Wacky Weather? Welcome to the Outer Banks!

Beach in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

The Outer Banks was once considered simply a summer destination for weary vacationers looking to get away from the hustle and bustle that is everyday life and unwind at the highly regarded beaches of the OBX.

During the last half decade or so, travelers have been flocking to the area not only during the sizzling summer months, but also during what is considered the offseason, which is otherwise known as the fall, spring and winter seasons.

With mild winters and a rather pleasant fall and spring, the Outer Banks has been transforming into more of a year-round vacation destination. These barrier islands enjoy around 200 sunny days each year, with a year-round average temperature hovering around 70°.

Wind is an everyday constant on the Outer Banks (the Wright Brothers came here for a reason), and can range from gentle southwest breezes to strong northeast storm winds.

Outer Banks Seasons

Summer

Ah, summer! If you’re staying on the Outer Banks during the summer months, expect average lows from the mid 70°’s to highs near 90°, depending on the time of the summer. During this time of year, average temperatures can climb to 85°, but even on the hottest summer days, you can expect a slight to moderate ocean breeze to help keep you cool even though the temperature is scorching. In the summer, the wind typically blows out of the southwest and picks up speed in the late afternoon.

Fall

Considered by many year-round area locals to be the best time of year on the Outer Banks, vacationers should consider a trip to the area if they’re at all interested in spending the day outdoors enjoying cool ocean breezes and temperatures in the lower 80°’s in September and mid-70°’s in October. Easily the busiest time of year for events on the Outer Banks, consider planning your trip around the Outer Banks Seafood Festival, OBX Brewtag, Mustang Music Festival, Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival, or the Duck Jazz Festival.

Winter

During the winter, temperatures are usually cool, though the wind can make it feel colder. Temperatures during the day usually hover around the lower 50°’s, with nights averaging in the upper 30°’s.

Spring

Typically a very mild season, temperatures during the spring months can be very unpredictable. Average daytime temperatures are normally in the upper 60°’s and lower 70°’s

Jennette's Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina

Outer Banks Average Temperature, Precipitation & Wind Chart

The weather readings below reflect the average temperatures (degrees Fahrenheit), wind velocity (MPH), and precipitation (inches) from Cape Hatteras, NC. These temperatures have been provided by The National Weather Service Newport Office.

outer-banks-weather-chart

North Carolina’s Outer Banks: A Destination Any Time of Year

Thank you for the recent feature, Sara Kendall, of the Epicurean! “Spanning over 200 miles in a string of narrow barrier islands, the Outer Banks is an ocean haven anytime of the year. The locals refer to them as OBX, and millions of people make these islands their vacation destination. Looking to book a winter retreat or plan next summer’s getaway? The Outer Banks is a fabulous choice no matter the time of year you decide to venture to the ocean breezes.” http://www.epicureancharlotte.com/travel/

This Article from the Charlotte Epicurean on just a few of the reasons why the OBX is so special hit the nail on the head! We have so much to do here and a ton of great dining options! What are you going to choose to do today?

Hangin’ With Kites With Lights

Kites with Lights, 2014.

Kites with Lights, 2014.

With temperatures still in the 70s and bright sunshine, it seems like Christmas is a long way off, but here it is November, Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and it’s a sure bet Santa is gearing up for his annual flight.

The Christmas season with Kitty Hawk Kites is really something special. We always begin the official season over Thanksgiving Weekend, with our Hangin’ With Santa on Friday and Saturday with a visit from that “fat jolly old elf”. If it’s raining or snowing or just too cold, Santa will be hanging inside the Kite store where they’ll be hot cocoa and plenty of cookies.

Saturday evening make a point of checking out our Kites with Lights at Jockey’s Ridge State Park as we paint the sky with lights soaring into the night sky attached to kites. Be sure to dress for the weather. It can be cold and windy on Jockey’s Ridge.

The holiday season is a time for giving gifts and Kitty Hawk Kites has a great selection of kites, toys, games, clothing, footwear—just about anything needed for kids or someone special.

Of course there’s lot’s of other activities on the Outer Banks as well during the holiday season. One of our favorites is Winter Lights at Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island. The Elizabethan Gardens is a wonderful 10 acre formal garden and during Winter Lights thousands of lights decorate the trees, plants and decorations. The Grand Illumination is Friday, November 27 and after that the Gardens are open Wednesday through Sunday to stroll along the pathways illuminated by the light of the decorations.

Kitty Hawk Kites Thanksgiving Weekend Schedule of Activities.

-FRIDAY-

Photos with Santa- Jockey’s Ridge Crossing

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

-SATURDAY-

Photos with Santa- Jockey’s Ridge Crossing

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Kites with Lights- Jockey’s Ridge State Park

4:00 PM – DARK

The Other Side of the Outer Banks

Entrance to the Ridge Trail, Kitty Hawk Woods.

Entrance to the Ridge Trail, Kitty Hawk Woods.

Generally speaking when people think about the Outer Banks they think of beautiful beaches and  a warm and inviting ocean—which is great because that’s why almost everyone comes for a visit.

But there is much more to the Outer Banks; in fact, at one time almost the entire sound side was heavily forested. There are still some amazing examples of those forested shores left and for anyone looking for a hidden story of the Outer Banks, they are worth exploring.

There are four protected wooded areas. We’ll list them going from north to south.

Currituck Banks Reserve

Probably the least known of the Outer Banks woods, to find Currituck Banks Reserve head north from the Whalehead Club until a 90 degree bend to the right in the road. There is a small parking lot there that is the trail head.

Two ways to expore this. There is a short boardwalk through the maritime forest that leads to the sound. It’s a very easy walk–actually handicap accessible—and it ends at a small platform built over a narrow channel coming in from Currituck Sound. It is at the perfect balance point at the end of a towering forest of pines and the waving grasses of a fresh water estuary.

There is a trail leading off the boardwalk. Look for the steps leading to the forest floor. This is more challenging than the boardwalk, but completely suitable for ages 10 and older. Follow the blue blazons to the sound.

Kitty Hawk Woods

Kitty Hawk Woods, is the largest reserve on the Outer Banks. Bisected by the Woods Road, a paved  a multi-use trail parallels the road for it’s entire length. The multi-use path is a great introduction to the beauty of a maritime forest and the path is perfect for a family bike ride or a morning stroll.

There is also an amazing trail system that takes hikers through upland forests into swampy wetlands. Bikes are allowed on the Kitty Hawk Woods trails. Suitable for any moderately experienced mountain biker, it’s a unique experience on the Outer Banks.

The offices are located at 4352 The Woods Rd in Kitty Hawk. Trail maps are available online or at the office. Call first to make sure someone is there. (252) 548-6102

Nags Head Woods

Administered by the Nature Conservancy, Nags Head Woods is 1100 acres of steep hills, wetlands and dense forest. The hills are actually sand dunes that have become covered in a more dense soil–a soil that is fertile enough to allow hardwood trees to grow, and a hike along the trails has a distinctly upland or mountain feel to it. The elevation gain is abrupt, the trails run along ridges that drop into deep ravines and hardwood trees are the dominant forestation along the ridge lines.

There is a parking lot with a small visitor’s center. To get to the visitor’s center, turn on to Ocean Acres at the light at Pigman’s Barbecue. Follow the road to the visitor’s center on the left at the bottom of a hill.

Buxton Woods, Old Doctors Road.

Buxton Woods, Old Doctors Road.

Buxton Woods

Thriving at the confluence of subtropical and temperate weather zones, Buxton Woods is one of the most distinctive maritime forests in the world. Palmetto plants thrive at the base of towering pine trees; the swamps, marsh and trails are teeming with life.

Sprawling at the base of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the 1000 acre site is on the Atlantic Ocean side of NC12. Three access points— Old Doctor’s Road, Flowers Ridge Road, or Water Association Road. All are dirt roads. There are also trails linking the site to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.


buy-kites-online-kitty-hawk

Hatteras & Ocracoke Beaches-Spectacular

The beach at Rodanthe, looking north.

The beach at Rodanthe, looking north.

The beaches on Hatteras Island Ocracoke are spectacular. How spectacular? Ocracoke is not longer rated by Dr. Beach, Steve Leatherman, who is considered the preeminent world authority on beaches. The reason it is no longer included is because in 2007 it was rated #1 in the US and when a beach is ranked #1 it comes off the list.

Hatteras consistently makes his top ten list, so it’s not far behind.

Hatteras beaches tend to be wide with very soft sand. Toward the north end, around Rodanthe the sand tends to be a little more coarse, but all of the beaches are wonderful.

Most of Hatteras Island is part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, although the northern end is part of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and is administered by US Fish & Wildlife. The National Park Service offers two lifeguard patrolled beaches:Hatteras Island: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Beach, next to the Old Cape Hatteras Lighthouse site and on Ocracoke Island at the Ocracoke Day Use Beach about a half mile north of Ocracoke Village.

Dare County just completed a beach access bathhouse and parking lot in Rodanthe. The site may be the best on the Outer Banks.

For anyone using National Park Service beaches, there are restrictions in some areas. Look for roped off dunes and beaches with signs warning that the area is a habitat site, usually for piping plover, sometimes the American oyster catcher. Do not enter those areas. Park rangers will issue citations are even the most casual incursion and since the areas are clearly marked and easily avoided there is no reason to enter.