If you are planning a trip to the Outer Banks, you undoubtedly know that the islands boast some of the most beautiful beaches along the East Coast. But you may not realize how many other attractions, historical sites, and recreation opportunities you can enjoy during your stay. As you determine where you would like to spend your Outer Banks vacation, consider the unique appeal of some of the most beloved towns on the islands.
Popular Destinations In The Outer Banks
The Outer Banks is known for its small-town charm and local flavor. Each town presents a unique character that sets it apart as a desirable vacation destination. Whether you are looking for exceptional duck hunting, historic nostalgia, or invigorating watersports, you will find the vacation of your dreams in one of the Outer Banks’ beloved communities:
- Corolla—The community of Corolla is located at the northern tip of the Outer Banks. Perhaps the best known of Corolla’s attractions are the wild Spanish mustangs that roam the beaches. Book a tour with any of the area’s certified tour guides to experience some of nature’s most beautiful creatures in the wild. You can also visit the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, tour the historic Whalehead museum, and spend an afternoon browsing the quaint shops of old Corolla village.
- Duck—The town of Duck derives its name from its abundant waterfowl, making it a perfect choice for duck hunting. It is also well known for its watersports and beautiful beaches. Because there is no public beach access in Duck, those staying in vacation rentals or at a beach cottage will enjoy less crowded beaches than some other areas of the Outer Banks. Families will also enjoy the boardwalk, soundfront Duck Town Park, and boutique shopping.
- Kill Devil Hills—Kill Devil Hills is one of the larger towns on the Outer Banks, with about 6,800 year-round residents. It is home to the Wright Brothers National Memorial and offers plenty of opportunity to explore the giant sand dunes that inspired Wilbur and Orville’s first flight. Visitors will enjoy the skatepark, roller hockey rink, and fitness trail in between visits to the beach.
- Nags Head—History buffs and art aficionados will both enjoy the attractions of Nags Head. A beautiful historic district showcases some of the cedar shake cottages that formed the majority of original homes in the area, while a flourishing art community lets visitors view and purchase local paintings and carvings. If you need a shopping fix, visit the Nags Head Tanger Outlets, where you can browse among 25 outlet stores. Be sure to plan a day at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, where you can explore hiking trails, stroll along the boardwalk, or learn to hang glide above the majestic sand dunes that form the backbone of the park.
- Southern Shores—If you are looking for a quiet place to get away from it all, Southern Shores should rank near the top of your list. With very little commercialization and strictly private beaches, the town of Southern Shores offers vacationers a feeling of seclusion with plenty of room to spread out. Enjoy beautiful bike paths and scenic beaches, or spend a morning on the golf course at Duck Woods Country Club.
- Kitty Hawk—Claiming the distinction of hosting the Wright brothers for their first flight experiment, Kitty Hawk is a must-see for anyone interested in local lore and history. Wilbur and Orville chose the area for its rolling sand dunes and gentle breezes, and these are qualities visitors still enjoy today as they enjoy kite-flying or hang gliding. Stop by the Monument to a Century of Flight and take a look at the precise location of that famous flight. Kitty Hawk also offers fun for the kids at the Children at Play Museum, boutique shopping at the Buccaneer’s Walk Village Shops, and of course, beautiful beaches and water activities.
Which Town Is Right For You?
Each of the towns on the Outer Banks offers a unique visitor experience with plenty of area attractions, outdoor activities, and shopping experiences to keep you busy. As you plan your visit, begin by asking what kind of recreational activities appeal to you the most. Do you enjoy duck hunting? Fishing? Watersports? Are you hoping to learn more about the colonial history of the islands? How about pirate lore or flight history? Next, determine what kind of accommodations you desire. Are you looking for a lavish rental home that will serve your family for several weeks, or is a cozy cottage more your style?
No matter which town you choose to stay in, most of the Outer Banks attractions will be just a short drive away. If you are ready to experience some of the most beautiful ocean vistas and charming towns on the East Coast, the Outer Banks will fulfill all your expectations and more.