Year after year, travel experts and travel publications name the Outer Banks in their “Best of” lists. With so much unspoiled beauty, fantastic weather, and fun activities, there’s no wonder! From the best secluded beaches to the best golf courses, oceanside campsites, and the most scenic marathons, the Outer Banks repeatedly lays claim to high praise. Here are some of the Outer Banks’ most recent accolades:
“Dr. Beach”: One of America’s Best Beaches
Stephen Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach, is a geoscientist and coastal ecologist who uses 50 specific criteria to rank America’s beaches every year. Last year Cape Hatteras made his “Ten Best Beaches in the U.S.” list for the eighth year in a row. Dr. Beach’s rating factors include beach features that are important to vacationers, such as the average number of sunny days, wave size, water temperature, cleanliness, the softness of the sand, and the presence (or absence) of jellyfish.
USA Today: 10 Destinations Where the Weather’s Just Right
Due to the constant moderate temperatures, USA Today lists Kill Devil Hills as one of the top 10 destinations for great weather. Kill Devil Hills is a beachfront city with moderate average summer temps of 75 to 80 degrees. Winter is chillier, but averages are still a pleasant 50 to 60 degrees.
TripAdvisor: Top Travel Spots 2015
TripAdvisor, the online travel advice site, listed the Outer Banks as one of the Top Travel Spots of 2015. Based on traveler reviews, even the Cape Hatteras KOA got five-star accolades such as “Perfect Off-Season Escape,” “Always Excellent,” and “One of the Best Campgrounds I’ve Ever Been To.”
Travel + Leisure: America’s Prettiest Beach Campsites
Speaking of campsites, Travel + Leisure recently named Ocracoke Campground on Cape Hatteras National Seashore as one of America’s Prettiest Beach Campsites. Cape Hatteras National Seashore has 13 miles of stunning shoreline — and that famous lighthouse. There are 136 campsites, all protected by dunes.
Travel + Leisure: America’s Most Scenic Waterside Drives
For an unforgettable drive, the experts at Travel + Leisure encourage their readers to load up the station wagon and enjoy the 91 scenic miles from Kitty Hawk to Ocracoke. You’ll take in sunny beaches, some of the highest sand dunes in the U.S., historic maritime sites, lighthouses, and plenty of laid-back seafood restaurants.
Men’s Journal: The 20 Best Beaches in America
If you love watersports, Men’s Journal named Jockey’s Ridge in Nags Head as one of the best beaches in America for sports. Consistent ocean breezes and high sand dunes are the perfect combination for hang gliding and kiteboarding.
North Carolina Golf Panel: Top 100 Courses
Once again the Currituck Club, Kilmarlic Golf Club, and Nags Head Golf Club command three spots on the North Carolina Golf Panel’s Top 100 Courses list. Currituck Club is a Rees Jones course that stretches across 6,885 yards of diverse coastal terrain, including sand dunes, wetlands, maritime forests, and shoreline. Located on 605 acres of maritime forest and wetlands, Kilmarlic Golf Club is particularly famous for a close relationship with nature. Nags Head Golf Club is praised for its accessibility for players of all levels, plus beautiful views of historic Roanoke Sound.
Coastal Living: 6 Scenic Coastal Marathons
Coastal Living gives two thumbs up to the Outer Banks full and half marathons. Held in late fall, these marathons are flat, fast and gorgeous. Runners begin at historic Kitty Hawk and make their way along Albemarle Sound, taking in ocean breezes, dunes, and native wildlife.
Forbes Travel: Three Must-Try Spring Food Festivals
Forbes Travel encourages foodies not to miss the Taste of the Beach food festival in the Outer Banks. This event features four days of tastings, tours, cooking classes, cook-offs, parties, and dine-arounds.
Fodor’s Travel: 10 Under-the-Radar Beaches in the U.S.
Last year Fodor’s Travel advised their readers that Carova Beach is one of the most secluded beaches in the U.S. In fact, this beach is accessible only if you have a boat or four-wheel drive. If you can make it to Carova Beach, you’ll have 11 miles of shore and ocean to yourself. Lack of crowds means excellent shell hunting and birdwatching. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot some of the resident wild horses.
Outside Online: The 30 Best Trips of 2015
Outside Online named the Outer Banks in their “Best of” Travel Outside 2015 list. The Outer Banks was recognized for the best surfing breaks and paddle boarding spots on the East Coast.
Each year the Outer Banks finds its way onto the “Best of” lists of America’s favorite travel sites and adventure gurus. The Outer Banks are truly one of the most spectacular, fun, and awe-inspiring vacation spots in the United States. However, you don’t have to take someone else’s word for it. The best way to find out is to see for yourself.