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Outdoor Activities


North Carolina’s Outer Banks is the place on the East Coast to catch a big swell. The uninhibited nature of the barrier islands make it the perfect locale for surfers. The area’s distinct geology and meteorology, largely responsible for the unique shape of the islands play a crucial role in the amazing surfing. Waves come in from many different directions and are able to maintain their energy. This creates large waves that often have the appearance of glass. Combined with an offshore wind and double overhead conditions and you’ll likely see some of the most perfect waves on Earth. Surfers flock from across the country to local area hotspots, such as Cape Hatteras and the "S-Turns" on Highway 12 near Rodanthe. Almost anywhere you go, you can bring a board and be guaranteed wonderful surfing.


One of the best ways to explore the Outer Banks is by kayak. Tour the area in the shallow sound waters that are ideal for kayaks and canoes. Discover the beautiful sights and sounds that you would miss on land, such as paddling out past the breakers to ride along dolphins. As an experienced kayaker, make it an adventure and ride the surf of the Atlantic Ocean. Or for a more peaceful and quiet ride, glide seamlessly throughout the salt marshes. Explore unknown islands throughout the area or travel around Roanoke Island for a historical glance at our area. You’ll find many different shops offering rentals, guided ecological tours as well as instructions. Take the entire family for a fun filled trip along the glorious waters of the Atlantic and Sound.


Kiteboarding, or kitesurfing, has become one of the most sought-after water sports to learn on the Outer Banks. While an exciting ride, almost everyone can learn. Through the powerful combination of wind and water, participants experience the thrilling rush of what it would be like to fly. There are many area instructional courses taught by certified experts. In “good” conditions, an advanced individual can catch the air and fly, launch anywhere from 20 feet to 40 feet above the water and soaring for up-to seven seconds. You can just fly, or incorporate tricks into your jump such as flips and spins. For those looking to step into the shallow end of the kiteboarding pool, you don’t have to have huge launches to enjoy yourself. Simply carving through the water is elating.


Well known as the “wind surfing capital of the East Coast”, the Outer Banks is a centralized mecca for wind sports. The consistent winds and waves, moderate weather and shallow waters of the sand each combine to provide great wind surfing opportunities throughout the year. Most outfitters offer lessons for beginners and advanced surfers, equipment rentals and clinics. During our endless Summer, the warm, friendly, shallow water of the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds offer world-class learning conditions for building windsurfing skills. Spring and Fall bring front-driven high wind sailing conditions on the ocean and sounds. High wind conditions may last for days, and be interspersed by sunny low-wind interludes for relaxation, recovery, or teaching kids and novices.


The Outer Banks beaches are perfect for shelling and beachcombing. The best times to look for shells are after high tide and after a storm, especially in the morning before people begin gathering on the beach, and during the winter months. Check with the NC Aquarium about programs on shell collecting and educational field trips.


Most sections of the seashore do not have lifeguards, restrooms, or other services available. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, lifeguards are usually posted at Coquina Beach on Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras Beach near the old lighthouse site, and the Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach. Red warning flags are posted at beaches with lifeguards when swimming conditions are hazardous. Within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge (seven miles from Oregon Inlet) offers good bird watching and beaches for swimming and fishing


All you need is a length of cord with suitable bait, chicken necks or fish heads do nicely, tied to one end. Throw the bait into the water, wait a few minutes, then pull on the line gently to see if you get a nibble. Other methods use circular crab nets and collapsible crab traps. Crabs can be caught in local sound waters from late spring into early fall, but the best time is May, June and July.


Some of the best fishing on the East Coast is found here on the Outer Banks. For the surfcaster, there are over 130 miles of accessible beach, and for those who enjoy pier fishing, there are eight located between Kitty Hawk and Hatteras. If you don't have your own equipment, many bait and tackle shops offer rentals. Headboat fishing is a great family activity. There are inshore, half-day charters for cobia, amberjack and king mackerel, among others, and for the more adventurous, there are offshore, full-day charters to the gulf stream where anglers can catch marlin, tuna, wahoo and dolphin. Featuring some of the nation's best angling waters, the Outer Banks is a sport fisherman's paradise. Fishing along the coast is offered in a variety of forms, such as surf and pier fishing, brackish, fly and sound fishing, inshore and offshore charter fishing, with the season lasting throughout the year.

Bike Riding

Bicycling here is like nowhere else. With the surf, sun, sand, space you’ll find it is some of the most amazing biking around. The Outer Banks is a "mile wide and a hundred miles long." The beach is all public and open to everyone, with public change rooms at several regional beach access areas in the northern section. The Outer Banks should be on every bicyclist's list of east coast rides. You can ride 120 miles from Corolla and Duck at the north end to Hatteras and Ocracoke at the south end, with a relaxing 40 minute free ferry ride from Hatteras to Ocracoke to rest the legs. The Outer Banks is relatively flat, with the only hills being a few bridges. You'll see yellow "Share the Road" signs all through Dare and Currituck Counties on NC 168, US 158, and NC 12. There is almost always a wind, 5-15 mph, blowing in the wrong direction for bicycling. When the wind is from the east, it blows up some salt spray, so the bikes need a good bath after they leave the Outer Banks.


While the Outer Banks are better known for water sports and recreation, there are numerous opportunities for skateboarders around the area. The mild temperatures of North Carolina provide excellent conditions for year round skating at the five top-notch skateparks (located along the stretch from Corolla to Buxton). Many of these parks have a wide variety of terrain, such as wooden ramps, concrete and combination bowls, even flow areas and a street plaza. While some parks are free, others require payment before skating. For an alternative to the beach, these parks provide a great day for the family. Some even have outdoor grill areas perfect for a summer barbeque.

Horeseback Riding

There's nothing that quite compares to horseback riding on the beach or exploring coastal hideaways. You will enjoy horseback riding courtesy of local stables that welcome the public. Explore trails through the only Maritime Forest on the Outer Banks, including the Buxton Woods, the NC Coastal Reserve, and the National Park Service. Ride out past the sand dunes to the gorgeous beauty of the beach. Some trails go by the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Cape Point. Miles of pristine beaches await you. Take your family on the ride of a lifetime and see the natural beauty of the Outer Banks from a completely different perspective.

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Our private, well-equipped vacation homes will provide a comfortable backdrop for your family's next memorable Hatteras Island vacation.

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