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7 Jul 2023
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Travel Tips

beach background with overlay text that reads second summer, fall on the outer banks


Here on the Outer Banks, summer conditions last far longer than just June, July and August meaning you still have plenty of time to schedule your Outer Banks vacation! 

If you’ve been craving a beach vacation but you just don’t think you’ll be able to get away before summer is over, you’re in luck! Here on the Outer Banks, summer conditions last far longer than just June, July and August meaning you still have plenty of time to schedule your Outer Banks vacation! Fall on the Outer Banks — which we affectionately refer to as our “Second Summer” — is one of the best-kept secrets about our beautiful beaches. Crowds are few and far between, the weather is wonderful, the ocean water is warm, fishing opportunities are abundant, a variety of festivals and events are taking place, there’s less congestion and traffic, and the lines at your favorite restaurants and attractions are virtually nonexistent! Learn why the fall season on the Outer Banks is just an endless summer of fun:

Amazing Weather And Warm Water

We understand the appeal of a beach trip in the summer... there’s nothing like taking a dip in the ocean or hopping in the pool on a hot summer’s day after sitting out under the sun. But the good news is the best time of year to visit the Outer Banks is any time of year! Fall on the Outer Banks provides an endless summer season—one that is warm enough to sit outside in the sun (without being too hot) with water warm enough for you to still swim. September temps range from mid-70’s to low-80’s; October ranges from high 60’s to mid-70’s; and November typically ranges from high 50’s to mid-60’s. Last year, there were even some 70-degree and high 60-degree days in November!

Endless "Second Summer" Fun

Living In An Angler's Paradise

Fishing opportunities are abundant in the fall season on the Outer Banks! Offshore, you have a chance to reel in blue marlin and yellowfin tuna. Inshore/Nearshore fishing provides the opportunity to catch black sea bass, tilefish, snapper, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, red drum and cobia. If you choose to head to one of the piers, you can usually hook sea mullet, spot, croaker and speckled trout. If you rent an oceanfront home and decide to set up a spot out your backdoor in the surf, you’re more than likely to reel in just about the same types of fish found swimming near the piers. **Know before you go: a coastal recreational fishing license is required to fish on the Outer Banks. For information on cost and how to obtain a license, please visit

Staff Pick: Beach Bonfires That Get You Fired Up For Fall

The best way to end your day at the beach in the fall is with a bonfire. Beach fires are allowed, with a permit, on the beaches of Nags Head and along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. There are some regulations to having a fire on the beach, which you can find here. And if you're looking for someone to take care of the setup and cleanup, Seaside Vacations is excited to partner with Outer Banks Beach Fires to offer its guests an exclusive discount on all OBXBF offerings!

There's nothing like a bonfire on the beach on a crisp October evening where it's just cool enough to need a sweatshirt. The stars seem to shine brighter in the cooler weather, too. Everything just seems more vibrant.” - Lori Smith, General Manager

Sunsets That Make Your Jaw Drop

There’s something magical that happens on this barrier island during the Endless Summer season. As the sun starts to slip away over the sound, the skies develop the most amazing, intense and vibrant shades and whisps of purples, pinks, oranges, reds and yellows. We can tell you how stunning the sight is and even show you pictures, but you will never fully grasp how awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping the scenery is unless you experience it for yourself. Discover some of the best places to watch the sunset on the Outer Banks and get ready for views to last a lifetime.

Staff Pick: Ocracoke Day Trippin'

Grab a ferry early in the morning from Hatteras Island and sail away to the magical, charming and quaint island that is Ocracoke. The 5-mile trip to the island takes roughly 45-minutes and is the perfect opportunity to relax and breathe in the salt air. Visit the lighthouse, explore the history, and go shopping in this peaceful island that is unlike anywhere else in the world.

"In the fall, my family and I head a little further south to board the ferry for the quick trip to Ocracoke Island. The weather is typically warm and we prefer to ditch the car in favor of bicycles that can be rented by the hour. Whether we tour the lighthouse, venture around the village, or search for our own secluded stretch of beach to spend the day, we never run out of ways to enjoy our treasured island time. And the fewer crowds means that we rarely encounter a wait at the ferry terminal or restaurants."  - Chad Fournier, Marketing Director

The Wind Stokes Your Adventurous Side

Surfing, Kiteboarding, Windsurfing, Hang Gliding… The increased breeze in the fall ignites the souls of the watersport adventurers. The consistent winds provide the perfect environment on both the ocean and sound to fulfill your watersport passion. The Outer Banks is known for its epic waves during the fall and is the annual host to The Easterns® surf competition. Kiteboarders and windsurfers from all over the globe also flock to our soundside stretches in order to glide across the waters being pushed by our gentle winds. Jockey’s Ridge State Park is also the perfect spot to hang glide across the expansive dunes and take-in unparalleled ocean and sound views. Seaside Vacations has partnered up with Kitty Hawk Kites and offers guests exclusive discounts on equipment rentals (and lessons) making your car packing and travel a bit easier to handle.

Free Your Spirit At Fun Fall Festivals Or Events

There are plenty of things to do in the Outer Banks in the fall, from local concerts to seafood festivals, the Outer Banks is literally bustling with activities. The weather’s amazing and the crowds are always just the right size. From celebrations of food, music and local culture, here are just a few fall events that you might want to check out:

*Events and dates are subject to change.

 Plus enjoy these local pumpkin patches:

  • All of October: Grandy Greenhouse & Farm Market Pumpkin Patch in Grandy, NC
  • Saturdays in October: Island Farm Pumpkin Patch in Manteo, NC

Leash Laws Loosen For Fido

It can be hard (and expensive!) to get a pet sitter and leave your four-legged best friends behind when you come on vacation. Although dogs can be perfectly happy on a summer trip, there are stricter laws during peak travel months where dogs are only allowed on the beach during certain hours. Even if this wasn’t the case, the sand and pavement often is far too hot meaning your pup may be spending most of his vacation indoors. Luckily, the weather during the fall season is perfect making it great weather for a little island exploration. Since the beaches, hiking trails and sidewalks are much less crowded, your dog will be in canine paradise! Click here to find out the specific leash rules for each town to ensure your vacation with your four-legged friend will be a breeze.

Quiet Beaches, Affordable Rentals

Towns Are Less Crowded

Compared to most popular beach destinations, the Outer Banks is far less crowded and is actually more underdeveloped than most beaches. Despite this fact, it can get pretty busy during the peak travel months. If you want to avoid the crowds and still enjoy everything the Outer Banks has to offer, you’ll love visiting during the fall! Traffic will be less of an issue during check-in day and there will be fewer cars on the road in general. You will also experience less crowds in shops, at local landmarks, and on the beach. As a bonus, you'll likely experience shorter wait times in restaurants and most popular restaurants stay open through October!

Save Money On Your Rental Home

Because peak season is the busiest tourist season, rentals can be harder to find and they cost much more than they do on the off-season. For example, a gorgeous 7-bedroom oceanfront home in Southern Shores with a pool may cost around $11,000 during a busy week in July. Compared to the cost of a hotel, especially divided up per person, this truly is a great deal for large family groups! However, that same house rents for around only $3,000 during the first week of October! It will still be warm enough to sit outside (albeit you may need a light jacket in the evenings), and the ocean view is just as amazing. If you’re looking for a bargain, a fall trip is the way to go.

Worried about hurricanes?Hurricane season begins June 1st and runs through November 30th. Although hurricanes may occur, mandatory evacuations are rare and the chance of bad weather shouldn't deter you from enjoying one of the most beautiful seasons at the beach. To ensure your vacation is protected, first and foremost, purchase trip insurance! Trip insurance is insurance on a vacation that is designed to protect vacationers from losing out on the money they invested. Although the cost varies by individual rental, it is not an expensive add-on and with the money you'd receive back in the event of a claim, you'll have the funds necessary to reschedule for another time.

Tip: Purchase trip insurance when making your reservation. Although it can be added later on, trying to gauge the weather before purchasing is a bad idea because once an Atlantic weather system has become a named storm, you won't be able to get coverage. Plus, Travel Insurance may also provide protection for other non-weather circumstances including theft, baggage delay, medical costs and cancellation due to unforeseen illness or death, job loss, deployment and damage to your primary residence.

Find Your Outer Banks Fall Rental

With all these great benefits, who wouldn't want to enjoy the endless summer on the Outer Banks? Of course, we'd love to have you visit during the summer as well... two vacations are better than one! We have large multi-room cottages and small one bedroom condos with various views and amenities from Corolla to Nags Head making it easier than ever to find the perfect place for your family to enjoy. Plus, many of our homes now offer an Any Day Stays option where you can book a rental at a minimum of 3 nights which is perfect for those long weekend getaways! Click the button below to get started on finding your perfect Outer Banks fall rental home.


Last Updated 11:00AM EST, Fri, Jul 7, 2023.