The Outer Banks is home to the most stunning beaches in North Carolina, featuring windswept sand dunes, wild horses, and miles of pristine coastline. No matter which area you choose to have your Outer Banks beach vacation on these breathtaking barrier islands, the perfect sandy oasis is waiting for you to sit back and embrace the cool ocean breeze. Follow our guide to the best Outer Banks beaches and you’ll be living like a beach bum in no time at all! Before your visit, download our complimentary Vacation Guide and receive instant access to the area’s best restaurants, attractions, and events. With our guide, planning your getaway has never been easier!
The Best Outer Banks Beaches
1. Kitty Hawk
Kitty Hawk is well known for many things, including its magnificent beach. The beach in Kitty Hawk, like Kill Devil Hills, receives some of the largest waves in all of the Northern Beaches. If you’re feeling adventurous, take part in some excellent surfing and skimboarding, as those are the most popular Kitty Hawk activities. Kitty Hawk Water Sports is conveniently located to supply you with surfboard and kayak rentals. Also, the area is home to Kitty Hawk Woods, a 461-acre maritime forest reserve with walking trails where you can spot local wildlife.
If your family has some furry members, you’ll want to visit Duck! Known as one of the most pet-friendly beaches in the country, Duck allows dogs to be off-leash and roam the sand and waters freely (under owner supervision, of course). Bring your favorite companion with you while visiting this beach for some fun in the sun. While you’re here, check out some of Duck’s best attractions!
3. Southern Shores
Nestled between the towns of Kitty Hawk and Duck, you’ll find Southern Shores. Southern Shores has everything you need to build the perfect beach day—stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, exciting shopping centers, local markets, and more. Public parking is limited in this area, so make sure to plan accordingly when heading out for the day.
4. Kill Devil Hills
Kill Devil Hills is known for some of the best waves and water sports in the area. Accompanied by big waves, you’ll definitely want to get in on the fun! As you travel along Highway 12, you’ll find various public beach accesses and public bathhouses.
5. Nags Head
The natural beauty and lively atmosphere of Nags Head make it one of the most attractive beaches in the Outer Banks. While you’re visiting, be sure to take a stroll down Jennette’s Pier, the longest public pier in the state, and gaze at the unbelievable sunsets. Head to Nags Head—excellent weather and a gorgeous stretch of coastline on the East Coast are waiting!
Corolla is a unique destination that borders the Atlantic Ocean and Currituck Sound. This location allows beachgoers to easily access to the salty ocean waves, the calm kayak-worthy sound waters, and the picturesque maritime forests that lie in-between. Year after year, the Corolla Wild Horses have been a favorite attraction among visitors of all ages. Guided tours are available to get a one of a kind look at the Wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs.
What to Bring to the Beach
Spending the day on the sandy shores is an exciting experience. Make sure you are prepared and have everything you might need to map out the perfect Outer Banks beach vacation.
- Beach towels
- Beach Umbrella
- Beach Blanket
- Change of clothes
- Lounge chairs
- Book or Magazine
Check out this map of Outer Banks beaches for your reference!
Plan Your Vacation to the Best Outer Banks Beaches Today
Make your Outer Banks beach vacation complete with a stay at one of our beautiful OBX vacation rentals. Whether you’re embarking on a romantic getaway or family vacation, finding the perfect place to stay is never an issue! We have properties in every single one of the Outer Banks communities, many being oceanside homes. For example, On Sail Sat-Sat is a stunning pet-friendly home in Corolla that features a private pool and hot tub!