Why we love the off-season on the Outer Banks

Off Season on the Outer Banks

duckroad_0Before I became a resident of the beautiful Outer Banks, I lived in a town outside of Richmond, VA. Every Summer I couldn’t wait to get here. We have always stayed, and continue to stay in Duck. The only adjustment my family has made over the years is when we come. We switched from 4th of July week to early June when it’s not as hot. Once we arrived, we were so over-the-moon with excitement we didn’t know what to do first. By the time Thursday arrived during our Sunday-to-Sunday rental, reality started setting in. My vacation was soon coming to an end.

Thankfully, my grandparents and I think alike. One week on the Outer Banks out of the entire year just isn’t enough. They started coming 3 times a year; one week in February, one week in July, and one week in November. Before I transferred to my now alma mater University of Hawai’i, I attended Old Dominion University. This worked out perfect.  I was close enough to the Outer Banks that I was able to visit them all 3 times they came. This was my first time visiting the Outer Banks in the “off-season”. I then realized the year-round beauty this place offers. Before moving to Hawai’i, I knew the Outer Banks was where I would return someday.

The off season is technically defined from Labor Day to Memorial Day. The Outer Banks doesn’t have steady traffic year round. We are a vacation destination so it’s either full swing all day every day or it’s what we call our “off season”. Outer Banks residents look forward to the off-season as much as we look forward to Summer time. We love the warm weather, business, and meeting people from all over the world during our busy Summer months. Here are some things to look forward to in the off-season:


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Surfing for Autism / OBX Pro Surfing video from Outer Banks, NC

surfing-for-autism-jennettes-pier-obxIn case you missed it, two exciting events have taken place over the past week on the Outer Banks at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, N.C.  The annual Surfing for Autism benefit took place last weekend, raising funds and awareness while allowing dozens of children from across the country to experience their dreams of surfing!

Also, just this past week, the WRV Outer Banks Pro took place at Jennette’s Pier.  This year’s event was a ASP sanctioned 2-star event.. meaning more of the top talent from around the world showed up as well as the points meant even more moving forward.

Enjoy the sights and sounds in the video below.  Please share with your friends so everyone can enjoy the OBX!

ESA Easterns Surfing Championship 2014


Have you ever wished you could see a surfing competition in person? Well, this could be another reason why the Outer Banks is awesome in the Fall. The best of the best in amateur surfing meet here, on the Outer Banks to battle it out. They have traveled up and down the East Coast claiming victory for this weekend and this weekend only. From short boards to long boards to stand up paddle boards there is a division for all competitors.

surfer-easternsatjennettespierThis event will be held at the beautiful Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. Six days of competitive surfing? Count me in! This event is free and open to the public.The adult division kicks off the competition on September 14th – 16th with the open short board, body board, and stand up paddle divisions going down September 17th. After the open division, the youth division will battle it out in the water the 18th – 20th. With so many age groups, board divisions, it will be worth stopping by at least one of the 7 days. Photo: Mickey McCarthy

Surfs Up! OBX Beach Report 3-19

Temperatures are warm, clear blue skies, sun is shining, and waves are going off. Check out what Bob and Katlyn are up to today on this beautiful Outer Banks day. They are at the Fifth Street beach access in Kill Devil Hills near Avalon Fishing Pier.

Outer Bank’s Top 10 Surf Spots

Top 10 Surf Spots

The Outer Banks is full of things to do.  I am grateful to live in an environment when asked: “what do you want to do today?” at least the first 5 to 10 things that come to mind are all outdoors, weather permitting.  From riding bikes, toskating, to playing volleyball, to fishing, to surfing – the Outer Banks adds its special touch to make all of these activities different than anywhere else.  Whether it’s the views of the beach, views of landmarks, sunsets along the sound, to sunrises over the ocean; everything seems better here.

suring-airSurfing is one of those activities.  OBX isn’t Hawai’i, where you have consistent waves, consistent swells, consistent trade winds, and ridable waves 360 days out of the year.  Everything is variable.  Variable winds can change the form and conditions of the waves within minutes of switching directions.  It’s all about timing here on the Outer Banks.  Right swell direction, right wind direction, best timing according to the tides, and whether you feel like surfing with a bunch of guys or take the waves less crowded.  “You have to strike while the irons hot” in other words.  Five AM surf sesh may be the only time the conditions are clean, come 7AM or 8AM the wind could switch and change everything. You’ll get out, turn back looking at the choppy mess out in the water in disbelief that you were just pitted all morning in clean, hollow barrels.

As far as winds go… You tell wind the by direction it’s coming from, not the direction it’s blowing towards.  You always want off shore (blowing from land) winds.  When the wind blows towards the ocean it pushes on the wave and helps it to stand up creating a nice face to drop in.  Depending on what spot you go to, the off shore direction may be different.  Now with that little background on surfing on the Outer Banks, here are what I would list the top 10 surfed spots as:

daniel-pullen-hatteras-top-10_01. Lighthouse l Hatteras, NC

Home of Professional surfer Brett Barley. For the surfers living in town, when you get to take off for the day and get in on some tasty waves down South, it’s a treat. Up before sunrise, cup of joe, boards loaded, and you’re on the way. The whole way down your anticipating your first sight of the ocean and the conditions it’s bringing that morning. This is a pretty well-known spot, so if you snooze, you will lose. Photo:Daniel Pullen

2. Ocracoke Island

Due to the hassle it takes to get there from the rest of the Outer Banks, these spots are usually left to the locals. Sometimes when you don’t want a crowded wave, Ocracoke holds a day of fun with wide open beaches.

3. Duck Research Pier l Duck, NC 

This spot will produce some of the most beautiful and yet heavy waves I have ever seen on the Outer Banks. Usually when there are waves it’s an automatic “let’s go down south”. Duck Research Pier never fails when it’s pumping.

nags-head-pier_04. Nags Head Pier l Nags Head, NC 

Nags Head Pier, depending on the direction of the swell and wind, can be good on both sides. It can and will be very crowded. If you decide to sleep in past 9AM and want front and center in that line up, you will have other plans that day… like waiting your turn.

avon_05. Avon Pier l Avon, NC

Avon Pier hosts the Gromprix Surfing Competition where groms from all over compete to win a free entry into the O’Neil/Sweetwater surf fest. This is a great spot to take the whole family with large beaches, pier convenient store, and fishing. Pictured here is Brett Barley charging the water with all the groms in a session with the pros. (grom: kids surfing 15 and under).

6. Lillian Street l Kitty Hawk, NC


Near the infamous Pelican’s Perch; One of the last houses standing along a stretch on the beach road. Cons: public parking available, this spot will fill up quick. Pros: there are no homes along this portion of Kitty Hawk, the beaches are uncrowded, wide, with lots of shells to be found, and waves to be had.

kitty-hawk-surfing-copy_07. Kitty Hawk Pier l Kitty Hawk, NC 

Located in front of the Hilton in Kitty Hawk, this is a great spot when staying at the Northern beaches. When the wind direction is right, this spot produces some nice barrels without the long drive down south. Kitty Hawk is also home to ESA Surfing Competitions throughout the year. They welcome all age groups to compete for a spot in the Masters.

8. Chicahauk l Southern Shores, NC 

Home to the Throw Down North of Town surfing competition. A surfing competition for all age groups, and an all around great family fun day.  Located right here in Southern Shores, it’s just a walk from most of our oceanfront properties.

jennettes_09. Jennette’s Pier l Nags Head, NC

Home to the WRV Outer Banks Pro where professional surfers from all over the United States come to battle it out for the grand prize and bragging rights. This spot ranks lower because it’s so well known, that usually when there is any kind of swell in the water, there will also be a ton of guys. It may be crowded, but this beautiful pier makes for a great spot when the waves and winds are hitting just right.

10. Hayman Street l Kill Devil Hills, NC 

A busy public beach access in the heart of Kill Devil Hills. Just about a half mile north of Avalon pier. With a lot of vacation homes, and one of the biggest beach public parking areas in Kill Devil Hills, this spot fills up quick. Depending on the swell direction, the sandbar, and the wind, this spot will break differently just about every time. Either way, this is a fun wave for everyone.

Stay Tuned: surfing etiquette to come.

Outer Banks Top 10 Activities | Things To Do

Welcome to another addition of The Outer Banks Top 10!  This segment is designed to get you out and about! Below are the Top 10 Activities that are the best on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  There are thousands of things to do here at the beach, but these 10 need to be checked off the list at least once on your Outer Banks vacation stay!




Beaching it

908998_57911965-300x225_1There is a reason that you travel to the Outer Banks, and I’d wager that the miles of beautiful coastline and oceanfront cottages are one of the biggest!  There’s no better way to spend a day with family, friends, and kids than a day on the beach.  Whether you are early risers, beach combers, ocean swimmers, sun bathers, sand joggers, sand sculptors, beach bums, surf fishers, etc., you should dedicate special time on your Outer Banks vacation rental to do nothing but relax on the beach!

Outer Banks Fishing

outerbanksfishing-300x232_1Guess what?  Vacationing to the Outer Banks puts you right in the center of some of the best fishing action in the United States, and it’s easy to get into it!  Step 1: Purchase your coastal recreational fishing license (you can get this at any tackle shop and fishing piers do not require it).  Step 2: Grab your fishing rods or stop at some of our premiere fishing outfitters on the Outer Banks.  Step 3: Head on out to the beach, bridges, piers, sound, or deep sea.  Step 4: Enjoy!  Outer Banks fishing is dynamic in that we have very unique fisheries around us.  Whether casting a line out surf fishing, or taking a charter boat to the Gulf Stream waters, there is year round excitement that is meant to be enjoyed by YOU!  Check out our fishing charts and references for tips, tricks, and fish information.

Outer Banks Golfing

outerbanksgolf-300x225_1Sun tan lotion? Check.  Beach accessories?  Check.  Golf clubs?  CHECK!  Outer Banks golfing is one of the most popular off-the-beach activities.  We are the home to eight championship golf courses that offer the most accomplished golfer a great variety and beautiful scenery.  If you are looking for activities for kids, we have many putt-putt courses as well (grown-ups enjoy these too!).  Make sure you bring your bag or feel free to rent a set, golfing the Outer Banks is one of the best activities to get you out and enjoying the sights, smells, and scenery that the beach has to offer!  Check out our exclusive Outer Banks Rentals that include Discount Golf!

Outer Banks Kayaking/Canoeing

outerbankskayak-300x199_1Being surrounded by water has it’s perks!  One of which is taking out a kayak or canoe and exploring the waters of the Outer Banks yourself!  We have many equipment rental and activity rental outfitters to get you geared and set if you don’t have your own.  The Atlantic Ocean and inter-coastal waterways make kayaking a great “H20 travel choice “for outdoor enthusiasts as well as fishermen.  Be careful when renting to get either a regular or ocean kayak as you want to keep safety and stability in mind.  Canoeing is another great way to get out and explore nature.  Whether in Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge or exploring Alligator River, canoeing is popular for the calmer waters of the Outer Banks.

Outer Banks Crabbing

outerbankscrabbing-300x225_1Looking for a fun Outer Banks family activity?  WhileOuter Banks fishing is a great way to get the family outside and engaged in activity, crabbing is very popular as well.  Blue crabs can be caught in the sound by using any common crab bait (chicken drumsticks, necks, etc) in crab traps or just plain ‘ol rope.  Good crabbing spots may come across as “local secrets” but all you have to do is find a nice spot along the water, typically calm harbors, shallow water bridges, or calm pockets (manteo causeway) make great spots to drop some bait in.  Leave your lines sit for a bit and have fun with the family pulling in the crustaceans.  Remember there are guidelines on sizes to keep as well as you will need your coastal recreational fishing license to crab.  Outer Banks crabbing is a fun, inexpensive activity for kids and the family to get explore nature and hopefully come back with dinner!

Outer Banks Shopping

outer-banks-shopping-300x275_1The beach is by far the largest attraction the Outer Banks has to offer.  However, there are hundreds of businesses along the beach that offer visitors a wide variety of shopping experiences to remember.  Outer Banks shopping ranges from local art and wares to chic fashion boutiques.  There are distinctive collectables stores such as maritime antiques and decoys that are sure to please any Outer Banks historian.  Local art galleries are filled wall-to-wall with all kinds of Outer Banks paintings, photographs, and portraits from eras past.  We have swim, surf, beach, and activity outfitters.  No matter what your interests are, taking a afternoon drive down the beach road or bypass is sure to delight the entire family with “stop and shops” along the way.  Check out our Vacation Planner for more information!

Outer Banks Sight Seeing

outer-banks-sights-300x262_1Think the best sights are from the porch of your oceanfront rental?  Think again!  The Outer Banks has many attractions that you need to get out and see during your vacation.  We’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Outer Banks Attractions to highlight the finest for you.  No Outer Banks vacation would be complete without packing up the car, grabbing the camera, and checking out the famous landmarks, museums, and destinations that give the beach here it’s history, personality, and unique feel!


Outer Banks Photography

irion-1-300x200_1Speaking of grabbing the camera, why not?  Your eyes love the views of the Outer Banks, and one of the Top 10 Activities to partake in is both getting out and capturing memories of the beach, as well as having your memories captured for you.  Bringing the camera along with you everyday on your Outer Banks vacation is wise; you never know when you will see a breath taking sunset or a lunch out that’s prepared more beautifully than Bethoven’s 9th symphony!  There is also a growing trend in having professional portrait photography taken and produced for you.  It’s a great feeling when you can be present with your entire family, whether on the beach or at the vacation rental, and have another person handle the photos for you.  Check out our photographer section here & Southern Shores Realty guests can enjoy a FREE family portrait sitting during their Outer Banks rental stay.

Outer Banks Watersports

outerbankssurfing2-300x212_1Back to business!  If you have hit the beach for thrill and excitement the Outer Banks activities you must try are the popular board sports.  Rest assured, these aren’t “bored” sports!  The Outer Banks is home to some of the best surfing on the East Coast and some of the finest wind sports in the United States!  The waves off our coast attract a large number of traditional surfers while there is also a rise in popularity of paddle boarding.  When it comes time to putting some power behind the board, there’s no better action for kite boarding and wind surfing.  Our steady winds provide endless entertainment for those looking to harness some wind in their sails!  Wether its tubular shredding or sandline skimming, the Outer Banks is a excellent destination for board sports.

Explore the Outer Banks

my-outer-banks-300x292_1Last but not least is one of my personal favorites.  Just like Sir Walter Raleigh did over 400 years ago, one of the coolest Outer Banks activities is to get out and EXPLORE!  Many of you will have a grab-bag assortment of brochures and guides throughout your Outer Banks rental as well as your car.  However, one of the best ways to get to know the Outer Banks is to set sail yourself and just wander throughout the area.  Go check out Collington, weave through Wanchese, meander through Manteo, and explore the shore!  Half of the fun that I always have on vacation is exploring unfamiliar areas, off the highway, and learn more about what is really around me.  I’ve discovered favorite sunset drives, seafood markets, gift shops, secluded beaches, and calm hideaways just by exploring more with my family.  I’d really like to thank them for always making each vacation more about enjoying the Outer Banks as a whole versus just the beach, or just the activities.  When you become well-rounded in your vacationing you end up making better memories and end up falling in love with the Outer Banks even more.

Bud Light Lime Surf Series

57256-300x222_1Hang 10 dudes!  Here’s the deal; you need to get on out to Jennette’s Pier on Labor Day weekend to witness some of the best surf shredders in the country! CLICK HERE FOR UPDATED BUD LIGHT LIME SURF SERIES ROSTER Here’s the info from the Bud Light Lime Surf Series Website:

  • The Bud Light Lime Surf Series (BLLSS) will travel to Nags Head, North Carolina for the Labor Day Cup, taking place August 31 – September 3 at Jennette’s Pier. This is the second stop in 2012, and the first time the BLLSS has visited the east coast. The BLLSS features a diverse group of contest pros, legends, and local pros who are after over $125,000 in total prize purse. “I never saw pro contests like this on the east coast even though there is such a great surf culture there,” said North Carolina native and pro surfer Benny Bourgeios. “The Bud Light Lime Surf Series brings together world champs, icons, and guys on the cutting edge in one of the coolest contest settings I’ve ever been a part of.”  The Bud Light Lime Surf Series offers an unorthodox format and casual atmosphere.  Each participant surfs at least two times before cuts will be made.  Each surfer’s top-two wave scores are counted regardless of which heat they competed in during the opening round, which allows them to focus on bettering their own scores as opposed to competing directly against one another. The Bud Light Lime Surf Series highlight videos are featured on Surfline.com following the event.

The new Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head is not only a hotspot for fishing, but also has the ocean cartography for great waves!  Sculpted sandbars to the north and south make for great waves year round. For more information visit Surfline.com Looks to me like a fun time.  I’ll be on hand Labor Day to get snapshots of the “tubular” action and hopefully some awards as well.  What more reason do you need to get out on your holiday weekend?  Head on down to Nags Head and enjoy the sun, surf, and good times!  Need someplace to stay?  Check out our Last Minute Vacation Deals page to book yourself an Outer Banks vacation rental now! RELATED ARTICLES: Bud Light Lime Surf Series Roster