Outer Banks, NC  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Outer Banks Area Features

Choose Your Own Adventure!

Throughout the entire Outer Banks, it’s easy to find activities and adventures that will get the adrenaline pumping. The natural splendors of the barrier islands create great environments for a wide variety of sports. The sea has perfect waves for surfing; the Sound is ideal for paddleboarding; and the sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge are the only place on the east coast where sandboarding is possible. Adventures await you at every turn. Where will they take you?


The OBX coastline is also ideal for kiteboarding, and though it can be costly to get started, it is a very popular sport. It is absolutely necessary for the novice kiteboarder to receive proper instruction in the correct mechanics and use of the equipment. A good instructor will teach you about rigging the kite, becoming airborne and learning to cruise along the waves and through the air. Those with advanced skills can take on flips and twists while having fun and getting a great workout!


Surfing is probably the most popular watersport in the Outer Banks. If you’ve never tried it, this is a great place to start. Here, you’ll find beaches that can handle just about any swell direction the Atlantic can throw your way. Combine that with summer water temps from 75-82º, and you’re in surfing heaven. The waves aren’t typically too strong to intimidate novices but they can be strong enough to challenge pros.

Looking for gear? Look to Sunny Day Guide for shops that will rent you the latest in quality boards. Typically you’ll find soft boards, hard epoxy boards, and a few premium boards for those thinking about an eventual purchase. New to surfing? A good surfing instructor is key and it is easy to find one in this region. Many shops that provide rentals also provide instruction and plenty of free advice. When the waves are good, the rental boards go fast!

Jet Skiing

One of the most popular watersports in the Outer Banks is jet skiing. Spread throughout the region are many places that rent jet skis that can accommodate 1, 2, or 3 people. Experience an adrenaline-charged rush while racing over the waves at top speed. Many of the riding areas are spacious enough to give you a great sense of freedom in the water.


For those who are certified, diving in the Outer Banks can be a rewarding experience—literally. In addition to returning from the water with the evening’s dinner, divers with a keen eye and good luck may be able to salvage some treasure from one of the many shipwrecks in the area. Many divers believe that the history they’re exploring is a treasure in itself. It is important to note that many sites, such as the wreck of the USS Monitor, are protected by the National Park Service or other agencies, and permits are required to dive in those areas.


Embarking on a challenging voyage on the waves of the deep sea while hooking a game fish onto a boat deck can be quite an adventure. Anglers of most ages can participate, and no intermediate skill is required since knowledgeable captains provide the equipment and the prime fishing spots for those looking to battle some of the largest fish in the ocean. Even a smaller fish can test the strength of the fisherman trying to reel one in as it fights to break free from the hook.


Stand-up paddleboarding has gained a lot of enthusiasts from Kitty Hawk to Hawaii. The beautiful part of this sport is that when you catch a wave, you’re already standing up. Riders first use the paddle to catch a breaking wave, and then use it to increase speed while riding the surf. It's pretty easy to learn but experts advise first learning and practicing on “flat water.” Don’t be surprised if you find yourself taking a refreshing dip in the water once or twice until you get the hang of it! Once riders get used to keeping their balance and paddling smoothly, they may want to head to the ocean for more challenging fun. Some SUP riders prefer to take long cruises paralleling the shoreline. If the ocean is clear, it’s possible to see schools of fish and dolphin swimming.


Be among the first you know to try a cutting-edge sport. Sandboarding is a hot new activity, but finding ideal places to try it can be challenging since there are so few areas in the nation with large sloping mounds of sand. However, Jockey’s Ridge on the OBX has been boasted as the best place on the East Coast to try it. It’s like snowboarding, but without the chill of winter. Just strap on a board and surf down the sand of the dune. Maybe you’ll catch some air!

Ropes Courses

On the Outer Banks, there are also thrilling activity places such as Corolla Adventure Park, the First Flight Adventure Park in Nags Head, or the Adventure Tower in Rodanthe where you can defy gravity on a rope and zip-line course consisting of aerial obstacles for many different levels. Climb to platforms that extend to 50 feet in height and navigate your way through strategically placed hurdles that are both mentally and physically challenging. Once you reach the zip lines, you just glide through the sky to the ground below.

Rock Climbing

Hwy. 12 Amusements is an entertainment complex near Rodanthe that hosts an outdoor rock wall. It’s much safer to try rock climbing here than in nature, plus it’s a good way to get introduced to the sport. After you’re done with this adventure, step inside for a game of laser tag or visit the arcade. It’s a one-stop destination for fun!

From surfing to kiteboarding and climbing to skydiving, adventurous go-getters have a lot to choose from. After all, the Outer Banks of North Carolina has a long history of paving the way in exciting sports and activities. Like the Wright Brothers, you too can find your new feat to vanquish here on the Outer Banks.

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