17 Cheap & Free Things to Do in Nags Head NC

Beach in Nags Head North Carolina

An Outer Banks vacation can be expensive.

Lodging, groceries, dining out, gas, sunscreen… things start to add up quickly! If your wallet is hurting or you’re trying to be thrifty, this list will help you enjoy your stay without spending a fortune.

So, without further ado, here is our list of 37 free as well as cheap things to do in Nags Head, NC.

1. Climb the dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Enjoy a free cardio workout on the tallest natural sand dune system in the Eastern United States. If you haven’t climbed the dunes here, you’re missing out!

2. Enjoy a sound side sunset. The Outer Banks Event Site at milepost 16 has plenty of parking and viewing area.

3. Check out the small aquarium within Jennette’s Pier. It's completely free to view the half a dozen tanks within the pier house.

4. Walk along the pier boardwalk at Jennette’s Pier. It Will cost you a couple of bucks per person, and it’s worth it.

5. Go body surfing in the break. Your body will save you some dough on a surfboard rental. Plus its great exercise.

6. Catch the sunrise. It’s hard to get out of bed, but it’s worth it once you’re on the beach and the sun is rising up over the horizon.

7. Visit Bodie Island Lighthouse. It costs a few dollars to climb to the top. Visiting the grounds and taking a bunch of pictures is free though.

8. Journey across the Bonner Bridge. Seriously the view of the sandbars, ocean, and sound is breathtaking. Let someone else do the driving, you just enjoy the view.

9. Watch the boats unload their catch. Arrive at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center around 4 or 5 to check out what everyone caught for the day. Captains and crew will usually toss their catch up on the deck for everyone to see.

10. Walk along the beach. Best way to end the day. Start walking just before dark and let the stars guide you back to where you started.

11. Visit the shops at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing. It doesn’t cost anything to the window shop! And you can score some free samples from the fudge store if you’re lucky.

12. Check out the artwork at Seagreen Gallery. Full of really unique art pieces, the owner of this small establishment is seriously talented.

13. Journey through Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve. Huge pine trees and enchanting trails await you in this not-so-well-known portion of Nags Head. A great spot to visit during your Nags Head vacation… and completely free!

14. Feed the seagulls on the beach. The only cost for this activity is the price of a loaf of bread. Good idea to do this either early morning or late afternoon as not to disturb everyone else on the beach.

15. Build a sandcastle. This one is a no-brainer, building an impressive fortress on the beach won’t cost a dime… and its a fun activity for everyone in the family.

16. Visit the new Dowdy’s Park. What used to be a small amusement park is now a regular park that’s owned and operated by the Town of Nags Head. There’s a playground for the little ones and a few other surprises.

17. Indulge on a treat from Duck Donuts. Seriously the best donuts ever… stop by their location at the Outer Banks Mall in Nags Head for one or a dozen of their made in front of your offerings. During the summer, Duck Donuts is open past the afternoon. Donuts are only about $1 so dig in!

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