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14 Dec 2023
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Events & Holidays

Benefits of Visiting the Outer Banks in Winter

Even though vacationers often visit the Outer Banks during the summer for some fun in the sun, there are still plenty of Outer Banks winter activities that make it worth visiting during the off-season. The Outer Banks in the winter is slower and much cozier, so you’ll get to take advantage of the full island and the surrounding area without needing to wait in long lines, and likely at a cheaper rate.

Additionally, there are plenty of fun and exciting Outer Banks winter activities you can do without stepping foot on the beach. All in all, Outer Banks in the winter is a wonderful escape that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

Things to Do in the Outer Banks in Winter

The Outer Banks has a number of attractions that are just as exciting in the winter as they are in the summer. There are both indoor and outdoor Outer Banks winter activities that are fun for the whole family. The area also offers attractions for a variety of budgets, so no matter what, you’ll be able to find something you’ll love.

Visit a Lighthouse

One of the best things to do while traffic is lighter on the Outer Banks is to visit the multiple lighthouses that once actively patroled the shores from Corolla to Ocracoke. While most lighthouses will be closed for climbing during the winter, strolling by and seeing these brilliant structures against the beautiful natural landscape of the Outer Banks is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Time it right, and you'll be able to see all 5 lighthouses during your stay including the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, the Bodie Island Lighthouse, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse. Catch a glimps of these massive pieces of history and be sure to come back again during the summer for the chance to actually climb them and see the Outer Banks from above!

Spend a Day at the Wright Brothers Museum

No trip to the Outer Banks is complete without a visit to The Wright Brothers Museum. Come celebrate America's first flight in one of the most beautiful places in the world! Walk the ground of the Wright Brothers Memorial and walk in the footsteps of history. For even more fun, plan your Outer Banks winter vacation around December 17th and experience Wright Brothers Day in the spot where it happened. Enjoy exhibits, speakers, and a full day of celebration commemorating this amazing feat.

  • The Wright Brothers Memorial is located at 1000 N. Croatan Hwy., Kill Devil Hills, 27948.
  • They are open 9 AM – 5 PM daily year-round (other than on Christmas Day).
  • Tickets for Adults (16+) cost $10 while children 15 and younger are free.

Visit the Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Who says the beach can't be wonderful in the winter? In fact, the winter is one of the best times to visit the beach where you will be able to experience unforgettable sunsets and a much more secluded experience during the off-season. Take the time to look for ghost crabs in the evening or search for sea glass along the shoreline. There are also hundreds of species of birds that call this area of the world home, so why not try out your birding skills and see how many you can find? 

Explore the North Carolina Aquarium

Few educational places out there excite both kids and adults the way that aquariums do. The concept and design of aquariums has come a long way in the era of environmental preservation and for those that exist for the purpose of research, education and conservation, they can be a great resource to the local ecology. The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island celebrates the unique geography and diverse ecosystem of the Outer Banks and is a great place to spend the afternoon! In fact, in 2019, USA Today recently named the North Carolina Aquarium system #7 in the Top 10 Best Aquariums in North America! If you love the Outer Banks and learning about marine life, take a short drive to Manteo and experience this aquarium in Outer Banks, NC for yourself!

  • The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island is located at 374 Airport Rd. Manteo, NC 27954.
  • They are open 9 AM – 5 PM daily year-round (other than on Thanksgiving and Christmas).
  • Tickets range in cost with Adults (13-61) costing $12.95, Seniors (62+) $11.95, Military $11.95, and Children (3 – 12) $10.95. Children 2 and younger get in free. NC Aquarium Society Members also get free admission.*

Celebrate the Holidays the Outer Banks Way!

There are so many exciting things to do on the Outer Banks during the holiday season. Visit the Winter Lights at the Elizabeth Gardens in Manteo and be sure not to miss the Manteo Christmas Tree Lighting every year! There are also lots of fun holiday markets to find that perfect Christmas gift. There are also lots of wonderful ways to bring in the new year by celebrating New Year's Eve on the Outer Banks! So whatever way you celebrate, you're sure to find that the Outer Banks is one of the most amazing places to be any time of the year.

Book an Outer Banks Winter Rental Today!

During the off-season, OBX has plenty of fully furnished winter rentals. Whether you’re looking for a beachfront property or a cozy bungalow, you’ll be able to find the perfect winter rental for your needs. And be sure to check out our specials page for even more great ways to enjoy your next visit to the Outer Banks!

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