Your OBX Off-Season Guide

Jennette's Pier in Nags Head, North CarolinaOnce considered to be only a summer vacation destination, the Outer Banks has transformed into more of a year-round place for sightseers and tourists to explore. Weather during the spring and fall months on the Outer Banks is superb, and winters are typically more temperate than what many visitors may be accustomed to in the Midwest and Northeast.

Not long ago, there were few activities that were available during the offseason and most restaurants would close for the season after Labor Day. However, this is not the case any more and there are certainly no shortage of things to do or places to dine at year-round on the OBX.

Check out our list of things to do on the Outer Banks during the offseason below and let us know if we left anything out in the comments section at the end of this post.

Uncover Hidden & Forgotten Treasure

The Atlantic Ocean is typically more active during the offseason as compared to the summer, which means beachcombers will likely find more shells and other treasures during the spring, fall and winter months. Discover a fully intact conch shell, a colorful piece of sea glass, or uncover hidden treasure from an ancient sunken ship. Beachcombing is a free, offseason activity that will get you up out of bed early in the morning and on the beach with your toes in the sand and wind in your hair.

Enjoy The Wonderful Events

The Outer Banks is a hot bed for events in the fall. The scenery combined with the perfect weather draws in crowds from all over. Some of our personal favorites are any that include live music and of course…. craft beer. Check the out for yourself this fall. OBX Brewtag is coming up on October 22nd, and we can’t wait for their combination of amazing beers, live music and FLYING KEGS! Stop by and check it out for yourself.


Eat Like A Local


With fewer lines and plenty of fresh, locally-caught seafood to fill your palate, there are plenty of reasons to love dining out on the Outer Banks during the offseason. Chow down on a hearty crab cake, savor every last bite of a yellowfin tuna sandwich, or relish the flavor of a raw oyster. And unlike years past, many of the area’s finest restaurants remain open during the spring, fall and even winter months.

Stop By Our Beautiful Lighthouses

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-3-34-45-pmYou may not be able to climb the various lighthouses of the Outer Banks year-round, but you can still visit them! Take as many family photos as you like in front of Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Roanoke Marshes Light, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse or Ocracoke Light Station during the offseason.

Spread Your Wings

Scene from 2015 Hang Gliding Spectacular.

Not many people know this, but dune hang gliding with Kitty Hawk Kites is offered year-round! In fact, December is actually a really busy time of year for the hang gliding school since many thrill seekers have time off and are looking for some excitement during the holiday season. Join the ranks of the over 300,000 people that have graduated from the hang gliding school at Jockey’s Ridge State Park! More info on dune hang gliding with Kitty Hawk Kites can be found on our website.

Discover The Best Aquarium in North Carolina


Boasting a massive 285,000 gallon exhibit filled with nurse, sand tiger and sandbar sharks and offering many other indoor and outdoor exhibits, the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is one of the best spots on the Outer Banks to be on a rainy day. The aquarium is open everyday, year-round from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Shop Till You Drop

Do you like to shop? There are plenty of great, locally-owned shops you’ll what to check out on the Outer Banks during the offseason. Most stores stay open year-round, and offer hours that are convenient for anyone who enjoys shopping in between late morning and early evening.

One note: Be sure to call ahead! Not all area businesses update their hours online so be sure to check before you go.

Explore With A Paddle

KHKkayakNo question about it, the Outer Banks is a haven for kayak enthusiasts of all skill levels and ages. Is there a better way to explore the OBX than in a kayak? We think not!

During the offseason, Kitty Hawk Kites offers four different kayaking adventures including tours at: Alligator River, Roanoke Island, Kitty Hawk and Pea Island.

Reel in a Big Catch, kayak, and pier fishing, brackish, fly and sound fishing, inshore and offshore charter fishing – you’ll find an unparalleled array of catch on the Outer Banks. Often called “The Billfish Capital of the World,” the International Game Fish Association lists 92 world records for fish caught on the OBX. Anglers say there’s no better way to relax than fishing.

Drop a line during the offseason and discover what many fishing enthusiasts consider to be the best time of year to land the big one.

Enjoy The View From Above

biplane_viewDotted with cozy beach cottages and oceanfront estates, enjoy breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and area landmarks from an entirely new perspective. Aerial tours with Kitty Hawk Kites are available year-round and are an experience you won’t soon forget. With many different price points depending on your budget, this offseasonOuter Banks adventure is certainly a memorable way to spend a morning or afternoon on vacation.

Visit the Wright Brother’s National Memorial

wright-brothers-national-memorialFrom 1900 to 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright traveled from Dayton, OH to Kill Devil Hills, NC (Kitty Hawk at the time) to test their soon-to-be famous flying contraptions. The Wright Brothers National Memorial, located atop Kill Devil Hill, commemorates the first ever successful, sustained, powered flights in a heavier-than-air machine.

We implore you to scale to the top of the hill and get a closer look of the monument while enjoying a breathtaking view of the barrier island. The National Park Service operates and maintains the park, which is open daily, year-round from 9 AM to 5 PM.

If you visit on December 17th, the date of the famed “First Flight,” you’ll be in for a treat as there are numerous flyovers and some type of special celebration to commemorate two brothers from Ohio who changed the world forever by dreaming big and taking numerous calculated risks.

Cross Kiteboarding off your Bucket List

img_5039Steady winds are nearly a constant on the Outer Banks during the offseason months, which makes for ideal kiteboarding conditions. One of the most exhilarating sports in the world, kiteboarding lessons with Kitty Hawk Kites cover everything you need to know to get started including: setup, launching, landing, flying techniques, and most important of all, safety.

When you feel the incredible sensation of the kite pulling you in the water, you’ll find yourself daydreaming about kiteboarding on a daily basis, longing for your next escapade on the sound or ocean waters.


Fly Into Fun at the Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition

16_stunt_kite_fbOBSKC is a regional kite competition bringing some of the nation’s best kite fliers right here to our back yard. This gives people the chance to be introduced to a sport that is consistently gaining in popularity because of the skill and artistry that is involved. This is a great opportunity to bring your kids out and let them explore the world of wind driven flight, all while you enjoy the talent at hand as well.

On Saturday the 22nd, Kitty Hawk Kites and the Eastern League Stunt Kite Association will host demos and a competition on the field and a FREE family fun fly day. Enjoy massive display kites flying high, and participate in stunt and power kite lessons given by pros. Following OBSKC, on Saturday, October 22, and the 2nd annual OBX Brewtag, a celebration of flight and beer benefitting The Rogallo Foundation.

Sunday, come watch some of the nation’s most talented kite fliers put on world-class displays of elegance and skill with kite flying set to music, synchronized performances, and more.


Kayak Fishing, Growing Larger Than a Fisherman’s Tale

Kayak fishing is quickly becoming one of the most popular water sports around. The blend of affordability, versatility, and an improved perspective of fishing have driven the sport far beyond what anyone expected. With the 4th Annual Outer Banks Kayak Fishing Tournament on Saturday, we wanted to take a moment to tell everyone exactly what this sport is all about. is so great about “kayak fishing”?

For starters, kayaks are a much more affordable vessel to traverse the water on. You can get yourself into a quality kayak for less money than it would cost to purchase the trailer for a larger boat. Not only do they cost less, but they are incredibly versatile. You can use a kayak in any body of water, whether it is a river, a pond, the bay, or even the ocean. The ability to use kayaks in many bodies of water means you can use it more frequently and easier than with a larger boat. The constant question of “how can I get my boat in to fish that spot?” is no longer a problem. The variety of fishing locations means a variety of fish as well. In our Hobie Charter Fishing Tours alone, we have already had customers catch Drum, Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel, Blue Fish, Flounder, Trout and much more! You can fish in northern lakes for Muskie, Pike, and Walleye or head to the bay for Drum, Speckled Trout and Flounder. Once on the water, the real fun begins. You get the rush of being right in the water, low to the surface similar to wading, but with the kayak, in a dry and stable platform that gives you a steady spot to reel in your catch.


What makes the Outer Banks such a great spot for kayak fishing?

Similar to the sport itself, the Outer Banks provide a broad array of fishing styles. The area boasts surf fishing just off the shores, deep sea fishing, sound-side fishing, even fishing back into tributaries like the Alligator River. With such a wide variety, there’s no better way to hit all of them than in a kayak. Pick up some smaller fish back in the rivers and streams; maybe stay near the beaches and reel in some False Albacore, Spanish Mackerel, Blues and Croaker. Or venture further out and go after some deep sea Drum or Mahi. The wild life here is incredible, and the sights you’ll have while out on the water are unmatched. From sunrises in the ocean, to sunsets on the sound, you simply can’t beat the views.

Watermelons for All, All for Watermelons – 10th Annual Outer Banks Watermelon Festival

The stage was set, a long table donning a bright red vinyl cover, the contestants patiently waiting for the start. Fans circled around the table, each supporting their contestant or just watching for the show. As the watermelon eating contest took off, so did the chunky spray of watermelon as participants shoved their faces into the fruit as quickly and ferociously as they could. The eating contest was just one of many opportunities people had to gorge themselves as the food came in many forms: watermelon, ice cream, Mulligan’s fish tacos. But, the fun came in even more forms. There were events running seamlessly throughout the day including the ice cream eating contest, the seed spitting contest, and everyone’s favorite…. the watermelon eating contest. Thanks to the planning of our very own events crew, and a day-of help from many volunteers, there were activities for all to enjoy regardless of their interests. Many kids tried their hands at a plethora of lawn games and toys, some even took the opportunity to turn their own hands to wax with the ever popular “Wax Hands” station. However, the favorite of the day seemed to be the Pirate inflatable that offered not only a large bounce house, but a waterslide to cool off afterwards. “Food and Fun” was the motto of the day, but the 10th Annual Outer Banks Watermelon Festival had a lot more to it than that. The entire festival was run to support the Outer Banks Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Coalition, a group with a positive mission, “To help facilitate the education and awareness of practical bicycle and pedestrian safety to drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and all those who live or visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina in a positive and proactive manner.” Unfortunately, too many people are injured or killed every year on the Outer Banks trying to cross the highways on bicycles or on foot. For Kitty Hawk Kites, this was an issue that everyone could get behind. Following the Watermelon Festival, when all the money was tallied up, there was over $5,000 raised! But, the awareness raised can’t be measured. Getting people to recognize the issue at hand and respect the rules of the road can have a lasting effect on the community. If everyone does their part to pay attention and respect the safety of others, hopefully the issue can be eaten away as if it were just a piece of watermelon.

A day in the life: Kitty Hawk Kites Kids Day

Written by: Emma Turnbull, Marketing Intern

One of my biggest jobs as an events crew member is helping run Kids Days each week at our various locations. This aspect of the job is particularly fun for a couple reasons. First, I have some degree of freedom to shape these events into what I want them to be. Also, once the grunt work of set-up is done, I get to spend the day playing with toys, making crafts, and talking to children about everything from their vacations to their families, their pets, superheroes, and other childhood randomness. Basically I get to be a kid again for a few hours. While there’s honestly no “typical” day on the job, here’s a taste of what a Kids Day could look like.

Wednesday is the middle of the week, hump day, and most importantly Nags Head Kids Day! Kids Day at our flagship store in Jockey’s Ridge Crossing is typically the most crowded, highest energy event of the week, and in my humble opinion, a big bundle of fun. It’s an early day, but totally worth it to bring joy of a Kitty Hawk Kites Experience to so many kiddos.


Toy Demos with Chip

I’ll usually start my day at the office, finishing up some last second preparations. Depending on the day and the week, this could mean anything from printing flyers for upcoming events, restocking crafts that have been used up, or loading the van with any and all toys and games to entertain the masses.

Next comes set-up. Not surprisingly, this is the least exciting aspect of the day, but that’s not to say it isn’t completely essential to the success of Kids Day. First, the tent canopies and tables go up, followed by the smaller objects like pamphlets, flyers, crafting materials, and toys. The final step is making our set up look spiffy. We go for a “family friendly and lots of fun” feel. It features display kites hanging up, numerous games spread across the lawn, stations for face painting by the members of The Lost Colony cast and tie dying by Life on a Sandbar, and a table filled with enough toys and bubbles to entertain a bus full of rowdy school children.


Scaling the Rock Wall in Kitty Hawk Kites

After set-up, it’s not long until the real fun begins. By 10:00am on the dot (sometimes even earlier), our tables are surrounded by families eagerly anticipating whatever fun in the sun (or shade) we can offer them. One of the coolest and most unique things about the Kids Days is that I’ve found they really do appeal to kids of all ages. The littlest ones get endless delight from having their faces painted, chasing around edible bubbles (yes, you read that correctly… candy bubbles do exist… and we sell them!), and coloring and assembling their very own kites. The slightly older crowd enjoy trying their hand at the skill toys and games like Kan Jam, and every adventurous teenager finds it hard to resist the chance to ride the mechanical shark. Plus, the appeal of tie dying, wax hands, an indoor rock wall, and a splash blaster (think of a reverse dunk tank, where the water sprays up at you) transcends age.

As an outdoor event, Kids Days are heavily dependent on weather. Rain or shine, the show will go on, but even in the few short weeks I’ve been here, I’ve seen how the weather refuses to be ignored. Kite flying in particular can be challenging in anything besides a perfect breeze. That being said, no matter what the conditions, barring a hurricane-level squall, we will find a way to have fun for Kids Day; it just becomes a question of what type of fun the weather will allow. If it’s overcast, sprinkling rain, and 70 degrees, the Splash Blaster probably looks a lot less appealing. But learning how to use juggling sticks under the shelter of a canopy, or designing and coloring your very own kite to take out on the next nice day are just as fun as ever.


Wax Hands have been a Kids Day favorite this year!

Just like all the other new experiences Kitty Hawk Kites has provided, Kids Days have brought a combination of fun and learning. And while there can be some stressful moments when a rush of 15 children and their families all show up at the same time wanting to try 10 different activities, I have just as much fun with Kids Days as the kids do. How could you not have a great time with a job that involves 4 hours of crafts, demoing toys, and playing games with a bunch of happy, excited vacationers?


Stanley the bucking Shark in Kitty Hawk Surf Company is always a huge laugh

After a few hours of socializing, entertaining, and teaching, we wrap up Kids Day. Everything gets broken down and packed back up into the van, and I return to the office for a few more hours of work before the day officially ends. Tiredness from a day out in the heat sets in, as does pride about a successful event, and excitement to do it all again next week. Kitty Hawk Kites Kids Days are offered weekly at select locations along the beach.

You can come play with us on Tuesdays at the Kitty Hawk Kites in Avon from 10am – 12pm, Waves Village Watersports Resort from 3pm – 5pm, and Kitty Hawk Kites in Monteray Plaza in Corolla from 2pm – 4pm and on Wednesdays at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing from 10am – 2pm, and Kitty Hawk Kites in Hatteras Landing from 2pm – 4pm. Information on all of our events including kids day can be found at