Love the ocean? Then chances are good you love water sports. And no doubt you’ve done all the usual – swimming, sailing, fishing, boating. Perhaps you’ve also tried somewhat more daring sports, such as surfing, kayaking, and water skiing.
Whether you’re a returning visitor or a new visitor, let’s look at a few of the reasons you should visit after summer has ended.
Fall brings about milder temperatures than summer, but yet it’s still warm enough to enjoy the beach without freezing in the winter months. The average temperature in the fall is usually in the 70s during the day. The lows in the evening are in the 50s and 60s. These temperatures can last until mid December.
Depending upon which part of the Outer Banks you stay, the water stays warm until mid-October, sometimes later. Keep in mind that the air temperature will be chilly when you step out of the ocean.
Along with the hottest temperatures, summer brings the most people. The fall in the Outer Banks has fewer people visiting than in the summer.
School has started so families are back home. You’ll see older people who don’t have children living at home or younger couples whose children haven’t started school yet.
With fewer people, the restaurants and shopping areas aren’t as busy, but some of them might close after Labor Day weekend.
The best fishing happens at the end of the summer. Fishermen from all over visit this area. The Outer Banks has several piers you can fish from or you can hire a fishing charter.
If you are competitive, participate in one of several surf fishing tournaments held every year. The red drum is one of the most popular fish you can catch. This fish appears only twice a year as it migrates during the off seasons.
The stronger winds in September, October, and November bring people to the Outer Banks for different water sports. These winds are a consistent 10-20 miles per hour and have gusts of 30 miles per hour or more.
People can enjoy windsurfing, kiteboarding, and sometimes surfing all along the coasts of the Outer Banks. The ocean is even better during this time when the stronger winds can bring bigger waves for any water activity.
One of the biggest reasons to visit the Outer Banks in the fall is the lower rates for where you stay. Whether it’s a hotel, motel, or house, the rates drop once summer is over. As with any vacation, your accommodation is the biggest expense of the trip.
Booking these lower rates is easier during this time of the year, too. The summer months tend to book ahead of time while the fall months sometimes book last minute.
Check for special discounts or getaway packages during the fall that you might not get at other times of the year. This depends upon what local events are happening.
Fall has several reasons why it’s the best time of the year to visit the Outer Banks. Which one of the above reasons would encourage you to visit that time of the year?
When planning your autumn getaway, keep these 10 tips in mind to make sure your vacation turns out just the way you hope!
#1 Pack layers — Mornings in the Outer Banks are a chilly 50 or 60 degrees, but temperatures usually reach the mid-60s to low 70s by midday. Pack a fleece jacket and long pants for morning excursions, and shorts and long-sleeve shirts for later in the day. Even though ocean temperatures are usually too cold for swimming, bring your bathing suit. Many rental properties have hot tubs. Also, you can rent a wetsuit and still enjoy watersports year-round. If you’re bringing a furry friend, note that small or shorthaired dogs might like a sweater in the evenings — especially if they’ve been playing in the water.
#2 Catch some air — Winds pick up this time of year, and a kite-boarding or windsurfing lesson is the perfect way to burn off a hearty Southern breakfast. The Outer Banks have shallow waters and soft waves, so if you’ve ever wanted to try kite-boarding or windsurfing, this is the perfect opportunity. Consistent winds along the coast mean that fall is also a fantastic time for sailing. Whether you’re an experienced sailor or would rather sit back while someone else does all the work, there are plenty of sailboat charters that operate year ’round.
#3 Ride a century— If you’re a cycling enthusiast who’s always wanted to ride a century (a hundred-mile excursion), the Outer Banks is the perfect place to check it off your list. With more than 100 miles of flat roads and paths, constant sea breezes and beautiful scenery, going for a bike ride of any length is sure to be a memorable and relaxing experience.
#4 Play bird bingo —The Outer Banks is an important migration stop for hundreds of species of birds, and fall is an especially enjoyable time for birding. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on the north end of Hatteras Island is a perfect place to observe migrating geese, swans, ducks, and shorebirds. Grab a pocket field guide and a pair of binoculars, and then see if you can spot rare species such as peregrine falcons and piping plovers. Or make your own bird bingo cards and see how many different species you can spot.
#5 Read up on Outer Banks’ history — For those leisurely afternoons, enjoy books about local history. Popular works include Hatteras Journal by Jan DeBlieu, North Carolina Lighthouses and Life Saving Stations by John Hairr, or Ribbon of Sand by John H. Alexander. There are also plenty of fiction books set on the Outer Banks. Try True Believer by Nicholas Sparks or Outer Banks by Anne Rivers Siddons.
#6 Take a class — Whether you enroll in a cooking, art, kite-boarding or tennis lesson, the Outer Banks is full of opportunities to learn a new skill.
#7 Visit an oyster roast — This is a truly local experience! In fall, oyster roasts pop up all over the islands at backyard fundraisers and community get-togethers. Pick up your own oyster-shucking knife at any grocery store, then experiment with the many ways there are to top steamed oysters. Oyster roasts are convivial communal experiences where everyone is welcome — if you’re invited to one, accept and enjoy.
#8 Pack indulgences and plan for downtime
#1 Mile High Hang Gliding
Kitty Hawk Kites has been providing hang gliding on the Outer Banks since 1974. They provide lessons for adults and children off the dunes of Jockey’s Ridge, but they also provide Tandem Hang Gliding on this Currituck mainland that tows you up to 1 mile in the sky (5,280 feet) giving you a bird’s eye view of the coastline above the Currituck Sound as you drift back down to the ground over a roughly 20 minute descent. This is certainly not for those with a fear of heights but it is the perfect unique experience for the adventurer at heart. The best part is this is also a “no experience needed” activities since you are strapped in with an expert to guides the glider for you.
#2 First Flight Adventure Park
First Flight Adventure Park is an aerial obstacle course that goes up to 50 feet high. The course is shaped to resemble outer bands of a hurricane, branching out from the central tower which resembles the eye of the Hurricane.
There are 6 courses total and each course consist of 7 obstacles, and it looks like more challenges are coming this year. The obstacles are designed around a maritime theme using ropes, cables, wood, barrels, stir-ups, a hammock and more. The higher up the central spiral staircase you go, the more difficult the obstacles become. At the end of each course there is a short zip back to the central tower. Have no fear, climbers will be in a harness and attached to a safety device while completing each obstacle, at all times. Climbers take the action into their own hands by choosing to go on easy, intermediate, or advanced courses.
Read about Bill Koebernick’s experience when the park first opened.
The most exciting and thrilling new water sport, kiteboarding, is guaranteed to get your heart pounding, yet it is easy enough for almost anyone to learn! Kiteboarding, or kite-surfing, a synergy of wind and water forces, takes harnessing the wind to the extreme! Learn to kiteboard at Kitty Hawk Kites under the guidance of an expert and certified instructors that have been leading the sport since its conception! It is the hottest new kite sport to sweep the world, and it thrives on pure adrenaline!
This is an aquatic jet pack provided by Kitty Hawk Kites. The rumor is most people can’t handle more than a 30 minute ride at a time due to feeling like you just went on a 30 minute sprint. While that may seem a little intimating, it is also a unique experience that’s hard for the adventurer-at-heart to pass up.
#5 Airplane Tour
To truly appreciate the Outer Banks it takes a unique perspective to this unique place. The Outer Banks is made up of some of the most diverse landscape found anywhere. From the air you can see this incredible area featuring shipwrecks, sand dunes, endless beaches, maritime forests, lighthouses and much, much more.
We highly recommend booking your tour through Above the Coast.
Soar above the water for breath taking views. Parasailing, also known as parakiting, has been around since the mid 80’s. On the Outer Banks you are attached to a parachute that is being towed by a boat anywhere from 600 ft. to 1,200 ft., for approximately 10 minutes.
If you’re staying in the more northern part of the Outer Banks (Corolla, Duck, Southern Shores, etc.) you can use Nor’Banks Sailing or Kitty Hawk Kites. If you’re closer to Nags Head/Manteo then
Kitty Hawk Kites