Number Days Needed for a Outer Banks Vacation

Pier Nags Head NC Outer Banks

Spiral staircases. Wild horses. Fresh seafood. There are many things to see and do while visiting North Carolina's Outer Banks!

While planning a trip to the barrier islands, travelers should spend some time crafting at least a rough itinerary of things they'd like to accomplish during their stay. After all, unless you are fortunate enough to live along NC's coast, you have limited time to make the most of your stay.

So, how many days should you plan to visit the Outer Banks? We recommend you set aside at least three days for an Outer Banks vacation. However, it would be preferable to spend an entire week along the coast of North Carolina.

Here are a few popular things to do while vacationing on the OBX.

  • Lounge on the beach
  • Learn how to hang glide
  • Climb to the top of a lighthouse - or five
  • Spot a Spanish Mustang horse roaming the beach
  • Eat way too much locally-sourced seafood
  • Catch a sunset on the sound side and sunrise on the ocean side

If traveling to the Outer Banks during the summer, you may be required to book a week-long stay in a rental home or condo - there is no option for a partial stay.

I'm a vacation rental homeowner. You want your property to have 100% occupancy to maximize rental revenue. When it's the summertime, there is plenty of demand for families willing to commit to a Saturday-to-Saturday rental.

Now, if you can only stay for about three days, you can always try to snag a last-minute stay during the peak season. Or, you can plan your vacation for the shoulder season when homeowners are more willing to accept shorter stays because the area is less bustling.

Visiting during the offseason is also a great way to save hundreds and thousands of dollars on your vacation. However, remember that the price you see online for a stay is often negotiable if you are willing to inquire via phone or email.

How to get to the Outer Banks

Most decide to drive to the barrier islands. However, if you live in one of the neighboring states or the Midwest or Northeast, you can conceivably go to the Outer Banks in a day. Plus, you'll have your car drive back and forth along the beach road and load up on beach games, groceries, clothes, etc.

Those within a day or so driving distance should consider flying to a nearby airport—the closest major airport's located in Norfolk, VA. There are a couple of smaller airports that are closer, but you'd have to fly privately.


If possible, plan an Outer Banks getaway that will extend at the bare minimum of three days - seven days is preferable, though!

Before you arrive, you can enjoy a live view of what's going on by peering at one of the many Outer Banks live webcams that spread out along the coast.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published