Top Things To Do Outer Banks NC

Aerial View of North Carolina's Outer Banks

There's no shortage of things to do on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

From lounging on world-class beaches and exploring massive lighthouses to observing wild Spanish mustang horses frolicking on the shoreline - visitors to NC's coast will discover a long list of things to do during their stay.

Commonly referred to as simply OBX, there is no place quite like these barrier islands that shift with the wind and the waves. 

Explore our lists of the best things to do organized by Outer Banks town starting at the northern beaches and ending in Ocracoke Island, the southern-most portion of the OBX that's accessible only via ferry.

Kitty Hawk
Kill Devil Hills
Nags Head

Our Favorite Things to do Outer Banks NC

Don't be fooled by the area's appearance on a map - the Outer Banks is caulk full of fun, family-friendly things to do. Weather permitting, you'll want to spend the majority of your vacation outside enjoying everything these barrier islands have to offer.

By the time your week-long getaway has passed, your visible skin will be bronze and your windswept hair will feel nourished by the salt air. 


Just about everyone who visits the OBX annually will make their way to the Wright Brothers National Memorial located in the town of Kill Devil Hills to learn more about the two brothers from Dayton, Ohio who changed the world forever with their big dreams and tireless ambition. Climb to the top of Kill Devil Hill to snag a photo in front of the monument and stop in the visitors center to view a replica of the 1902 Wright Glider.

Shaped by the wind, Jockey's Ridge State Park in Nags Head is the tallest natural sand dune system on this side of the Mississippi. Fly a kite from the apex of one of the dunes or book a hang gliding lesson with Kitty Hawk Kites and learn how to fly. Visitors can park across the street from the dunes at the Jockey's Ridge Crossing shopping complex or at the parking lot near the state park buildings. If you're vacationing outside of the peak season, you may be interested in learning more about how you can sandboard down the dunes (just like snowboarding... except with no snow)!

Lighthouses. Lighthouses. Lighthouses! From Currituck Beach Lighthouse to the north and Ocracoke Island Light to the south - there are a total of five of these awe-inspiring structures for vacationers to explore. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse stands 210-feet and is the tallest all-brick lighthouse in all of the United States. Can you believe they moved such a structure in 1999?

If you venture far enough north along NC 12 the paved road will come to end - this is where you'll be able to find the wild Spanish mustang horses frolicking up and down the shore. If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle and don't mind getting a little sand on your tires, off-road adventure awaits! If you don't have the proper vehicle - or would rather have a professional take you on a guided tour - then we suggest booking a tour with one of several vendors based out of Corolla, NC.

When are the fish biting? What is the best bait for you? All questions for the individual working in the bait and tackle shop within the pier house. Pay a buck or two to walk to the end of the pier and back - or fork over a few more coins for the ability to fish by the half-day, full-day, week (and somewhere in-between). Avalon Fishing Pier in Kill Devil Hills and Jennette's Pier in Nags Head are two of the most popular on the barrier islands.

Seeking adventure during your stay? Be sure to visit our ultimate Outer Banks bucket list of things to do for ideas to include within your vacation itinerary.