An Outer Banks vacation isn’t complete without boarding a boat and setting sail on the rolling waters of the Atlantic Ocean or the peaceful area sounds. By venturing to a local pier or marina, you’ll find many options for an exceptional day (or evening) on the water. After all, boating is fun, relaxing, and the perfect thing to do on a beautiful day on the North Carolina coast.
The Outer Banks is renowned for its spectacular fishing. The Gulf Stream sets the stage for some of the most exciting fishing found anywhere in the world. Imagine the thrill as a massive blue marlin charges from the deep to inhale a lure trailing only yards behind the boat. That feeling kicks into high gear when the marlin, weighing nearly 500 pounds, takes the bait and leaps ten feet into the air. At the end of the fight, both angler and fish are winners when the fish is unhooked and released to swim away unharmed.
Blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish, locally known as “billfish,” are among the top sport fish to catch when offshore fishing. Some of the best-tasting fish in the sea, such as yellowfin tuna, wahoo, king mackerel and dolphin (the fish which is also called mahi-mahi—not the mammal) can also be caught on a Gulf Stream charter. Sometimes the thrill of the hunt is an adventure in itself. Near-shore waters provide an abundance of fish for boaters. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, red drum, sea bass, cobia, and amberjack can be caught within a few miles of land. During the past several years, striped bass have made some memorable appearances during the winter.
Trust your Outer Banks Fishing Guide to find knowledgeable guides who are available for offshore charters or backcountry fishing safaris. The local captains are among the best in the world! And the best part is, you don’t need any equipment or experience. They furnish all of the expertise, tackle, bait, and equipment for fishing trips, which can be arranged through many of the Outer Banks marinas and boat docks.
Be your own captain
Rental boats are also available to aspiring captains and their first mates. Take the entire family out onto the water for a boating adventure through any of the reputable companies you’ll find at marinas in the region. They have everything you need for a great day on the water including safety equipment, a boater’s certificate (if necessary) and your choice of pontoon or jet boats for rent. And everywhere you look, it’s easy to find jet skiers racing along the waterways off the coasts of the Outer Banks. There are tons of places where you can rent a jet ski and experience the fun for yourself. Whether you opt for a solo jet ski or prefer to team up on a double- or triple-seater, the freedom to explore the bay is in your hands. Zip over waves, swerve around curves, and travel at high speeds on this exhilarating experience.
For those who would appreciate a relaxing reprieve from adrenalized adventures, a wildlife tour might be the way to go. Not only do you get to leave the captaining to someone else, but everyone in the group will get to learn about dolphins, whales or other aquatic creatures while hopefully seeing them in the wild. Dolphin cruises bring you close to the mammals that continually captivate spectators. Their intelligence, communication styles and playful antics have endeared them to many, and the love for these mammals continues to grow. Plus, they’re fun to see in the wild. That’s why tours to see these creatures have become so popular on the Outer Banks.
Perhaps a slower approach is more your speed. If so, try taking out a non-motorized vessel—a kayak—while staying on the Outer Banks. Kayaking gives you and your family the opportunity to discover hidden coves along the bays and rivers or natural splendors of the open sea. With good reason, the number of people enjoying this activity has exploded during the last several years. Kayakers can set their own pace and choose an exhilarating adventure by riding breaking waves in rough waters. Or, they can opt for a more peaceful expedition, exploring pristine sound-side waters alive with wildlife. This environment provides a more controlled way of participating in the sport. Many watersports outfitters offer guided tours where participants can learn about salt marshes, waterfowl, and marine critters as well as history and local legends. Anglers have also adopted kayaks as an efficient, affordable way to seek out secret, productive fishing grounds on both sides of the islands.
If you’re interested in other boat-based activities but would prefer to have someone else in charge so you can enjoy the fun, there are a few other fantastic nautical experiences to try. A gorgeous vista awaits those brave enough to take to the skies to see the North Carolina coastline from a different (and higher) perspective while parasailing. For sheer fun, maybe book a tubing or banana boat ride. You’ll be bouncing along on a group raft as a powerboat speeds you over the ocean waves.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if you want to set sail for relaxation, sport, sightseeing or entertainment. There is a boat cruise available that can cater to your interests. Enjoy your voyage on the water!