The Beaches of the Outer Banks

Here it is halfway through summer, the beaches are full and the one thing we have not written about are the Outer Banks award winning beaches. With 120 miles of shoreline there’s a lot to discuss, so we’re not even going to try to cover all of the beaches at one setting.

Kitty Hawk beach by Black Pelican restaurant.

Kitty Hawk beach by Black Pelican restaurant.

We’ll start with the northern beaches, Corolla south to Oregon Inlet and later we’ll talk about the beaches on Hatteras Island.

Outer Banks beaches vary in so many ways that it’s hard to give a specific description that covers all of them.

The beach in Corolla, as an example, tends to be wide with wonderfully soft sand, and those conditions extend all the way to Carova on the Virginia state line. There is a small section of the Carova where the retreat of the shoreline has left exposed tree trunks in the surf and beach, so avoid that area, but otherwise, these are beautiful beaches just calling out for a day by the sea.

The same conditions exist in Duck and Southern Shores, although in those two towns, access is restricted to homeowners and their guests (renters) and there is no public access.

If there is a disadvantage to the beaches on the northern end, it is that facilities, especially for families, tend to be far away from the beach.

Families with children may find that the advantage of having stores, restaurants and hamburger stands close by make Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head a better choice.

The type of sand really varies in this area. Kitty Hawk tends to have a more narrow beach with courser sand than either Kill Devil Hills or Nags Head.

Farther south in Nags Head, especially around Jennette’s Pier, the beach has been nourished and it’s wide with a fine grained sand.

Jennette’s Pier is a great site for families with a lot of parking and what may be the largest bathhouse of any of the towns. There are also a lot of places to get a snack or pick up a bottle of sunscreen close by. A good second choice for convenience is in Kitty Hawk around East Eckner Street next to Art’s Place.