, Crafting Activities, Indoor Activities, Jewelry Stores, Kid Friendly Activities, Rainy Day Activities
Lost Treasure Golf
Lost Treasure Golf
Kill Devil Hills
Amusements, Indoor Activities, Kid Friendly Activities, Miniature Golf, Rainy Day Activities

All amusements

Tours

See dolphins, wild horses and hundreds of other native Outer Banks species. Take a ride on a 4x4-only beach. Kayak the famous Currituck Sound. Walk around the Elizabeth II, a full size replica of the ships that carried explorers to America. Take a spooky ghost tour.

Kitty Hawk Kites
Kitty Hawk Kites
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Hatteras, Manteo, Nags Head, Ocracoke, Rodanthe
Air Tours, Amusements, Bike Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Fishing, Fishing Charters, Hang Gliding, Horseback Riding, Indoor Activities, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Kitesurfing Lessons, Kitesurfing Rentals, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Rainy Day Activities, Sailing, Sailing Tours, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Tours, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Wild Horse Tours, Wine And Beer Tours
Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports
Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports
Duck
Boat Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Entertainment And Shows, Equipment Rentals, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Specialty Services, Tours
Back Country Safari Tours
Back Country Safari Tours
Corolla
Educational Activities, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Nature Spots, Scenic Spots, Tours, Wild Horse Tours
Paradise Dolphin Cruises
Paradise Dolphin Cruises
Wanchese
Boat Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Nature Spots, Tours
Wild Horse Adventure Tours
Wild Horse Adventure Tours
Corolla
Nature Spots, Tours, Wild Horse Tours
North Beach Watersports
North Beach Watersports
Corolla
Boat Rentals, Boat Tours, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboarding Lessons, Parasailing, Tours
Bob's Wild Horse Adventure Tours
Bob's Wild Horse Adventure Tours
Corolla
Educational Activities, Kid Friendly Activities, Nature Spots, Scenic Spots, Tours, Wild Horse Tours
Captain Johnny's Dolphin Tours
Captain Johnny's Dolphin Tours
Manteo
Birding Spots, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, History, Kid Friendly Activities, Nature Spots, Scenic Spots, Tours, Wedding Ceremony Sites, Wedding Limos And Transportation
Corolla Wild Horse Fund
Corolla Wild Horse Fund
Corolla
Book Stores, Educational Activities, Gifts And Specialty Items, History, Kid Friendly Activities, Nature Spots, Scenic Spots, Tours, Wild Horse Tours
Nags Head Dolphin Watch
Nags Head Dolphin Watch
Manteo, Nags Head
Birding Spots, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, History, Kid Friendly Activities, Nature Spots, Scenic Spots, Tours
Ocean Atlantic Rentals
Ocean Atlantic Rentals
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Kill Devil Hills
Bike Rentals, Equipment Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboard Rentals, Surfboard Rentals, Tours, Wedding Equipment Rental
Roanoke Island Festival Park
Roanoke Island Festival Park
Manteo
Birding Spots, Educational Activities, Gifts And Specialty Items, History, Kid Friendly Activities, Nature Spots, Scenic Spots, Tours, Wedding Ceremony Sites

All available tours

Kayak Rentals & Tours

With most Outer Banks communities bordering the region’s miles-wide sounds, (such as the Pamlico Sound, Albemarle Sound, Roanoke Sound or Currituck Sound), it’s no wonder that virtually every town and village has multiple options when it comes to kayak rentals and tours.

Stop by a local watersports company like Kitty Hawk Kites to rent a kayak for an hour, day, or for a full vacation, or ask about private or small group tours that may be offered during the 2020 season. Public and private boat ramps and launch points are located throughout the OBX, and especially along more isolated shorelines like the Cape Hatteras National Seashore on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, and your kayak rental provider can help you determine the best spots to explore.

In addition, the Outer Banks offers an array of soundfront, canalfront, oceanfront and other waterfront vacation rental homes and condos, which means that it’s easy to rent a kayak and enjoy an on-the-water adventure from your own backyard.

Kitty Hawk Surf Co.
Kitty Hawk Surf Co.
Corolla, Duck, Nags Head, Rodanthe
Clothing Stores, Educational Activities, Equipment Rentals, Fishing Charters, Gifts And Specialty Items, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Specialty Services, Surf Shops, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Swimwear
Moneysworth Rentals
Moneysworth Rentals
Corolla, Kitty Hawk, Waves
Equipment Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kid Friendly Activities, Medical Facilities, Paddleboard Rentals, Rainy Day Activities, Specialty Services, Surfboard Rentals
Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports
Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports
Duck
Boat Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Entertainment And Shows, Equipment Rentals, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Specialty Services, Tours
Kitty Hawk Kites
Kitty Hawk Kites
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Hatteras, Manteo, Nags Head, Ocracoke, Rodanthe
Air Tours, Amusements, Bike Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Fishing, Fishing Charters, Hang Gliding, Horseback Riding, Indoor Activities, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Kitesurfing Lessons, Kitesurfing Rentals, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Rainy Day Activities, Sailing, Sailing Tours, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Tours, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Wild Horse Tours, Wine And Beer Tours
North Beach Watersports
North Beach Watersports
Corolla
Boat Rentals, Boat Tours, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboarding Lessons, Parasailing, Tours
Ocean Atlantic Rentals
Ocean Atlantic Rentals
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Kill Devil Hills
Bike Rentals, Equipment Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboard Rentals, Surfboard Rentals, Tours, Wedding Equipment Rental

All kayak rental & tour companies

Charter Fishing

With the Outer Banks opening to visitors, many charter boat captains are open for business and are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of their passengers for the 2020 season. Because charter boats generally have a capacity for 6-8 people maximum, a charter fishing adventure is a great small-group activity for anglers who want an opportunity to reel in the best catches that the Outer Banks and its surrounding waters has to offer.

Visitors can contact local marinas in Wanchese, Hatteras village, Ocracoke, and the Oregon Inlet Marina for more information on available charter fishing trips during their dates of stay. With a wide array of options, which includes inshore trips, nearshore trips, and half-day or full-day offshore fishing trips to the Gulf Stream, charter fishing is an unforgettable adventure that fishermen throughout the Outer Banks can enjoy with ease.

Kitty Hawk Kites
Kitty Hawk Kites
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Hatteras, Manteo, Nags Head, Ocracoke, Rodanthe
Air Tours, Amusements, Bike Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Fishing, Fishing Charters, Hang Gliding, Horseback Riding, Indoor Activities, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Kitesurfing Lessons, Kitesurfing Rentals, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Rainy Day Activities, Sailing, Sailing Tours, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Tours, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Wild Horse Tours, Wine And Beer Tours
Kitty Hawk Surf Co.
Kitty Hawk Surf Co.
Corolla, Duck, Nags Head, Rodanthe
Clothing Stores, Educational Activities, Equipment Rentals, Fishing Charters, Gifts And Specialty Items, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Specialty Services, Surf Shops, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Swimwear

Boat Rentals

Visitors who want to explore the open waters on their own will find that there are several watersports companies throughout the Outer Banks may offer daily or hourly boat rentals. Vessels can range from small skiffs and John boats to more luxurious charter boats, and are often available through local marinas and private providers. Tutorials and instructions are often provided for newcomers, and boat rentals are equipped with all the safety equipment required to enjoy a full and stress-free day on the open waters that surround the Outer Banks. 

Fishing Unlimited Boating Center
Fishing Unlimited Boating Center
Nags Head
Boat Rentals
North Beach Watersports
North Beach Watersports
Corolla
Boat Rentals, Boat Tours, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboarding Lessons, Parasailing, Tours
Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports
Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports
Duck
Boat Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Entertainment And Shows, Equipment Rentals, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Specialty Services, Tours

All boat rental companies

Jet Ski Rentals

Jet Ski or wave runner rentals are also widely available throughout the Outer Banks, and provide a fun and thrilling means of exploring the miles of wide-open sound waters. Jet Ski rental providers are available in Ocracoke Island, Nags Head, Roanoke Island, the central and northern Outer Banks, and on Hatteras Island in the Tri-villages communities of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo, ensuring that virtually all visitors are close to this fun on-the-water adventure. Jet Skis can traditionally accommodate two passengers at most, and are typically available to rent on an hourly basis. Be sure and call ahead to ensure rentals are available, and to obtain info on safety precautions and procedures when visiting your watersports provider.

Kitty Hawk Kites
Kitty Hawk Kites
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Hatteras, Manteo, Nags Head, Ocracoke, Rodanthe
Air Tours, Amusements, Bike Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Fishing, Fishing Charters, Hang Gliding, Horseback Riding, Indoor Activities, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Kitesurfing Lessons, Kitesurfing Rentals, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Rainy Day Activities, Sailing, Sailing Tours, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Tours, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Wild Horse Tours, Wine And Beer Tours
North Beach Watersports
North Beach Watersports
Corolla
Boat Rentals, Boat Tours, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboarding Lessons, Parasailing, Tours
Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports
Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports
Duck
Boat Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Entertainment And Shows, Equipment Rentals, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Specialty Services, Tours
Kitty Hawk Surf Co.
Kitty Hawk Surf Co.
Corolla, Duck, Nags Head, Rodanthe
Clothing Stores, Educational Activities, Equipment Rentals, Fishing Charters, Gifts And Specialty Items, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Specialty Services, Surf Shops, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Swimwear

All jet ski rental companies

Bicycle Rentals

The Outer Banks is an ideal spot to explore by bicycle, as the communities throughout the islands have pedestrian trails, quiet and safe neighborhoods, state and national parks, and ample isolated regions to safely discover. Beach gear equipment rental providers, as well as watersports rental companies, often rent bicycles to vacationers as well, which can be available on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis. Isolated corners of the OBX like Hatteras Island have paved pedestrian paths throughout the village communities, which makes it easy to explore while avoiding the highway traffic, and many vacation rentals offer under-house storage areas to safely keep your bikes when not in use.

Ocean Atlantic Rentals
Ocean Atlantic Rentals
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Kill Devil Hills
Bike Rentals, Equipment Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboard Rentals, Surfboard Rentals, Tours, Wedding Equipment Rental
Kitty Hawk Kites
Kitty Hawk Kites
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Hatteras, Manteo, Nags Head, Ocracoke, Rodanthe
Air Tours, Amusements, Bike Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Fishing, Fishing Charters, Hang Gliding, Horseback Riding, Indoor Activities, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Kitesurfing Lessons, Kitesurfing Rentals, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Rainy Day Activities, Sailing, Sailing Tours, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Tours, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Wild Horse Tours, Wine And Beer Tours

All bicycle rental companies

SUP rentals

Stand-up paddle boarding, (or SUP), is quickly becoming one of the most popular watersports on the Outer Banks simply because it’s a sport that is easy to learn, and easy to enjoy in virtually every OBX community. As such, hourly, daily or weekly SUP board rentals can be found in every community along the Outer Banks, from Corolla to Ocracoke. Several watersports companies may also be offering small group tours or individual lessons in the fall season for folks who want to make the most out of their SUP adventures, so be sure and check with your local watersports equipment provider to see what excursions and options may be available in addition to rental equipment.

All SUP rental companies

Surfboard Rentals

Surfing has been a popular Outer Banks pastime for literal generations, and many watersports companies and rental equipment companies offer surfboard rentals on an hourly, daily or weekly basis for visitors who want to ride the waves. Surfing lessons may also be available in the 2020 season on an individual basis, or for small family groups, for folks who are new to the sport and who want a little guidance on learning the basics. Call your local watersports or surf shop for information on lessons, and check out popular surfing beaches like the “S-Curves,” (located just north of Rodanthe), or the Old Lighthouse Beach in Buxton, to discover some of the top-rated surfing beaches along the East Coast.

Moneysworth Rentals
Moneysworth Rentals
Corolla, Kitty Hawk, Waves
Equipment Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kid Friendly Activities, Medical Facilities, Paddleboard Rentals, Rainy Day Activities, Specialty Services, Surfboard Rentals
Kitty Hawk Surf Co.
Kitty Hawk Surf Co.
Corolla, Duck, Nags Head, Rodanthe
Clothing Stores, Educational Activities, Equipment Rentals, Fishing Charters, Gifts And Specialty Items, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Specialty Services, Surf Shops, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Swimwear
Kitty Hawk Kites
Kitty Hawk Kites
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Hatteras, Manteo, Nags Head, Ocracoke, Rodanthe
Air Tours, Amusements, Bike Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Fishing, Fishing Charters, Hang Gliding, Horseback Riding, Indoor Activities, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Kitesurfing Lessons, Kitesurfing Rentals, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Rainy Day Activities, Sailing, Sailing Tours, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Tours, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Wild Horse Tours, Wine And Beer Tours
Ocean Atlantic Rentals
Ocean Atlantic Rentals
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Kill Devil Hills
Bike Rentals, Equipment Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboard Rentals, Surfboard Rentals, Tours, Wedding Equipment Rental

All surfboard rental companies

Parasailing

Parasailing presents a surprisingly relaxed and stunning way to take in the beauty of the Outer Banks from an aerial perspective, and several parasailing tour companies have confirmed that they will operate for the 2020 fall season. A parasailing adventure typically entails just one to two passengers, and it propels folks hundreds of feet into the air from a safe launch via the back of the boat for an otherworldly view of the surrounding coastal terrain. Most parasailing providers are taking extra precautions to ensure visitors’ safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, and adventurers can contact the parasailing tour company directly for additional information on reservations and availability.

Duck Corolla Parasail
Duck Corolla Parasail
Duck
Kid Friendly Activities, Parasailing, Scenic Spots
Kitty Hawk Surf Co.
Kitty Hawk Surf Co.
Corolla, Duck, Nags Head, Rodanthe
Clothing Stores, Educational Activities, Equipment Rentals, Fishing Charters, Gifts And Specialty Items, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Specialty Services, Surf Shops, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Swimwear
North Beach Watersports
North Beach Watersports
Corolla
Boat Rentals, Boat Tours, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboarding Lessons, Parasailing, Tours
Kitty Hawk Kites
Kitty Hawk Kites
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Hatteras, Manteo, Nags Head, Ocracoke, Rodanthe
Air Tours, Amusements, Bike Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Fishing, Fishing Charters, Hang Gliding, Horseback Riding, Indoor Activities, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Kitesurfing Lessons, Kitesurfing Rentals, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Rainy Day Activities, Sailing, Sailing Tours, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Tours, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Wild Horse Tours, Wine And Beer Tours
Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports
Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports
Duck
Boat Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Entertainment And Shows, Equipment Rentals, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Specialty Services, Tours

All parasailing companies

Camping

The Outer Banks is home to a number of both public and privately-managed campgrounds, which includes four campgrounds that are located within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. As the OBX opens to visitors, these campgrounds will likely follow suit, and an isolated campsite can be a fine destination for visitors who want to stay in the great outdoors while still keeping their distance. A number of campgrounds offer both tent and RV sites, complete with electric, water, cable hook-ups, and wireless internet access, and many private campgrounds also feature outdoor amenities, such as community pools, beach accesses, on-site convenience stores, picnic areas, playgrounds, and more. Be sure and reserve your campsite in advance, and to contact your campground of choice directly to see how and when they are accepting reservations for the fall of 2020.

All campgrounds

Ghost Crab Hunting

The Outer Banks has its own unique version of wild nightlife, and this is evident to any visitor who heads to the shoreline after hours with a flashlight in hand. Ghost crabs frequent the beaches at night, and visitors who take a post-sunset stroll on the sand will likely encounter dozens of these small creatures feeding and racing along the beaches. Have fun hunting, but just remember to leave the ghost crabs alone and only “hunt” with a flashlight. Like all wildlife on the Outer Banks, the ghost crabs are an integral part of the local ecosystem and should be left to their own devices.

Beach Bonfires

See our beach bonfires guide here
Many town and local beaches along the Outer Banks allow beach bonfires, provided they are well-manned and attended, and occur below the natural high tide line. While additional guidelines or rules may apply, depending on the OBX community, for the most part, a beach bonfire is a family-friendly activity that can be enjoyed with ease. Note that on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, which are part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a beach fire permit from the National Park Service is required, and can be easily picked up at one of the National Seashore’s local visitors centers, or online at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s primary website.

Windsurfing Lessons and Rentals

Windsurfing is a longtime popular Outer Banks sport, and especially in the spring and fall months, and a number of watersports companies are offering both equipment rentals and individual or small group lessons for the 2020 season. Check out popular hotspots and access points for windsurfing for the best local conditions, such as the Canadian Hole soundside access beach on Hatteras Island, and check the weather before your trip to ensure that conditions are optional for enjoying the ride, (typically winds of 10 mph or higher are best for all wind-based watersports.

All windsurfing companies

Kiteboarding lessons and rentals

Kiteboarding has become one of the biggest watersports on the Outer Banks in recent years, and visitors will find there are still ample opportunities to enjoy this solo sport, despite the COVID-19 global pandemic. Equipment rentals can be obtained through multiple providers along the Outer Banks - as can individual or small-group lessons - and there may even be immersive camps available for small groups, such as families or small clusters of friends. For optimal kiteboarding conditions, check out public soundside beaches including Sandy Bay north of Hatteras village, Kite Point north of Buxton, and the Salvo Day Use area just south of Salvo. All of these Cape Hatteras National Seashore sound-facing beaches have miles of room to roam, and some of the most exceptional kiteboarding conditions along the East Coast, when the weather and winds cooperate.

All kiteboarding companies

Introductory Hang Gliding Lessons

Hang gliding is a solo or tandem experience that is arguably best enjoyed on the Outer Banks, and specifically at the Jockey’s Ridge State Park, simply because of the presence of the highest natural sand dunes along the East Coast. With Jockey’s Ridge State Park located directly across the Beach Bypass from Kitty Hawk Kites’ flagship store in Nags Head, it’s a breeze to sign up for introductory lessons and to literally take your vacation adventures to new heights. Not ready for a high flying expedition? Then stop by the Kitty Hawk Kites store to pick up a few traditional and / or unique kites, which can be easily enjoyed in the heart of Jockey’s Ridge State Park as well.

Kitty Hawk Kites
Kitty Hawk Kites
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Hatteras, Manteo, Nags Head, Ocracoke, Rodanthe
Air Tours, Amusements, Bike Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Fishing, Fishing Charters, Hang Gliding, Horseback Riding, Indoor Activities, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Kitesurfing Lessons, Kitesurfing Rentals, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Rainy Day Activities, Sailing, Sailing Tours, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Tours, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Wild Horse Tours, Wine And Beer Tours

All hang gliding companies

Wild Horse Tours

The wild horses of the 4WD-accessible only beaches north of Corolla remain one of the Outer Banks’ most enthralling attractions, and individual and small group tours are available for 2020 visitors who want an up-close encounter with these historic and enchanting residents. Ask ahead about reserving all seats for a group tour to ensure that your family can maintain social distancing, or consider a privately guided beach tour for exploring the unique, more-than-12 miles of desolate shoreline that’s located just north of Corolla. With ample options, visitors can customize a wild horse tour to accommodate their party size while still remaining safely isolated throughout the adventure.

Wild Horse Adventure Tours
Wild Horse Adventure Tours
Corolla
Nature Spots, Tours, Wild Horse Tours
Bob's Wild Horse Adventure Tours
Bob's Wild Horse Adventure Tours
Corolla
Educational Activities, Kid Friendly Activities, Nature Spots, Scenic Spots, Tours, Wild Horse Tours
Back Country Safari Tours
Back Country Safari Tours
Corolla
Educational Activities, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Nature Spots, Scenic Spots, Tours, Wild Horse Tours
Kitty Hawk Kites
Kitty Hawk Kites
Avon, Corolla, Duck, Hatteras, Manteo, Nags Head, Ocracoke, Rodanthe
Air Tours, Amusements, Bike Rentals, Boat Tours, Educational Activities, Fishing, Fishing Charters, Hang Gliding, Horseback Riding, Indoor Activities, Jet Ski Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Kayak Tours, Kid Friendly Activities, Kitesurfing Lessons, Kitesurfing Rentals, Paddleboard Rentals, Paddleboarding Lessons, Paddleboarding Tours, Parasailing, Rainy Day Activities, Sailing, Sailing Tours, Surfboard Rentals, Surfing, Surfing Lessons, Tours, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Wild Horse Tours, Wine And Beer Tours
Corolla Wild Horse Fund
Corolla Wild Horse Fund
Corolla
Book Stores, Educational Activities, Gifts And Specialty Items, History, Kid Friendly Activities, Nature Spots, Scenic Spots, Tours, Wild Horse Tours

All wild horse tour companies

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Less-crowded Beaches

There’s more than enough room on the Outer Banks to break out the beach blankets while still staying a safe distance away from other beachgoers. This is because the OBX has more than 100 miles of shoreline to go around, which includes both oceanside and soundside beaches.

Want to ensure seclusion on your upcoming OBX vacation? Try these less-visited beach destinations that are dotted throughout the Outer Banks, from Corolla to Ocracoke.

Carova and 4x4 beaches (Corolla)

 

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Located just north of the paved N.C. Highway 12
, the Carova or 4x4 beaches are only accessible by a 4WD vehicle, and are among the most isolated shorelines in the northern Outer Banks. There are no shops, restaurants, commercial businesses, or paved roads of any kind in this unique region, but there are more than 11 miles of beaches, wild horses, and plenty of elbow room to relax near the ocean. Visitors in this area can stay in 4x4-access-only vacation rental, or can catch a ride via several 4WD taxi services to explore this isolated stretch of shoreline.

Situated north of Corolla but with an atmosphere that feels miles away from the rest of the OBX, the Carova / 4x4 region is a great option for pristine shorelines, remote vacation rentals, and relaxed isolation.

Coquina Beach (Nage Head)

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Coquina Beach access


Free parking and restrooms available
Adjacent to the Bodie Island Lighthouse grounds you’ll discover Coquina Beach – one of the northernmost beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and a remote stretch of shoreline that’s accessible by foot, or with a 4WD vehicle. The beach is named after the small but colorful coquina shells that tend to wash on shore, and this beach features exceptional fishing, lots of room for visitors, and a location that’s just a few miles away from the busy beach towns of Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills. Note that an Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) beach driving permit from the National Park Service is required to drive on all Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches, and can be obtained online at https://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/permitsandreservations.htm.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge (North end of Hatteras Island)

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Pea Island Wildlife Refuge

Free parking and restrooms available at visitor’s center
Beginning just south of the new Marc Basnight Bridge over Oregon Inlet, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is a popular destination for hundreds of species of migrating birds and waterfowl, but sees very few human visitors – even during the height of the summertime. Stop by the Pea Island Visitors Center on Hatteras Island to take a stroll on several of the refuge’s walking trails, which extend to the Pamlico Sound, and which offer ample wildlife viewing opportunities along the way. The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge also features miles of ocean-facing shoreline and parking areas alongside N.C. Highway 12, and adjacent to the main visitors’ center, just a few miles north of Rodanthe.

Salvo Day Use Area (Salvo)

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Salvo Day Use Area

Free parking and primitive restrooms available
The Salvo Day Use areas is a located less than a half mile south of Salvo on Hatteras Island, and is a soundside parking area and public access point within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The soundfront beach, which features no waves and shallow waters for miles, is ideal for young children and families, and the Salvo Day Use Area features a number of amenities for a long day of fun outdoors. The site offers public restrooms and outdoor shower facilities, picnic areas, parking, and plenty of sound-facing shoreline, and is very easy to access for visitors staying in the Tri-villages communities of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo on Hatteras Island.

Canadian Hole / Haulover Day Use Area (Central Hatteras Island)

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Setting up a kite at Canadian Hole

Free parking and primitive restrooms available
“Canadian Hole,” (also known as the Haulover Day Use Area), is another popular soundfront destination and public parking area that’s located within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore just south of Avon. The beach is a popular destination with kiteboarders in the spring and fall months, and a favorite spot for families with young children and folks who want to catch a gorgeous Pamlico Sound sunset. The site features restrooms, ample parking, and outdoor showers, although repairs are in process to some of the facilities, due to damage from Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

Kite Point (Central Hatteras Island)

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Officially opening in 2019, the new Kite Point Parking Area just south of Canadian Hole and north of Buxton offers another opportunity for visitors to explore the soundside beaches of Hatteras Island. Though the new beach access site does not have restrooms or showers, it does have ample and secluded hard-packed parking that’s just steps away from the Pamlico Sound, and as such, it is a popular destination for spring and fall kiteboarders, as well as families who appreciate calm sound waters.

Old Lighthouse Beach (Buxton)

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Old Lighthouse Beach

Parking available. Restrooms available nearby at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse visitors center
The Old Lighthouse Beach remains a popular fishing and surfing spot with locals and longtime visitors thanks to the former lighthouse jetties which jut out into the ocean and literally make waves, but there’s nevertheless plenty of room to find a place on the sand that’s a safe difference away from other beach-going families. Located on Old Lighthouse Road, and situated just before the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitors Center, the Old Lighthouse Beach in Buxton features ample parking and multiple paths to the adjacent shoreline.

Cape Point (4x4 beach in Buxton)

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Cape Point

Cape Point can get crowded when the fishing is exceptional, but it’s nevertheless a great destination for anglers and beachcombers alike. Best accessed via a 4WD vehicle, (a beach driving permit from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is required), the ORV access ramp to Cape Point is located just past the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton. Famed as the exact locale where the island jets out or “points” into the Atlantic Ocean, the proximity to the Gulf Stream and Labrador Currents creates exceptional fishing conditions, but dangerous sandbars and swimming conditions. Visitors will likely find the fewest crowds in the fall months in the early morning hours, or in the evenings – just note that night driving restrictions are in place in the Fall due to sea turtle nesting.

Frisco Bathhouse (Frisco)

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Situated just south of the Frisco village borders, the Frisco Bathhouse beach access has a number of amenities for visitors, including restrooms, a boardwalk to the oceanfront, and seasonal lifeguards in the summer months. Though popular, this Cape Hatteras National Seashore beach access has plenty of room to find a spot to safely spread out the beach chair and blankets, as well as ample parking for visitors. (Note that there are several sandy paths to the oceanfront from the long parking area, so it’s easy to find an isolated stretch of sand without encountering other beach-goers.)

Pole Road (Hatteras Village)

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The southern end of Hatteras Island features great shelling, fishing, and plenty of isolation, and visitors can access this remote corner of the island several different ways. 4WD vehicles with a beach driving permit can take Pole Road, (aka ORV Ramp 55), which is located just past the ferry docks to reach the inlet and miles of beaches that extend from Hatteras Village’s town borders to the edge of the island. In addition, for visitors without a 4WD vehicle and permit, an expansive parking area and wooden boardwalk to the beach is also located just across the street from the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, which is also close to the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry docks.

Ocracoke – Hatteras Inlet Beach (Ocracoke Island)

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Visitors traveling to Ocracoke Island via the from Hatteras-Ocracoke vehicular ferry won’t have to venture too far to find isolated and pristine beaches, thanks to this parking area that also doubles as a waiting area for the ferry across Hatteras Inlet. Located on the northern edge of Ocracoke Island, this parking lot and beach access site features restrooms and vending machines for ferry travelers, and just across the dunes, beachgoers will find miles of inlet-facing beaches with plenty of room to explore. The inlet-bordering beach is an especially popular spot for fishermen, as well as beachcombers and shell-seekers from both Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

Ocracoke - Lifeguarded Beach (Ocracoke Island)

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Located just a couple miles north of Ocracoke Village, the Ocracoke Lifeguarded beach is the sole lifeguarded beach on the island, and is a convenient beach access point that features outdoor showers, restrooms, and ample parking. Though well known as one of Ocracoke’s more popular beach access sites, visitors can easily spread out from this central spot to find an isolated stretch of sand to call their own.

Simply put, the Outer Banks remains the BEST place to vacation in 2020

With more than a hundred miles of shoreline, multiple restaurants that offer take-out and delivery, fully accommodating vacation homes and accommodations, and plenty of elbow room to spread out, it’s no wonder that the Outer Banks remains one of the best places to visit in the Fall of 2020.

With an official opening on May 16 to visitors, the Outer Banks is a great place to reconnect, explore, and have miles of fun while still staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Make your accommodation reservations and plans today for an upcoming OBX getaway, and discover just how much fun it can be to be isolated, and to be literally and wonderfully stranded miles away from the rest of the world.

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