Of course the Christmas season is special no matter where you are, but why not spend it in the beautiful Outer Banks? While you probably won’t see a white Christmas on the coast, there are plenty of reasons why the Outer Banks make the perfect family destination, no matter the season. The weather is chilly but not bone-chilling, vacation rentals are at the best value you’ll see all year, and when summer leaves, it takes all the traffic and crowds along with it.
While you’re in a beachy winter wonderland for the holidays with your loved ones and away from the monotony of home, here are some annual activities for the whole family to enjoy alongside the locals:
Annual Holiday Tour of Homes
December 1 @ 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm – $20 admission
Enjoy a holiday home tour of historic homes, inns and more on Roanoke Island in Manteo. Light refreshments and check-in are at The Outer Banks Distillery where the owners offer afternoon tastings for tour goers and a tour of the distillery. Your group will receive a brochure with a map of the tour route to help you navigate as you walk or bike through this historic area of Manteo. This tour marks the beginning of a day filled with holiday festivities, making it a full-day of fun-filled shopping, dining, and sightseeing.
Winter Lights at Elizabethan Gardens
November 24 – January 19, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Adults $11, Youth (ages 6-17) $9, Child (5 and under) $6.
Take a stroll through beautiful Elizabethan Garden with enchanting lights, sights and sounds to really ring in the holiday spirit. Festive trees and an open fire on the Great Lawn, a holiday gift shop and seasonal plant sales make this an event to remember year after year.
Buy tickets: https://elizabethangardens.yapsody.com/
Poulos Family Christmas Lights
Ocean Acres, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina – Donations welcome
This family Christmas tradition is one that has become a holiday staple to many Outer Banks locals. Since their annual light display began almost 40 years ago, the Poulos’s “Christmas House” has earned the love and recognition of many, including a feature on HGTV. With energy costs approaching $3,500 and weeks of planning and setting up the display, it’s easy to see how special the whole display is to the family and they take their job of spreading holiday cheer seriously! This is one family visit that will yield plenty of photo opportunities and memories to last a lifetime.
Whalehead Candlelight Christmas
November 23rd, 24th, 30th, December 7th, 8th, 14th, and 15th from 5:30 to 6:30pm, $20 admission, 1100 Club Road, Corolla
Celebrate like it’s 1920! The Knight home in Whalehead is beautifully decorated for the holidays, complete with Christmas trees, holiday music, holiday beverages and homemade Christmas cookies. This year, the tour includes a live piano performance.
Whalehead’s Christmas Craft Village
November 23 and 24, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Get all your holiday shopping done in one place! The Whalehead Craft Market is the perfect place to find unique gifts for everyone on your list. Even better than that, all the gifts are made by local crafters, artists and artisans with love.
Manteo Christmas Tree Lighting
December 1, Downtown Manteo
Downtown Manteo is home of this annual tradition in the Outer Banks and has become a symbol of the beginning of the holiday season for locals and visitors. The tree lighting takes place on the waterfront in downtown Manteo, near the courthouse just off Queen Elizabeth Avenue. With hot chocolate and Christmas carols ringing in the air, this event is free and fun for all.
Duck Yuletide Celebration
December 1, 3:00 – 5:00 pm, Duck Town Park
Shop and stroll through Duck Village with your “Great Yuletide Elf Hunt Passport” all morning, then bring your completed passport to the Yuletide Celebration at Duck Town Park for a gift for the kids and to be entered into a drawing for gift baskets full of Duck merchant goodies and gift cards.
Enjoy holiday music by Just Playing Dixieland, local tasty treats, coffee, hot chocolate, the lighting of the town’s Crab Pot Christmas tree, and carols while you await Santa’s arrival. Once he arrives on the Duck Fire Engine, he can be found in Town Hall greeting children until 5:00 pm.
If you’re looking for a tranquil, relaxing Christmas vacation destination you can enjoy with the whole family, the Outer Banks is the perfect place for you this holiday season. From the lights and seasonal events to just sitting around your rental enjoying your friends and family, the OBX could be your next favorite holiday tradition!