What Is The Best Time of Year to go to the Outer Banks?

Kiteboarding Outer Banks NC

This is probably one of the most common questions anyone has when planning a trip to the barrier islands located just off the coast of North Carolina. You want to visit during the best time of year... the question is, when is that for this particular vacation destination?

The best of year to visit the Outer Banks is hands-down during the month of September and early October.

  • Cost is way down on lodging.
  • Fewer crowds at locally-owned restaurants and hangouts.
  • The beach is basically yours with smaller crowds.
  • Ocean water temperatures are favorable during most fall months.

If you have been to the Outer Banks before, chances are you visited during the summer months - especially if you have school-aged children in your household.

We realize not everyone can make a week-long getaway to North Carolina's coast happen during the fall and sometimes, given school schedules, summer or peak season is the only feasible option.

Why is Fall The Superior Time to Visit?

Prices on lodging are way down, you can book a vacation rental home or condo for hundreds if not thousands of dollars less than the same length of time in June, July, or August. You will also have more options in regards to availability. Upgrade from between the roads to oceanfront with your savings and live it up in Nags Head or Corolla.

During the fall, most locally-owned restaurants and bars are still open and you won't have to wait nearly as long to get seated. Now, some places won't be open during the autumn, but most will be. Places like Kill Devil Grill, The Blue Point, and Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe are a few of our favorites.

Shops haven't closed their doors for the year quite yet and again, crowds are significantly less! Yes, you won't need to brave the crowds at Wings or Kitty Hawk Kites if you visit the OBX during September or October.

Ocean water temperatures are still favorable during all of September and most of October. Rest assured, you can dive into the Atlantic wearing only a pair of boardshorts without freezing to death.

More Reasons Why You Should Visit the Outer Banks in the Fall

If we haven't given you enough reason to move your July vacation to early-October, here are a few more compelling reasons.

  • Vacation rental companies are more willing to work with you when it comes to price if you visit during the offseason.
  • It is way easier to obtain a 3-day stay in a spectacular vacation rental home or condo during the fall.
  • Traffic is pretty much non-existent. Yes, no battling an endless number of cars on a Saturday morning to check into your home. There is some traffic, but it's nothing like what most experience during the summer months.
  • There is a slew of events during September and October that you can plan your trip around. Check out the Outer Banks Seafood Festival or the OBX Brewtag when planning your next stay.
  • If you enjoy fishing, you'll want to visit during the fall as this is one of the best times of year to catch the "big one" from the Atlantic.
  • Into surfing or bodyboarding? Waves are usually more consistent and larger during September or October when compared to July or August.

That about sums it up! Think we've provided about a dozen or so reasons to plan your stay on the Outer Banks during either September or early-October. 


The best time to visit the Outer Banks depends on your personal preferences and the activities you hope to enjoy while there.

Generally, the busiest tourist season is from May to September, when the weather is warm and sunny and the beaches are open.

If you're looking to avoid crowds and find more affordable accommodations, consider visiting in the spring or fall. The weather is still pleasant during these months, and you may have a better chance of finding deals on rentals and activities.

Winter is a quieter time to visit the Outer Banks, and it can be a great option for those looking to escape the cold and enjoy some relaxation on the beach. However, keep in mind that some restaurants and attractions may be closed during the off-season.

Let us know in the comments section below which time of year is your favorite, we'd love to hear from you!

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