Kitty Hawk NC Town Vacation Information and History

The Town of Kitty Hawk offers year-round residents and visitors alike a unique environment. Whether you visit to relax or have fun, Kitty Hawk offers both in abundance.

The origin of Kitty Hawk’s name is still a matter of local debate. Some believe it came from a Native American name “Chickeawk” or “Chickahawk”, which means a time or place to hunt geese. Others believe it is derived from early English pronunciation of “skeeter hawk”, a name commonly used for the dragonfly. Whatever the origin, the name Kitty Hawk is spelled as it is today on land deeds dating back to the eighteenth century.

The Town of Kitty Hawk is rich in history. When Orville and Wilbur Wright looked for a site for their aviation experiments in 1900, they needed a place with winds regularly over 15 mph. With gentle hills for glider launching, a sandy surface for soft landings, and a remote location to avoid public attention. Kitty Hawk fit the bill and as they say, the rest is history. The Wright brothers finally made their historic recorded flight just south of Kitty Hawk in the town of Kill Devil Hills.

Today’s Kitty Hawk, incorporated as a town on April 13, 1981, and consists of a traditional village, a beach community of residential cottages, and a 461-acre maritime forest reserve called Kitty Hawk Woods. The Woods feature a wide variety of plant and animal life and it is not uncommon to see fox, deer and the occasional endangered red wolf.

There are a total of seven public beach accesses that allow for easy access to the towns well cared for beaches. Area visitors who decide to go swimming in the Atlantic during the summer months can breathe easier and feel safer when splashing around in the water in front of one of the town’s three lifeguarded beach accesses.

In addition to the vigilant lifeguards carefully watching over swimmers, there are frequent ATV beach patrols that cover the town during the busy summer months. Area visitors are encouraged to enjoy Kitty Hawk’s beaches but are advised to follow the local ordinances. These include strict policies against the glass on the beach, bonfires and no swimming when the red flags that indicate dangerous rip currents and water conditions.

Both the beach and the village share a feeling that development should remain on a human scale and in harmony with nature. It is a pattern and character of the town that both year-round and seasonal residents preserve. Bring your boards, Kitty Hawk offers some great surfing waves for most of the year.