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10 Sep 2013
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We love helping visitors plan the perfect vacation on the Outer Banks and we often get questions about how warm the ocean water temperatures currently are. Since we get so many questions regarding this topic, we’ve decided to put together a post outlining the best months to enjoy the warm ocean waters on the OBX. We figured the easiest way to explain just how warm (on average) ocean water temperatures are is through a table.


The numbers below are based on figures from the National Weather Service’s Newport Office.













The above weather readings reflect the average temperatures (degrees Fahrenheit), wind velocity (MPH) and precipitation (inches) over a length of ten years at Cape Hatteras.

After viewing the chart, it's apparent that if you want to take a swim in the Atlantic during your Outer Banks vacation, then you should definitely plan your visit during the months of May – Oct., Of course, you can still swim in the Atlantic during the other months of the year, but you're probably going to need a wet suit if you don’t want to freeze to death. You can read more about the weather on the OBX by visiting our Outer Banks Weather Information page on our website.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average water temperature in the Outer Banks?

The average water temperature in the Outer Banks is 63 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why is Outer Banks water cold?

Outer Banks water is cold because southwest winds push warm water up to the surface of the Atlantic Ocean and away from the shore. This flow of wind enables cold water that is below the warm water to move in.


Is it safe to swim in the Outer Banks?

It is safe to swim in the Outer Banks. The northern, central and southern portions of the Outer Banks are equally well-guarded and monitored. Lifeguard stands are stationed from Corolla and Duck in the north, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head in the central portion and down to Cape Hatteras in the south.