Word is out that the Outer Banks are one of the best places in the United States for a relaxing vacation: U.S. News just named the Outer Banks as the 4th Best “Relaxing Getaway in the U.S.” With beautiful weather, pristine beaches, delicious food, and fun activities, the Outer Banks have everything you need for a stress-free getaway.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to plan an Outer Banks vacation depends on your idea of relaxation. The weather, crowds, and activities vary by season. In the summer the Outer Banks see the highest temperatures and the biggest crowds. In fall, crowds thin but temperatures are still warm. Winters are cold and quiet — but serene.
Best Months for Thawing Out
Spring Break signals the start of the season, so starting in March it’s all hands on deck for local businesses. Temps are still chilly with a high of 60 – 67F in March and April, rising to mid-70s and 80s in May. April is the driest month in the Outer Banks, making it a good candidate for a vacation if you’re not working around a school schedule. Endured a string of sub-zero months in the north? The Outer Banks are the right place to start your spring thaw.
Best Months for Water Sports
If your idea of heaven is surfing, swimming, and baking on the beach, June, July, and August have average highs in the mid-80s to 90s and the warmest water temperatures. August is the rainiest month, but storms and precipitation come in short spells that cool things off pleasantly. Summer in the Outer Banks is buzzing with events and happy tourists. Plan for crowds and picture-perfect weather.
Best Months for a Solo or Couples Vacation
September in the Outer Banks is the best of both worlds: Summertime air and water temperatures with fewer tourists and a wider selection of rentals. September and October highs remain in the 80s or high 70s, with more sunny days than in summer months. If you’re not much into watersports, November is a wonderful time to visit the Outer Banks. With highs in the 70s, lots of sunshine, and few tourists, November is target time for a quiet recharge.
Best Months to Read (or Write) a Book
From December through February the Outer Banks are a different world. Many seasonal businesses are closed, tourist traffic is almost non-existent, and year-round locals are taking time to rest up for the spring rush. If you’re looking for solitude and a chance to read (or write) that book you’ve been putting off, winter is your season to visit the Outer Banks. Expect high temperatures to hit the mid-50s by noon — just bring a fleece jacket and you’ll stay cozy and warm.
Once the long, sleepy days of winter are over, the Outer Banks come alive with festivals and events from March through September. From events that highlight wine and food to sailing, hang gliding, music, and pirates, there’s always something going on during high season.
Best Beaches for Swimming
The Outer Banks have miles of calm sound waters and lively oceanside beaches for swimming, floating, and splashing. Ocean waters are warm from June well into October, and several beaches are patrolled or have lifeguards during peak tourist months. Corolla beaches have medium-size waves (depending on the weather) and a dozen lifeguard stands that are staffed from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Duck also has lifeguard stands that are staffed from May 1st to October 31st. Set up your gear on Sprigtail Drive, Schooner Ridge Drive, Barrier Island Station, Scarborough Lane, Four Seasons Drive, or Plover Drive to be near a lifeguard while swimming, surfing, or body boarding the medium-size waves.
Kill Devil Hills is a great choice for families with little ones — with medium waves and 18 lifeguard stands, there’s enough wave action for a good time and enough extra eyes on the water for extra peace of mind. Nearby Nags Head also has manageable waves and a dozen lifeguard stands that are staffed from spring through the end of October. Kitty Hawk has excellent beaches with 3 lifeguard stations, but waves can be higher depending on weather.
Novice swimmers can head to Ocracoke Island in the summer months for shallower waters, warm tide pools, and gentle waves. There is a lifeguarded beach on Ocracoke Island, with ample parking, showers, and restrooms.
We’re honored to make the U.S. News list of Best Relaxing Getaways in the USA. The Outer Banks is home to some of the country’s best weather, food, festivals, beaches, activities, historical sites, and scenic views. Whether you visit us in peak season or during the quieter times of the year, the Outer Banks has everything you need for the perfect relaxing vacation.