13 Things To Do When It Rains in the Outer Banks

Updated for 2021. It is not always sunshine and rainbows here at the Outer Banks, like everywhere else, we experience rain from time to time, now while we hope it does not happen when you’re on vacation here are 13 things you can do to pass the time or embrace the rain on those OBX days even when it rains.

things to do when it rains in the Outer Banks

1. Movies

Here in Kill Devil Hills, one of the most well-known and obvious things to do when it rains is to go to R/C Movies 10, our local premium movie theater, and see that movie that you’ve been too busy to see. There is just something that makes that fresh buttery popcorn taste so much better when you’re there on a rainy day! If you want an “old” movie theater experience you can head over to the historical movie theater in Manteo, the Pioneer, where they play current movies at a reduced price.

Now, if going to the movies is not your thing, here is a simple movie day idea you can do. Head over to Walmart, everyone can stick their hand in the $5 movie bin, and whatever you pull out that is what you watch. The whole family can also pick their favorite snacks for the movie while you are at the store. When you get back everyone grabs a blanket, pillow, snacks, and their favorite spot, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy a few movies during that rain.

2. Laser Tag/Arcade

Going to play laser tag or to an arcade, some may say is a little too childish or you think that your teens may not have fun doing that, but you may want to give our two laser tag/arcade options a try, especially when it raining! First, we have Gearworks Laser Tag, here you get your fill of all things laser tag, they even have laser fitness coming soon, which is a great exercise for a class and overall play.  Recently they brought in brand new games, ticket redemption driving games, and the classics!

The other optimal choice is Destination Fun Zone in Kill Devil Hills, this amusement complex is more than just laser tag, it has a little something for the whole family. Inside they over 60 arcade games that are sure to please everyone. A full bounce house for the little ones, blacklight mini-golf, so you can play during rain or shine, and pirate-themed laser tag. Everything there can provide hours of entertainment for the young ones to the young at heart ones.

3. Bowling 

Bowling can be enjoyed whether its a nice day out, during a holiday, or when it rains over in Nags Head, we have our local bowling alley, OBX Bowling Center, now bowling may not be every family’s cup of tea, but this bowling alley is more than just bowling. They have late-night rock n’ roll bowl, league tournaments, and even have a party there while you’re here! Inside you’ll find a plethora of bowling lanes, with an updated arcade, and a café stocked with all the goodies, even get the whole family a pizza! Be sure to check out the different specials next time you go!

4. Aquarium

After such a crazy year of everything being shut down, we are happy to announce that for summer 2021 the Aquarium is open and excited to have guests back, now with a reduced guest amount, advance tickets or reservations are advised. The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island has been a family favorite for years and go see why! You can enjoy the aquarium at any time, but when it rains it’s the perfect trip to get you away from the usual hustle of the Outer Banks in the busy season.

Depending on where you are staying in the outer banks it’s within an hour’s drive, located in Manteo, a quieter part of the outer banks, but well known for being a lovely and tranquil area. The aquarium has loads of activities and sights to see ranging from all kinds of fish exhibits to the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center. No matter what age you are, you’ll be sure to have fun and make a splash at the NC Aquarium!

5. Shopping 

Shopping has always been my biggest go-to activity when it rains, and here in the Outer Banks, I’ll show you why! Located in southern Nags Head is the Tanger Outlets, which has recently been adding new stores to their location, there is something there for everyone with their wide variety of options. Also located in nags head and all over the island in fact is local and regional surf shops. You can find everything you could need for a perfect beach trip there, from clothes, beach items, or souvenirs to surfboards and boogie boards.

Lastly is the lesser-known shopping stores that can entertain everyone are the bait and tackle shops. Now I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t even fish, why would I go there?’ because stores like TW’s bait and tackle are more than a fishing store, they are like a mini-Cabela’s, having items such as clothing, Yeti accessories, and even premium sunglasses and shoes. Next time you see them stop by and say hi!

6. Read A Book

Most people bring a book on vacation for the beach, it’s such a relaxing thing on the beach, well when it rains, no reason you can’t read inside too. Reading has several benefits such as strengthening the brain, increases empathy, reduces stress, aids sleep, alleviates depression, and many more! Along with the benefits sometimes the downside of reading on the beach is that it can be strenuous on your eyes. So, reading inside on a rainy day can be a great option for those with sensitive eyes and you still get all the great benefits.

7. Spa Day

Primarily people go on vacation to relax and get away from the stresses of work, but those stresses can follow in the form of stress knots in your back, shoulders, neck, etc. What a better time to experience all the island has to offer than by doing a rainy-day spa day! Whether that’s getting a type of massage, at one of the over 20 island massage parlors and salons, doing some yoga, or even just going to the store and getting some cosmetics to do an in-home spa day.

There are hundreds if not thousands of in-home spa options that you can do by looking on Pinterest. Not to mention all the different manicure and pedicure options, whether you like doing those designs yourself or you feel like having a treat yourself day and going to get them professionally done. Nevertheless, a spa day is a great option to bypass those rainy-day blues!

8. Baking

You rented a kitchen, so get the most out of it on those rainy days and turn you and your family into gourmet bakers! Check out our recipe posts on all our social media platforms and try making them during those rainy days. Baking is a great way to not only pass the time, but you may discover a new or preexisting passion. Baking is a great way to get everyone involved especially when it rains, and what other passion has a reward at the end of it like food. So, get out there, check out the recipes we post, and show us your creations!

9. Trying New Restaurants

It can be difficult to branch from the vacation traditions of going to that one restaurant every year, but on a rainy day, it may be time to see where the leaves fall on trying one of the island’s scrumptious restaurants that you’ve always wanted to.  Rainy days are great for going out and trying new foods. The Outer Banks just opened several new restaurants all across the island, some of those include Mahi Mahi’s which was formerly New York Pizza Pub, Noosa Beach Grill located between mileposts 9 and 10.  And The Pony & The Boat, which is an elevated comfort food kitchen. All three of these have been added within the last 12 months, so try them this year and see which is your favorite.

10. Wine/Craft Beer Tasting

This adult activity usually appeals to the mothers, sisters, and Aunts of the vacation but is geared to anyone over the age of 21. The Outer Banks has an abundance of different wineries and craft beer locations. The first one that comes to mind is Trio Restaurant and Market who has more than 2,000 different wines and several hundred craft beers. Another fantastic option is OBX Winery and Hop N’ Grapes OBX, located near milepost 6, they feature Brewer’s Best and Winexpert ingredients and equipment to make sure your homemade beer and wine are the very best possible. So, it may be time for the parents to have some fun and have an experience they’ll never forget on a rainy day in the Outer Banks.

11. Hit The Fitness Center

The health industry has been hit hard in the year 2020 with Covid to where more people than ever are thinking about their health and well-being, how that entails here is that a lot of people now are still going to a fitness center or are still working out on vacation. So, when it rains, it may not be a bad idea to get a day pass which every fitness center has, and check out one of the four main fitness centers here at the Outer Banks. Exercising is a great way to keep your mind and blood flowing and to also feel accomplished on a dreary day like a rainy day.

12. Visit Local Museums

Channel your inner history buff and take a look at all the local museums scattered across the different towns of the Outer Banks. A great activity during sunshine or when it rains that will take you all over the island. There are several well-known museums such as the Wright Brothers Monument and Museum and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Museum. However, there are many lesser-known ones that you can take the family to see such as the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station and Museum, Frisco Native American Museum, and many more all over the islands. All in all, even if you don’t like history all that much, these museums are sure to leave lasting memories for everyone that goes to visit them.

13. Staying At Your Vacation Rental

It’s nice getting out and moving around when it’s raining on vacation, but sometimes you just want to stay inside, maybe play some games, and hang out with the family. Occasionally everyone gets so excited to get on the road to their destination to do their own things, they neglect something that is important on every vacation… family time. Rainy days can sometimes be a blessing because you can make some of the best memories from just sitting around in your Outer Banks Blue vacation rental at a table and playing board games or card games with everyone or something as simple as talking. Seems like people are doing that less and less nowadays, so even during those not-so-fun days when it rains, try to make the most of it and spend some quality family time together while on vacation.

As we said, we hope you love your time here at the Outer Banks, but even when it rains just give the blog a read and see if anything inspires you to tackle any rainy-day memory makers!

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