12 planning tips for your next Outer Banks adventure

Every year, the Outer Banks of North Carolina attracts millions of tourists for spectacular views and cultural history. The OBX has several tourist attractions and activities, like a climb to Kill Devil Hills, Springer’s Point Reserve, mini golf courses, the aquarium, and so much more.

For those who don’t know, the Outer Banks (OBX) is a group of islands spread over 100 miles that separate the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland. These islands are home to some of North Carolina’s state parks, finest beaches, diving sites, beach camping, quaint communities, historic lighthouses, surfing, luxury home rentals, exciting water sports, and unique wildlife encounters. All these places to see and things to do make Outer Banks vacations very popular with travelers, which is why in this article I’m sharing some insider tips to make the most of your experience.

What makes OBX the perfect holiday destination

Outer Banks has beautiful beaches and uncharted islands, making it a stunning tourist destination. It also offers a variety of outdoor activities to suit everyone.

If you are planning a trip to the Outer Banks, you are never going to get bored since there are plenty of things to do. To help you out, I have compiled a list of twelve helpful tips for your next Outer Banks adventure.

Planning tips for the best Outer Banks vacation

1. Book a family rental

A vacation home is a perfect way to spend quality time with loved ones while enjoying the Outer Bank’s sublime views. Home vacation rentals and multi-bedroom homes on the outskirts of the Outer Banks are cost-effective and popular choices over resorts and hotels.

outer banks vacation rental obx
Outer Banks vacation rental OBX

Why choose a vacation rental?

  • Apartments or private homes are an economical option compared to a hotel.
  • A vacation home offers you extra space to walk around.
  • Additionally, vacation rentals provide amenities that hotels don’t. For example functional kitchens, in-home chefs, outer grill, theater and media room, kayaks available for use, and much more.
  • Furthermore, if you are traveling with the elderly, rentals offer dedicated ground-floor units.

When looking for the best rental home for your needs, here are some points to consider:

  • Considering the distance to the beach is essential while looking for a rental in OBX. Book an oceanfront or sound front property to enjoy the spectacular views.
  • Pick a rental anywhere from 100 yds to 500+ yds from the beach, depending upon your preference.
  • For pets, find rentals that have pet-friendly amenities.

Keep in mind that rental homes sell out faster in summer than at other times of the year. I recommend you plan a spring or fall break instead.

2. Choose between calm and busy areas

Some areas of the Outer Banks are much more densely populated than others. The most densely populated regions include Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills. These are the preferred areas to stay in if you want more “urban” amenities like hotels, restaurants, cinemas, and more.

3. Keep an eye on the weather

Tropical storms and hurricanes frequently strike the Outer Banks. Always check the weather forecast before planning your itinerary.

4. Pack a travel essential kit

An essential travel kit can help you stay organized and save time while traveling. A few essentials include the following:

  • Portable charger
  • Travel wallet
  • Toiletries
  • Reef safe sunscreen
  • Sanitizers
  • Lip balms
  • Face masks
  • Neck pillows and prescription medications
  • Windproof umbrella
  • Packing cubes
  • Cooling towel
  • Neck wallet
  • Universal travel adapter
  • Waterproof dry bag
  • Underwater camera
  • Beach bag and a conditioner.

Also, if you are traveling with kids in tow, pack snacks, beverages, bug spray, mini dry shampoo, kids’ swimsuits, games, coloring books, etc.

5. Get your vehicle inspected

If you plan to travel to the Outer Banks by car, take your vehicle for routine maintenance and inspection to avoid a breakdown during your trip. The regular checkup includes checking the condition of brakes, lights, tires, engine fluids, air conditioning system, steering, clutch, and wheel alignment.

Also, consider stocking up on essentials in your vehicle, including a spare tire, a first-aid kit, tools, jumper cables, a flashlight, hand warmers, and blankets.

things to do in outer banks vacation
Enjoy beautiful places on your Outer Banks vacation

6. Visit Insta-worthy places

OBX has something for everyone, whether you want to relax on a quiet beach or visit the sights. I especially recommend including all the famous places in your schedule. Consider booking a tour to see Elizabethan Gardens, spot wild horses in the Corolla, or climb Jockey’s Ridge in Nags Head, North Carolina.

7. Indulge in learning the history of OBX

The Outer Banks is home not only to spectacular beaches and breathtaking scenery but also to a rich history and culture based on exploration and seafaring.

Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial to learn more about how the Wright Brothers flew the first powered aircraft in Kitty Hawk.

8. Try fishing

If you rejoice in fishing, Outer Banks will not disappoint. The ‘Billfish Capital Of The World” Outer Banks is home to hundreds of Marlin and Sailfish. Vacationing anglers get drawn to the Outer Banks due to the largest fishing grounds off the beaches and proximity to the Gulf Stream. Visit Cape Point, Oregon Inlet, and Avon Fishing Pier for freshwater fishing.

9. Taste the sumptuous delicacies

When you are at Outer Banks, you are at a place that offers the finest delicacies. The Outer Bank restaurants and bars provide the best-fried oysters, shrimp, soft-shell crabs, cheese, and more. Tuna is one of the most popular fish in the Outer Banks and is available in all seasons. From seafood to Insta-worthy meals and desserts, Outer Banks restaurants certainly offer you the best dining experience.

10. Try water sports

The Atlantic Sea Water that makes up the beaches of the Outer Banks is a perfect paradise for people who love water sports. The ideal place to satisfy your adrenaline rush needs– Outer Banks has many water sports activities, including the following.

  • Windsurfing
  • Kayaking
  • Scuba diving
  • Kitesurfing
  • Parasailing
  • Canoeing
  • Jet skiing
  • Paddleboarding.

outer banks at sunset obx
Admire the Outer Banks at sunset

11. Enjoy the sunsets

One of the primary reasons people visit the Outer Banks is the serene sunsets. It’s no surprise that when I think of sunrises and sunsets, I think of beaches. But OBX is not like any other conventional beach. There is something beautiful and enchanting about a sunset over the Outer Banks. You can experience the incredible evening at Jockey’s Ridge and enjoy a 360-degree view of the Outer Banks. Another famous location amongst locals is Currituck Heritage Park, and you shouldn’t miss taking a few pictures here.

12. Find sea glass and shells

Whether kids or adults, everyone likes to fill their time strolling on beaches and trying to find a few washed-up objects. The most common types of such things are shells and sea glass. The best part is that the whole family can enjoy doing this activity. For example, some members may look for glass, seashells, shark teeth, and more.

Final Words

Start planning your Outer Banks vacation a few days in advance. It will give you enough time to compare the properties and help you save holiday expenses by getting the best deals.

About the author

Mirela Letailleur The Travel Bunny

Mirela Letailleur is a Romanian travel blogger living in the South of France. She writes on The Travel Bunny travel blog about affordable travel in Europe. Creator of unique free travel guides and local travel expert. Problem solver. Wannabe coffee guru.

Read more about Mirela Letailleur

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