For some, an ideal day on the beach means spreading out a towel, popping on some headphones, and soaking up some sun. But for others (especially those with children or large groups), a day at the beach should involve plenty of activities, games, and water sports. Whether you plan to spend a day or two of your Outer Banks beach vacation splashing in the surf with the kids, or you are on the lookout for some serious wave surfing, the beaches of the Outer Banks offer plenty of activities to keep everyone busy.
Get Ready To Catch Some Waves
With the entire Atlantic Ocean stretched before you, the allure of the waves is difficult to resist. Be sure to add these popular water activities to your Outer Banks bucket list:
- Body Surfing — The Outer Banks boasts some of the best surfing spots on the East Coast, and you can enjoy riding the waves even without special equipment. Catch the wave at just the right time and you can ride it all the way to the shore.
- Boogie Boarding — For just a few dollars, you can outfit the entire family with boogie boards for hours of fun! Anyone can master the simple art of boogie boarding, and kids will especially love the adventure of being pushed to shore by the waves.
- Skimboarding — Skimboarding requires a little more skill than boogie boarding, making it the perfect next-step activity. Skimmers stand on a board similar to a surfboard but smaller and without fins as they catch waves close to the shore.
- Swimming — Of course, a visit to the ocean isn't complete without a few hours splashing in the waves. Be sure you know what to do if caught in a rip current, because these unusual currents can be common along the beaches. (Swim parallel to the shore; don't try to fight the rip.) Try finding shells under the waves with your feet, but remember to check for inhabitants before you take them home!
Fun In The Sun And Sand
If you are ready to dry off and dig your toes into the sand, the Outer Banks offers a wealth of family-friendly activities beachside. Kids of all ages (and adults too!) will enjoy these popular ideas:
- Build A Sandcastle — Remember the fun you had as a kid building sandcastles? Give your kids those same nostalgic memories when you create imaginative masterpieces on the shore. Bring some shovels and buckets, and don't forget to build a moat to catch the water when the tide comes in!
- Go Shelling — The best spots to find seashells are beaches with a large, shallow sandbar leading out into the waves rather than a drop-off near the shore. Visit places such as Northern Corolla or Carova at low tide to find the best shells before they have been picked over. Don't overlook the smaller beauties — they are perfect for home decor and crafts. Visit our craft Pinterest board for ideas so you'll know what to look for!
- Look For Live Critters — When the tide goes out, you can find many ocean-dwelling critters in the tide pools or living beneath the surface of the beach. Kids will love feeling a starfish "walk" across their hands or watching crabs dart out from holes to grab bits of food. You may also discover a sea turtle nest and at certain times of the year you might see tiny sea turtles making their way across the beach to the ocean. Because sea turtles are protected animals, it is important not to disturb them or their nests.
- Hunt For Shark Teeth — Shark teeth offer a fascinating glimpse of some of nature's most ferocious creatures. The teeth wash up to the shore with the tide and can often be found in the same places as seashells. Visit the beach at low tide and bring along a sieve or shell scoop for sifting. If you can't find any teeth on the shore, try scooping sand just below the surface where the waves come in.
- Get A Tan — Tanning is a staple of the beach experience for many, and the Outer Banks offer plenty of wide beaches for soaking up some rays. Stay safe with a quality sunscreen to protect your skin from dangerous UV rays and wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes.
- Beach Games And Activities — Bring along a corn hole game or a Frisbee for hours of fun, or organize a pickup game of soccer or football with fellow beachgoers for some truly unforgettable memories.
There is no shortage of things to do at the Outer Banks, and beach lovers will want to spend several days enjoying the many activities associated with the waves and sand. Be sure to visit the beach in the morning or evening for some beautiful sun-kissed family photos that will become treasured mementos of your family's visit to the beautiful North Carolina shoreline.