What are the Outer Banks?

What are the Outer Banks?


Whenever I start raving about the Outer Banks, a lot of people say, “wait, wait, wait…what are the outer banks”? So before I start rambling about how amazing the Outer Banks are, I’ll tell you what they are!

Currituck Lighthouse, Outer Banks, North Carolina

Well, I’ll actually let Wikipedia answer the question, “what are the outer banks”?:

“The Outer Banks is a 200-mile long string of narrow barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina…The Wright brothers’ first flight in a powered, heavier-than-air vehicle took place on the Outer Banks on December 17, 1903, at Kill Devil Hills near the seafront town of Kitty Hawk.” (read all).

Here’s a map of the Outer Banks:

[mappress mapid=”7″]

Here are some good guidebooks to help you plan your trip to the Outer Banks:

[amazon1]    [amazon2]    [amazon3]

Now I’ll share some things that I love about the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and why you should plan a vacation there.

1. The Beach Houses

I absolutely love the beautiful beach homes on the Outer Banks. I go walking every evening to see the multi-level decks and clever names that the home owners give to their beach homes. Since the islands are so thin, most rental houses have a view of the ocean and the beautiful beaches. Here is one vacation rental agency that I know of: SeaSide Vacations.


2. The Photo Opps

Everywhere you look, you’ll find a photo opportunity. Since you can see sunrise and sunset, you’ll always find an opportunity. The more dramatic shots (with silhouettes) will be at sunset, on the east side of the island.

Here’s a couple fun family photos from a trip that we took a few years ago:


As a photographer, I always get asked which digital cameras are best for travel & nature photography. Here are a couple that I’ve owned (or tried) that I love (in different price points):

[amazon4]    [amazon5]    [amazon6]

3. The Food

You’ll find a bunch of superb unique restaurants along the Outer Banks. One of our favorites is “Pigman’s Bar B Que” in Kitty Hawk. It’s pretty popular with locals.

We also really like “Sam and Omies Restaurant” in Nags Head. Taking a nice picnic to the beach is also another one of my favorite dining experiences.

4. The Fishing

Surf fishing is also another fun activity that I enjoy when I visit the Outer Banks. My father-in-law keeps telling me about “the blitz of the blues” (blue fish frenzy), but I have yet to experience it. But I just love casting a line out in the water, even if I don’t catch anything. You can also charter boats to catch the biiiiig fish. Click here for a directory of fishing guides.

5. The History

The islands are also extremely historical. As mentioned above, the Wright brothers flew the first airplane on the Outer Banks.  The historical towns and shopping areas are also really fun to experience. Don’t miss the historical towns of Kitty Hawk (where the Wright brothers flew), Nags Head, and Duck. My favorite lighthouse on along the Outer Banks is the Currituck lighthouse. Also be sure to visit the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. You can pay to climb up both. It’s a bit pricey, but something that you should do at least once!


6. The Beaches & Piers

Probably my favorite thing to do on the Outer Banks is to walk along the gorgeous beaches and piers to watch the setting and rising sun. Because the islands are so thin, you can usually see both…but not at the same time. I also love watching the pelicans glide just a few inches above the water’s surface.

This quick article about the Outer Banks is meant to wet your appetite. If you’re hungry now, be sure to visit the comprehensive official tourist website for the Outer Banks, right here.


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  1. 1

    Hi Josh,

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. You described the Outer Banks perfectly!

    Great pictures., too! Love the scenes you captured.

    We’re so glad you love the Outer Banks like we do. 🙂

    We’d love to help you plan your next OBX trip. Please let us know if we can help.

    Have fun!

    Seaside Vacations

    4820 N. Croatan Hwy
    Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
    (866) 884-0267

  2. 3

    Hi Josh,

    You guessed it. I monitor “Outer Banks” on Google. Thanks for the great post about the OBX. I also shared it on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/SeasideVacationsOBX) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/SeasideVacation).

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