These barrier islands that we are lucky to call home offer some of the most scenic waterways. All along the Outer Banks, there are calm sound waters, exciting ocean waves, and challenging river channels for everyone to enjoy. One of the most popular ways to experience these sights and sounds is kayaking. The Outer Banks offers amazing areas to kayak for paddlers of all skill levels. Here are our favorite places to kayak in the Outer Banks.
- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
- Kitty Hawk Maritime Forest
- Currituck Sound and Corolla Salt Marshes
- Roanoke Island
- Cape Hatteras National Seashore
1. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
Take a step back in time as you paddle through the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest and most pristine wildlife refuges on the East Coast. This waterway winds its way through open creeks and narrow canals. Explore the swirling red waters and ‘living fossils’ of this cypress swamp.
2. Kitty Hawk Maritime Forest
Experience the seclusion of the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Preserve. Kayak along this amber creek under a canopy of Live Oaks and Red Maples. Just a stone’s throw from Kitty Hawk Road, this waterway offers a special look into the forest reserves that still exist on the Outer Banks.
3. Currituck Sound and Corolla Salt Marshes
Kayaking around the sheltered islands, bays, and canals of the Currituck Sound and Corolla Salt Marshes is a real treat! The beauty of Currituck Sound has been and remains one of the Outer Banks’ most picturesque landscapes. You may have seen Corolla by land but try a new angle to get a whole new appreciation of the Northern OBX!
4. Roanoke Island
Come ponder the fate of the Lost Colony as you kayak through the marshy canals of Roanoke Island. When you reach more open water, a panorama of the Outer Banks moves into view. And Jockey’s Ridge, the tallest sand dune on the East Coast, becomes visible across the Roanoke Sound.
5. Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Hatteras Island offers paddlers miles of untouched coastal marshland. For example, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and many other areas along the Pamlico Sound offer incredible access to unparalleled birdlife and other wildlife that seek refuge in the salt marshes.