Visiting the Outer Banks in the Fall

The Outer Banks is a well-kept secret in the Fall, offering a unique and tranquil beach getaway experience that some tend to like even better than the summer season. As the summer crowds dissipate and the temperatures cool down a bit, this coastal gem transforms into the perfect place for a relaxing escape. Here's what you can expect during Fall's "secret season" on the Outer Banks.

Fall Rates

The summer season on the Outer Banks typically features the highest vacation rental rates of the year, and most people book their rental far in advance. But as the summer crowds depart, vacation rental rates drop, and often the minimum night stays are relaxed as well in the Fall. With lower rates and a wider selection of available properties, you can find the perfect Outer Banks vacation rental to suit your needs and budget. You might even be able to find a last-minute rental deal if you're lucky!


Fall in the Outer Banks brings lovely weather with mild temperatures and lower humidity, making it an ideal time of year for outdoor activities. September can still retain summer heat, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s during the day and cooling off to the 60s at night. By October, daytime highs are typically in the 60s and 70s, with evenings dipping into the 50s. November is cooler, with daytime temperatures in the 50s and 60s and nights in the 40s.

Ocean temperatures on the Outer Banks remain inviting through much of the fall, peaking around 80°F in September and gradually cooling to the low 60s by November. This means you can still comfortably enjoy water sports and swimming well into October.


One of the advantages of visiting the Outer Banks in fall is a decrease in crowds. The end of the peak summer season leads to a more laid-back atmosphere and a slower pace. Beaches that were crowded during the summer months are now peaceful, the roads are easier to navigate with less traffic, and you can enjoy visiting local attractions and restaurants without long lines or packed spaces. During the Fall, Outer Banks locals are out and about more, enjoying our slice of paradise with a bit more room to breathe. Visitors are welcomed and encouraged this time of year, and you'll be rewarded with fewer people everywhere you go!

Things to Do


With fewer people on the beaches, fall is the perfect time for beachcombing. The Outer Banks is famous for its unique shells, sea glass, and other treasures that wash ashore. Visit Pea Island and Corolla for the best seashell finds.


Whether you prefer surf fishing, pier fishing, or deep-sea fishing, the fall season is prime time on the Outer Banks for catching a variety of fish species, including red drum, bluefish, and striped bass. The cooler temperatures and lighter crowds make for a more enjoyable experience in one of the country’s best fishing destinations.


The mild fall temperatures are perfect for enjoying watersports in the Outer Banks. Kayak or paddle board through the tranquil waters of the Currituck Sound, or explore the scenic marshes and hidden coves of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Kayak and paddle board rentals are widely available, and guided tours can offer insights into the local ecology and wildlife.

The Outer Banks is known as a premier destination for kitesurfing and windsurfing, with local shops offering rentals and lessons in popular areas like Hatteras Island. Fall also brings consistent surfing conditions in Kitty Hawk and Nags Head, making it easy to catch a wave whether you're a seasoned surfer or a first-timer.

Hiking and Wildlife Watching

The fall migration brings a variety of birds to the Outer Banks, making it a prime time for birdwatching. Visit the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge or Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge for a chance to see waterfowl, raptors, and even black bears. The Nags Head Woods Preserve offers beautiful hiking trails through maritime forests, and the towering sand dunes of Jockey’s Ridge State Park provide a unique and challenging hike. All of these land activities will be a little more pleasant in the cooler fall temps.

Wild Horse Tours

Take a guided tour to see the wild horses of Corolla. These magnificent creatures have roamed the Outer Banks for centuries, and fall is a great time to observe them in their natural habitat without the summer heat and with fewer cars on the beach.

Lighthouses and Historic Sites

With thinner crowds, fall is an excellent time to visit the iconic Outer Banks lighthouses, such as the Cape Hatteras Light Station and the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. You can also explore the rich history of the region by visiting the Wright Brothers National Memorial or the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, a free exhibition about the shipwrecks off North Carolina’s coast.

Fall Festivals and Events

Autumn in the Outer Banks is full of exciting festivals and events!

  • Duck Jazz Festival
     - Held in the charming town of Duck on Hatteras Island, this free festival features local and national jazz musicians, food vendors, and family-friendly activities.

  • OBX Brewtag
     - Inspired by the legendary Red Bull Flugtag, this quirky event is held in Nags Head in October, and it involves teams launching homemade flying contraptions made out of empty beer kegs, competing for distance and creativity.

  • Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival
     - This multi-day music festival features world-class bluegrass performances from renowned regional and international artists. Held in Manteo every October, this is a must-visit for Outer Banks enthusiasts that love bluegrass music.

  • Outer Banks Seafood Festival
     - Celebrate the rich maritime heritage of the Outer Banks with fresh local seafood, live music, and family-friendly activities in Nags Head. Held every year in October!

Whether you’re spending time at the beach, on the water or attending one of the many concerns and events, the Outer Banks offer something for everyone in the fall. Embrace the secret season and discover a different side of this coastal paradise - book your Outer Banks vacation rental today!

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