The Best Outer Banks Outdoor Activities for an Adventurer

Have the thrill of your life on your next vacation when you venture out with the best outdoor activities on the Outer Banks. The barrier islands have so many water sports to partake in, whether you plan to kayakparasail, jet ski, or more! Plus, the Outer Banks of North Carolina are known for their magnificent, wild horses that roam the beach! But before we dig in any further, make sure you check out our free Vacation Guide. It includes everything you need to plan your dream vacation on the Outer Banks.  

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North Carolina’s Outer Banks offers a variety of fun outdoor adventures to suit anyone in your family. Whatever your taste, the adventure you choose will enrich your vacation experience even more! We can’t wait for you to check out our favorite Outer Banks outdoor activities.

Don’t forget, if you need to rent surfboards, kayaks, and other sports items to make your Outer Banks vacation complete, click here for our list of Outer Banks equipment rental companies.

Ropes Courses

Corolla Adventure Park
Designed as a giant “jungle gym,” the Corolla Adventure Park is an obstacle course in which participants maneuver between platforms ranging from 12 to 50 feet above the ground. Climbers take the action into their own hands by choosing to go on a combination of 9 easy, intermediate, and advanced obstacle courses. No two obstacles are alike, and all are designed around a coastal theme using ropes, cables, barrels, and other materials sure to physically and mentally challenge climbers of all fitness levels. In the center of several circuits, climbers may choose to take an 80-foot zipline back to the central tower, which offers another type of thrill. But have no fear; climbers will be in a harness and attached to a safety device while completing any obstacle at all times. Climbers may set their own pace and complete as much or as little of the course as they want to during their 2-hour climb. (252) 597-1997; Address: 1215 Ponton Road, Corolla, NC

Surfing, Kiteboarding & Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

Corolla Surf Shop
Surfboards, bodyboards, skateboards, skimboards, instruction videos, clothing, and accessories for the watersports enthusiast. Surfing equipment rental with free delivery is also available within the Corolla area. Home of the Corolla Surf School, where both surfing and stand-up paddle board (SUP) lessons are offered with several different classes, both private or in groups, from introductory to advanced levels. Summer surf on the Outer Banks, especially in Corolla, is considered among the safest areas to learn how to surf. (252) 453-9283 (WAVE); Address: 807 Ocean Trail, Corolla, NC

Duck Village Outfitters – Paramount Perk Discount
Duck Village Outfitters offers rentals and lessons for surfing and stand-up paddleboarding. As a Paramount Perk, they are offering 10% off rental equipment and kayak tours. (252) 261-7222; Address: 1207 Duck Road, Duck, NC

Kitty Hawk Surf Co.
Three locations but your one-stop shop for all things “surfing” from surfboards to skim boards, skateboards to balance boards. Equipment rentals and lessons are offered in-season for surfing, parasailing, and kiteboarding camps to learn the sport. (252) 261-8787; Address: 1214 Duck Road, Duck; (252) 453-4999; Address: 785L Sunset Boulevard, Corolla, and (252) 453-3685; Address: 819 Ocean Trail, Corolla, NC

Eco & Adventure Tours

Back Country Safari Kayak Tours
A beginner’s kayak tour navigates protected waters in search of horses and other wildlife while also focusing on the nuts and bolts of how to kayak. Wildlife abounds on this trip, and your adventure will be packed full of the natural history of all things Outer Banks! Two-person (tandem) kayaks make this adventure very family-friendly and safe. They also offer Segway® tours for exploring in town or the 4WD area. (252) 453-0877; Address: 1159 Austin Street, Corolla, NC

Coastal Explorations
If exploring the maritime coastline and learning about its unique nature, birds, and other wildlife will fit your adventure style, then consider one of these guided kayak tours: sunrise, daytime, sunset, moonlight, or for experienced kayakers, to Monkey Island in the Currituck Sound. Guided fishing boat tours during the day or at sunset plus crabbing charters are part of their activities. Kayak, bike, and stand-up paddleboard equipment rentals are available. (252) 453-9872; Address: 1118 Corolla Village Road, Corolla, NC

Coastal Kayak Touring Company
Plan an eco-kayak tour to a variety of soundside locations: the Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary, the Kitty Hawk Woods Maritime Forest, or the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Stand-up paddleboard tours are also available. Located within The Waterfront Shoppes on the Duck waterfront. (252) 441-3393: Address: 1240 Duck Road, #116, Duck, NC

Outer Banks Kayak Adventures
Offering kayak and stand-up paddleboard eco-tours and equipment rentals, Outer Banks Kayak Adventures was created for those who love nature and wish to have meaningful outdoor experiences. Choose them for an affordable, relaxing, and unforgettable family adventure and see a more natural side of the Outer Banks. (252) 489-8146; Address: 1240 Duck Road (The Waterfront Shoppes), Duck, NC

Dolphin Tours

There is no better way to experience family fun on the Outer Banks than with some dolphin watching! Take a dolphin tour to encounter some of the cutest residents of the OBX. Spot a bottlenose dolphin when you hop on board with Captain Johnny’s Dolphin Tours near Nags Head. They offer two-hour tours on weekdays between May and October. Then, choose a dolphin tour in the morning, afternoon, or at sunset. 

Duck Village Outfitters Kayak Tours – Paramount Perk Discount
Plan for a 2-hour paddle, in a single or double kayak, through the Kitty Hawk Maritime Forest eco-system. The tour guide will transport all necessary equipment to the tour site, which is about 15 minutes south of Duck. It’s a great source of exercise that virtually anyone can do, whether a beginner or expert, and it is at a relaxed pace. (252) 261-7222; Address: 1207 Duck Road, Duck, NC

envirOBX Island Eco-Adventures
Promotes conservation and respect for natural resources by creating fun, family-friendly adventures that highlight the diversity and beauty of the Outer Banks’ coastal wildlife and habitat. Local guides are seasoned watermen who’ve devoted their lives to living off the sea and land. Guided kayak fishing tours, cruises, and lessons offered in SUP, surfing, and sailing! Call for more information at (252) 619-1477.

Wild Horse Adventure TourParamount Perk Discount

Outer Banks is famous for its stunning mustangs on the beach. Horses, that is! Kids and adults alike all love experiencing our Outer Banks Wild Horses, and it’s not something you usually see in other vacation destinations. Take a two-hour tour with Wild Horse Adventure Tour in one of their open-air Hummers. Get exclusive access to the Wild Horse Sanctuary and enjoy gorgeous views. Get $5 off per individual seat reservation when booking a tour on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. Guests will receive a discount if they mention they are renting with Paramount Destinations. (252) 489-2020; 610 Currituck Clubhouse Drive, Corolla, NC.

Horseback Riding on the Beach

If you’re an animal lover, give horseback riding on the beach a try. You can go on a guided horseback journey that is sure to be unforgettable. Whether you have horseback riding experience or not, you’re sure to love this classic OBX outdoor activity. 

Wind & Water Sports

Corolla Watersports
They offer water adventures of all kinds: parasailing, wave runners (Jet Ski®), kayak tours and rentals, boat and paddleboat rentals, plus local fishing off their 2000-foot pier that extends into the Currituck Sound. Specialized charter fishing trips can be arranged. With an experienced staff that focuses on fun and safety, they use quality equipment that is upgraded each season. Also, Golf Links is an 18-hole mini-golf course in this amusement area. (252) 453-6900; Address: 798K Sunset Boulevard (TimBuck II Shopping Village), Corolla, NC

Kitty Hawk Watersports
Start your Outer Banks adventure by renting a Jet Ski®, kayak, surfboard, stand-up paddle board (SUP), practically anything to enjoy a Barrier Island vacation. Thrill-seekers will enjoy their Jet Ski®, Banana Boat, and parasailing tours. There are also guided tours for kayaks and dolphin watch excursions. Equipment rentals and lessons are available for surfing, SUP, kiteboarding, sailing, and windsurfing. (252) 441-2756; Address: 6920 S. Croatan Hwy, Nags Head, NC

Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports
Nor’Banks Sailing has been teaching sailing on the Currituck Sound since 1979. Their friendly and professional staff of US Sailing instructors conduct classes daily; private lessons are available, or you can enroll in the ‘Sailing Camp‘, which can lead to earning a Small Boat Sailing Certification. A large variety of watersport activities, tours, equipment rentals, and lessons to learn a new type of sport are offered: wakeboarding, waterskiing, tubing, parasailing, wave runners, stand-up paddle, sailboats, pontoon boats, and kayaks. Their secluded spot across the Currituck Sound will ensure no other watercraft or boat wakes will interfere with your water activities. (252) 261-2900: Address: 1314 Duck Road, Duck, NC

North Beach Watersports
Are you looking to spice up your vacation on the Outer Banks? They offer a complete line of watersports recreation that includes parasailing, windsurfing, Jet Skis®, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, pontoon boats, tubing, and Banana Board rides. Plan a sunset cruise for your family or a fishing and crabbing trip. Parasailing and windsurfing rentals and lessons are available. (252) 455-9977or (252) 597-1928; Address: 1066 Ocean Trail, Corolla, NC

North Duck Watersports
Your one-stop location for family water activities, it is also the first and longest-running watersports company on the northern Outer Banks. They emphasize the same commitment to fun and safety as Corolla Watersports (part of Kitty Hawk Watersports). Rentals are available for Jet Ski® wave runners, kayaks, pontoon boats, and sailboats. US Coast Guard certified parasailing and windsurfing rentals and instructions are available. (252) 261-4200; Address: 1446 Duck Road, Duck, NC


H2OBX Waterpark
Located 3 miles before you reach the Wright Memorial Bridge, the new H2OBX Waterpark is designed with a beach theme and has over 30 rides, slides, and attractions designed for thrill-seekers, family-friendly or kiddie rides. Everyone will have plenty to do, from tube slides, body slides, and river adventures to challenging races, boogie boarding & surfing! Whether you enjoy whipping turns from the nine-story slide tower and screaming thrills or showing off your talent and skills at the Flow Rider, a day at H2OBX Waterpark is guaranteed to be the best family fun in the Outer Banks. (570) 629-9141; Address: 8526 Caratoke Highway, Powells Point, NC

4X4 Beach Parking & Driving

Currituck County 4WD Beach

For those planning to visit Currituck County’s four-wheel drive beach during the summer, a county-issued beach parking permit is required, and it must be visibly displayed on your vehicle.  4WD Beach Parking Permits are mandatory from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. Weekly Guest Permits are $50/car. A season pass is available for $150.


Enjoy a day on the green with a competitive game of golf with your buddies. The Outer Banks offers fantastic options for golf courses with breathtaking ocean views, uncrowded greens, and gorgeous landscapes. Check out our golf guide for a list of our favorite OBX courses and to help you plan out the perfect golf trip. 


Fishing on the Outer Banks is one of our most popular attractions. This is a great place to reel in an impressive catch. Pier fishing, charter fishing, surf fishing, and kayak fishing are all popular practices in our local waterways. If you’re feeling daring, give deep-sea fishing a shot! Spend a day on the big blue with Corolla Bait and Tackle. They are a bait and tackle shop that also offers fishing charters and excellent advice so that you can let out your inner angler. 


Are you ready to discover the endless Outer Banks outdoor activities for yourself? Adventure awaits!! From the serene beauty of the beaches to the captivating landscapes of the coastal marshes, this is a playground for nature enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies. No matter what outdoor activity you are into, the Outer Banks offers a diverse range of experiences to satisfy your thirst for adventure. Join us in this coastal paradise and let the great outdoors be your guide to unforgettable moments. Remember to grab your FREE copy of our Vacation Guide… and start planning an epic OBX getaway today!

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