You've likely heard of Wilbur and Orville Wright, the adventurous brothers who are credited with piloting the first powered flight. On Dec. 17, 1903, the pair made history when they launched their plane from a large sand dune located in Kill Devil Hills, a spot that is now the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Numerous public beach accesses, the Avalon Fishing Pier and a host of opportunities to rent everything from kayaks to surfboards make for great daytime adventures and the area also has some of the best nightlife on the OBX. Kill Devil Hills has also been voted one of the Best Surf Towns in America by Surfer magazine. The unique position and location of our barrier islands allow swells to make it all the way to shore instead of breaking further out in the ocean. Favorable winds and offshore storm activity also contribute to the supreme conditions.
Situated about half way down the Outer Banks, Kill Devil Hills is the largest town in Dare County with a year-round population of about 6,800 people. The town's biggest claim to fame is that it is home to the site of the first heavier-than-air powered flight. A 12 second, 120-foot flight launched the Age of Aviation on Thursday, December 17, 1903, right here in Kill Devil Hills. The Wright Brothers National Memorial stands on the spot today and is a very popular tourist attraction.
Much of the Outer Banks used to be dominated by a chain of giant sand dunes, much like Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head to the south. The dune where the Wright Brothers made history was once one of these slowly migrating giants until the federal government acted to memorialize Orville and Wilbur’s achievement here with a national park and grassed it over.
Things To Do in Kill Devil Hills
There are many places to eat, surf, fish and stay in Kill Devil Hills. There also are many public beach accesses along Highway 12. Kill Devil Hills offers a public bathhouse/lifeguard station with public restrooms located at the intersection of Virginia Dare Trail (Highway 12) and Ocean Bay Drive. If you fancy a vacation where the Wright Brothers first flew, or a stay on the beach where pelicans fly in formation at wave-top height, ask about the many fine Kill Devil Hills vacation rentals we have available.
How Did Kill Devil Hills Get Its Name?
Kill Devil Hills received its municipal charter in 1953. The town name is rooted in the pirate and buccaneering days when rum was so strong (or bad, depending on the version) that it would “kill the Devil." Another story claims that Kill Devil Hills took its name from a brand of rum that washed ashore from an unknown shipwreck, one of the 1,000+ wrecks that dot the coastline here.
It all starts with a luxurious Seaside vacation home or condo in one of the world’s most beautiful beachside communities.