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Enjoy the Outer Banks in the Winter & Spring

If you happen to be someone with a heart for history who loves the great outdoors and can’t get enough of fantastic food, shopping, and options for exploration– then there’s no better place to plan a great getaway than the Outer Banks. These beautiful barrier islands just off the coast of North Carolina work as a natural bridge between the mainland and the inspiring Atlantic Ocean. The Outer Banks is loved for its sensational stretches of shorelines and open-sea beaches as well as the plethora of diving sites, state parks, historical landmarks and much more. Aviation has its historical roots in this incredible destination as well as pirate culture, sailing and beyond.

Travelers head to the Outer Banks from near and far each year in pursuit of time indulging their various interests. While some come for the fishing and wildlife watching, others come to make the most of time spent windsurfing, diving, dining, and shopping. The Outer Banks is home to amazing mini golf stops, beaches, aquariums and even lighthouses just to a name a few of many. The many neighborhoods that make up the Outer Banks each boast their own sense of charm and prove to be appealing in their own right, only expanding visitor options for discovery. With so many things to see, experience, and do, having a plan in place to make the most of your time visiting the Outer Banks is key to a great stay. If you’re lucky enough to be traveling to the Outer Banks in the winter or spring, consider this your ultimate guide to getting the most out of your adventure!

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Winter Seasonal Highlights

The Outer Banks has a way of capturing visitor minds and imaginations year-round and a winter adventure this direction is no exception to the rule. The beauty of a winter trip this way lies in the often mild and enjoyable temperatures floating at times into the 50s -60s during the day.   These manageable numbers mean that those who are excited to avoid the summer crowds and still enjoy the beautiful surroundings can absolutely do that when they’re here in the winter! At a minimum, you’ll want to be sure to pack layers so you’re ready for those temperature fluctuations.

When your idea of recharging starts with outdoor fun, begin your winter Outer Banks adventure at the Elizabethan Gardens. Situated within reach from the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke Island, these gardens are designed around Tudor-era aesthetics providing a pristine step into the past that promises to be peaceful and captivating as well. Much to the delight of winter travelers, the gardens are open year-round and can be easily accessed on National Park Drive in Manteo. Admission is $11 for adults and $9 for children 6 to 17. Those 5 and under can enter the gardens for just $6. While these gardens are a great place to enjoy a stroll no matter when you’re in the area, if you happen to be visiting in November or December specifically, you’re in luck. During these winter months, the gardens transform into a wonderland of winter magic as the grounds become the Winter Lights event. During this time, the gardens are overflowing with holiday décor and twinkling lights. Food is served and incredible displays are added to the already intriguing surroundings. It’s a family-fun experience you won’t want to miss!

wright brothers national memorial


If you happen to be a history buff looking for an exciting outdoor stop, make sure to add the Wright Brothers National Memorial to your winter itinerary when visiting the Outer Banks. This monument is located at 1000 North Croatan Highway in Kill Devil Hills and pays homage to the Wright Brothers’ amazing achievements in aviation. Orville and Wilbur Wright managed the first successful airplane flight in Kitty Hawk in 1903 and today, the memorial stands as a testament to their incredible achievement. The memorial is open daily from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm making it an easy place to fit into any itinerary or vacation schedule. A benefit to visiting this site in winter is that you’ll get a better view without the typical summer crowds to contend with.

Let Lighthouse Visits Define Your Winter Fun

Many warm-weather travelers come to the Outer Banks in summer to enjoy time exploring the area’s vast collection of lighthouses. However, a visit in the winter gets you up close to the same amazing structures without waiting in any lines or trying to see over the tops of crowds. If you’re a photographer, it’s a great season to capture lighthouses on camera in a stress-free and idyllic lighting environment. While you’re here this winter, be sure to check out the Currituck Beach Lighthouse as well as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.


Currituck Beach Lighthouse


The Currituck Beach Lighthouse(pictured above) is found in Corolla on Corolla Village Road and dates back to 1875. Unlike its lighthouse counterparts across the Outer Banks, this structure is uniquely unpainted revealing the maze of bricks it takes to construct such an impressive structure. You won’t be able to climb to the observation tower in the winter, but the grounds are open year-round so take time to linger, admire, and make the most of photo opportunities too. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is perhaps the most iconic of the bunch across the Outer Banks and easy to spot thanks to its black and white stripes that wind around its façade. This lighthouse stands 210 feet high and is found in Buxton at 46375 Lighthouse Road. The grounds are open daily between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm to visitors.

Beaches are Worth Exploring in the Winter

While it’s fair to say that you may not want to grab a swimsuit and jump in the water during your winter visit to the Outer Banks, time on the beach is definitely in your wheelhouse of options to enjoy! When those 50s and 60s temperatures roll around in the winter, there’s no reason visitors can’t enjoy time strolling along the sand, beachcombing for shells, or settling in and watching the waves rolls in. Without the summer crowds lingering, Outer Banks beaches in the winter take on a tranquil atmosphere that’s refreshing and appealing to many travelers. The shorelines here are a great place for birding as well thanks to the migratory and local species that sweep through this time of year.

Spring Seasonal Highlights – Outer Banks Spring Break

For all of the fun and excitement that a winter getaway to the Outer Banks provides, those with a heart for warmer weather travels and outdoor adventure will find spring to be a season that impeccably balances it all. With summer just around the corner but the mid-summer crowds still at bay, visitors this time of year will find the Outer Banks to be welcoming, fun, and inspiring. If you can’t wait to enjoy scenic spring surroundings, head over to Jockeys Ridge State Park at least once while you’re here. Situated on W. Carolista Drive in Nags Head, this springtime hot spot is an amazing place to hike your way through a spring day and observe some of the tallest sand dunes on the Atlantic seaboard! If you climb to the top, you’ll be treated to a panoramic vista of the Atlantic Ocean and Roanoke Sound too. Many people come to Jockeys Ridge State Park in the spring to fly kites when the wind is right or participate in hang-gliding lessons which come with an amazing bird’s eye view of the tantalizing terrain fully intact! These lessons average about three hours at a time and are available for beginners and advanced hang gliders alike.

Outer Banks attractions

Another outdoor highlight activity to enjoy during your Outer Banks Spring Break vacation is a Corolla Horse Tour. Whether you’re in town solo, as a couple, or with the entire family in tow, this is something you won’t want to leave off your must-do list. Corolla is known and loved for its population of wild horses that are believed to be the descendants of horses left by early explorers. Since that time, they’ve continued to thrive in this lush terrain and booking a tour is the best way to see them closer in their natural environment. Corolla Horse Tours are designed to provide guests with insight on Outer Banks history while also getting an amazing and one-of-a-kind look at these spectacular creatures in a way that’s safe for them and participants.

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Family-Friendly Spring Activities

One of the best ways to enjoy time together when you’re headed to the Outer Banks this spring is to spend some time casting a line in good company. The Outer Banks is an oasis of potential for anglers with waters teeming with a variety of fish species ready to bite this time of year. That means experienced anglers and their fellow travelers can head out to the beach, piers or rental boat and make the most of time on the water seeing what they can reel in. There are also a number of local charter companies that offer guided fishing experiences for those who could use a refresher or first-time lesson with a guide. Between March and early April, sea trout, bluefish, grouper, and snapper abound in the waters around the Outer Banks. If you’re looking for a charter option to help you maximize your haul, consider Outer Banks Fishing Charters, The Crystal Dawn, and Miss Oregon Inlet to begin.

People enjoying OBX fishing charters

If you’re looking for land-based options for family fun, the Outer Banks is a great place to enjoy spring beach-combing excursions. Any of the beaches stretching from Nags Head to Corolla promises to be filled with potential finds. Grab a bucket and scour the sands for shells and sea glass alike. Chances are you’ll find more than you even bargained for!

Of course, if you’re the type of springtime traveling family that can’t wait to indulge a desire for adrenaline-pumping fun, you’re going to want to add a stop at First Flight Adventure Park to your itinerary. This Nags Head amusement facility opens around Spring Break time and is a beloved aerial park in the area. Here, visitors can enjoy more than 48 different obstacles, some of which tower more than 50 feet up in the air! These are paired with ziplines that promise a thrill as a well as a breathtaking view with every journey down.

Don’t Miss Out on Spring Shopping Fun

For all of the great weather and outdoor fun to be found in the Outer Banks during spring, this destination promises to be an oasis of potential when it comes to shopping adventures too. No matter what you’re on the hunt for, there are plenty of places to invest your time. The Outer Banks as a whole is filled with everything from big name stores to boutique shops where you can find everything from mementos and souvenirs to apparel, home goods and works by local artisans as well. Good options when you’re looking for a comprehensive shopping experience with a lot of diverse browsing to be enjoyed include the Waterfront Shops in Duck, Scarborough Lane, and the Scarborough Faire Shopping Center. All of these shopping stops come with a variety of local eateries to enjoy as well, so if you work up an appetite shopping the day away, you can rest easy knowing your cravings are covered.

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Book Your Outer Banks Adventure Today

There’s no reason to wait when you’re ready to enjoy an Outer Banks Adventure. The team at Shoreline OBX is here to make sure you have the accommodations in place to top off your journey in comfort, luxury, and style! Reach out today to learn more about our many vacation rental options in the area and how we can help you start planning your next trip.