A Local’s Guide to the Best Things to Do in Outer Banks
Situated along the Atlantic coast of the United States, there’s a myriad of things to do in the Outer Banks, such as embarking on thrilling outdoor adventures, relaxing near serene oceanic landscapes, and diving into a diverse culinary scene. Whether you choose to celebrate with locals at some of the best annual events and festivals or spend your days soaking in the warm rays on the beach, there are so many ways to create lifelong memories. It’s the perfect place to escape your everyday life and enjoy time with your family and friends!
Below, we’ve outlined five of the best things to do in the Outer Banks. Searching for more local insight into our area’s attractions? Look no further than Paramount Destinations’ Outer Banks Vacation Guide. This planning tool contains a wealth of knowledge about the best things to do and places to stay in OBX!
Discover the Top 5 Things to Do in the Outer Banks and Plan Your Perfect Trip Today
1. The OBX Culinary Scene
Enjoy many types of cuisine from Southern Shores and Kitty Hawk all the way up to Duck and Corolla. Delight in an array of locally owned eating establishments that range from lively and family friendly to quiet and refined dining experiences. Delight in the Outer Banks’ culinary scene and try succulent seafood dishes, delicious North Carolina BBQ, and more. From October to February, many restaurants have reduced hours during the off-season, so be sure to call before you make your plans!
- Treat the whole family to a traditional seafood boil at the Outer Banks Boil Company
- Taste some of the best locally sourced fare at the Urban Kitchen
- Satiate your Italian cravings at La Dolce Vita
- Devour a heaping serving of tasty, NC-style BBQ at Corolla Village Barbecue
- Enjoy comfort food at it’s finest at Uncle Ike’s Sandbar & Grill
- Need to curb your sweet tooth? Pick up some decadent pastries at Duck Donuts
- Perfect for a romantic evening, Paper Canoe serves a fine-dining experience.
- Indulge in a plate of juicy scallops or sticky ribs at the Blue Point
- Cravings has just what you need to appease your appetite.
- Roadside Bar & Grill is the perfect hang out spot where you can grab delicious bites
Southern Shores and Kitty Hawks Cuisine
- Try the authentic, simple, and delightful barbecue at High Cotton NC BBQ
- Do yourself a favor and order the best burger on the Outer Banks at Art’s Place
- Southern Shores Pizza & Deli delivery makes the kids happy every time
- From lobster and mussels to tasty ribs and burgers, Steamers feeds the whole family
2. Outdoor Adventures
North Carolina's Outer Banks offers a variety of fun outdoor adventures to suit anyone in your family. Choose a thrilling adventure such as parasailing, riding a Jet Ski or learning how to surf, or test your physical abilities at the new ropes course in Corolla! Others may enjoy a gentle kayak tour paddled on a coastal estuary at sunset. One of the highlights of visiting OBX is the chance to see wild horses on the beach. Whatever your taste, the adventure you choose will enrich your vacation experience even more!
Pro Tip: Our Paramount Perks program offers discounts on many OBX adventures such as eco-friendly kayak tours, parasailing, stand-up paddle, and more!
Wind Sports, Water Sports, and Kayak Tours
- Kayak to Monkey Island on the Currituck Sound
- Parasail over the Atlantic and soak in the best views of the Outer Banks
- Cut through the waves on a Jet Ski or paddle boat
- Rent a kite and watch the kids’ faces light up as they soar through the sky
Surfing & Stand Up Paddleboarding
- Take private surfing lessons with local surf experts and catch some waves
- Balance your weight on a stand up paddle board
- Rent boogie boards, skim boards, surfboards, and more
Mini Golf & Adventure Parks
- Challenge the whole family to a game of mini-golf
- See who crosses the finish line first in a Go-Kart race
- Collide with friends and families in bumper cars
- Collect tickets while playing arcade games and ski ball
More Exciting Escapades
- Spot fabled beach dwellers on a wild horse tour
- Slip and slide around at H2OBX Waterpark
- Rent some poles and tackle and go charter fishing
- Play a few rousing rounds of golf
- Climb through the obstacle course at Corolla Adventure Park
3. Indoor Attractions for When It’s Raining
Don’t let the weather rain on your parade! Take a break from the beach and check out some of the indoor activities that provide entertainment for the whole family. Learn about local history at a museum or peruse an art gallery for a unique souvenir to bring home. Whether you’re looking to take a fun art class, catch a new flick at a historic theater, or take the kids to the aquarium, you’ll find plenty of things to do in the Outer Banks.
Crafts and Classes
- Peruse the bead emporium, Cloud Nine, and gather all your jewelry-making needs
- Take an arts and crafts class at the Kill Devil Hills Art Cooperative
- Gather all your knitting necessities at Knitting Addiction or Yarn & More
- Host a “painting party” for the kids on a rainy day at AR Workshop
Art and Theatre
- Browse local art galleries and find the best souvenirs to bring home with you
- Laugh your way through a show at the Comedy Club of the Outer Banks
- See a flick at the historic, Pioneer Movie Theatre
History and Science
- Visit living history site, Island Farm, on Roanoke Island
- See colorful fish, sharks and more at North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
- Learn about local wildlife and ecology at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education
- Let those imaginations run wild at Children @ Play Museum
4. Events & Festivals
From pirate adventures to food tours, the Outer Banks is home to a great variety unique things to do. Celebrate with the locals at some of the best events and festivals! Foodies will enjoy various culinary-centric events. There are music festivals that range from rock to jazz and bluegrass if you prefer. Art festivals are great places for family-friendly activities or wine-tastings for adults to sample offerings from area vineyards. Active-minded vacationers can find competitive challenges and marathons that occur throughout the year to stay in shape and have lots of fun in the process.
- Get to the pot of gold first at the Running of the Leprechauns 5K-10K race
- Indulge in decadent delights at the Annual Taste of the Beach
- Rev your engines and ride through the Outer Banks Bike Week and Music Fest
- Ooh and aah at the Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular & Air Show
- Peruse beautiful works of art at the Under the Oaks Arts Festival
- Test your strength at the Storm the Beach obstacle course race
- Watch fireworks at the annual 4th of July Parade & Celebration
- Jam out at the Bluegrass Island Festival
- Taste some of the best local seafood at the Outer Banks Seafood Festival
- Watch your favorite horror flicks at the Halloween Film Festival
- Enjoy a Candlelight Tour of the Whalehead Club after Thanksgiving or an Epicurean Hunt Evening featuring 1920's hunt club style cuisine (reservations required)
- Sample delicious, Cajun cuisine at the Cajun Occasion at Sanctuary Vineyards
Stay with Paramount Destinations
Now that you know the best things to do in the Outer Banks, it’s time to find the perfect place to stay. Searching for a rental that meets your needs is easy with Paramount Destinations! We offer an extensive selection of Outer Banks rental homes for all types of travelers.
When you book your vacation home through Paramount Destinations, you can expect top-notch amenities, stunning locations, and proximity to the best things to do in the Outer Banks. Our vacation rentals range from beach-front properties, gated-community homes, and houses with Sound views. Allow us to make your dream vacation a reality and book your next big getaway with us!