4 Best Surfing Spots on the Outer Banks NC

Surfing Outer Banks NC Guide

For watersports lovers, the Outer Banks is a pure utopia!

Whether it’s kayaking, kiteboarding, stand up paddleboarding, or scuba diving, the great barrier islands have you covered.

For all of you surfers out there, you probably already know that the area abounds with unique surf opportunities, but just in case you didn’t, below are four of the very best surfing spots on the Outer Banks.


One of the most revered surf breaks on the East Coast, the S-Turns can be found on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, just north of Rodanthe, where N.C. 12 juts in an s-curve just before a large group of houses.

This is where you’ll find many surfers taking advantage of the unique conditions. This surfing honey hole is extremely crowded during the summer but well worth the wrangle.

You are permitted to park your car along the side of the road and carefully cross over the dunes to access these coveted waves. S-turns are often very busy with surfers, board boarders, and photographers who come here to enjoy and witness superb wave conditions.

Just before entering the town of Rodanthe if you’re heading south on NC 12


Also known as the “Old Station,” located at milepost 2 in Kitty Hawk, the Laundromats (as the locals call it) is an area known for its consistent waves.

This area is especially thunderous after a good storm. The rough waves of this local favorite break close to the shore, possibly lending to its name, after sending surfers to the wash.

Breaks here offer surfers the option to go both left and right with waves that are surfable during both low tide, high tide, and the period in-between.

3840 North Virginia Dare Trail
Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

Jennette’s Pier

This famous pier in Nags Head is one of the Outer Banks’ oldest surfing favorites, as Nags Head vacationers and locals alike have been paddling out here since the 1940s.

As with any pier, the friction created by the water against the pilings produces better wave conditions. Jennette’s is the only concrete pier on the Outer Banks. Surf is typically very consistent and great for beginners.

Many local surf instructors choose this location to hold their lessons. There’s an expansive and overflow parking lot as well as a rather nice bathhouse. If you get hungry, Dune Burger is well-within walking distance of the structure.

7223 S Virginia Dare Trail
Nags Head, NC 27959

Old Lighthouse Jetties

This surfing hot spot is located where the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse used to stand before it was moved further inland in 1999.

The jetties, which were built to protect the lighthouse in the place that it used to stand, are still in place and provide outstanding water conditions for riding waves.

Beware of the rocky jetties! Be cautious as this would be a dangerous spot for beginning surfers to attempt to conquer.

46379 Lighthouse Road
Buxton, NC 27920

Your Surfing Related Questions Answered

Do I need to have a wet suit in order to go surfing?
Yes and no. If you paddle out between the period of late June to early October, you’ll be comfortable wearing nothing more than a bathing suit. If you venture out during the winter/spring months, cold weather swim apparel is encouraged and pretty much required.

When is the best time to go surfing on the Outer Banks?
In our opinion, fall is the very best time of year to catch a wave off the coast of North Carolina. Waves during the autumn are typically bigger than those found during the summer months. Plus, for the majority of the season, the water is reasonably warm.

If the red flags are up, can I still go surfing?
You may not. It is actually illegal to be in the water when the red flags are up, and a member of the ocean rescue team can force you to get out of the ocean and hand you a ticket. Can you do it and get away with it? Sometimes. However, why risk it? If it all possible, stay out of the water if the red flags are flying!

May I surf in close proximity to a fishing pier?
Ahh, you can but it isn’t recommended. You don’t have to be a genius to acknowledge that if you run into a wooden or concrete pole protruding from the ground, you’re likely to get hurt. Compound that with being in the unforgiving waters of the Atlantic, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. As a general rule of thumb, try to stay at least 100 yards away from a pier while in the water.

Waves come and go, that is what they do. Check the local surfing reports before you head out or drive up and down the beach road until you see something that catches your eye.

No matter how you choose to find your perfect wave, or where you decide to go, your Outer Banks vacation will not disappoint. Because even if you don’t catch your dream wave, the time in the water on the beautiful Outer Banks is no time wasted, that is for sure.

1 comment

  • For skimming…..I would say that the Bath House is #1, then maybe Jennette’s Pier(south side) and then any place in Kitty Hawk.

    Mark II

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published