Roanoke Island in Outer Banks, NC  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Outer Banks Area Features

Off-Season Getaways

The summer’s sunny days and warm temperatures create an ideal time to visit the Outer Banks. However, between Labor Day and Memorial Day, the area is still alive with activities, festivals and attractions. There is also less congestion, which means shorter lines and more chances to fully experience the Outer Banks while temperatures are still agreeable enough to enjoy the outdoors. Golfers will enjoy the ease of getting tee times and taking their time on less crowded courses. And, even on the off-chance it snows, the beauty of a snow-covered beach is a wonderful sight to behold.

Festivals and shows are very popular in the off-season months, and there are quite a few that the entire family will enjoy. Depending on when you’re in town, try the Day at the Docks Festival in Hatteras Village in September; the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum Wooden Boat Show in October; the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in March; Outer Banks Bike Week in April; or the Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular and Air Show in May. Music lovers will delight in the Duck Jazz Festival. On Columbus Day weekend, October 7-8, jazz aficionados will enjoy free live performances from 11am-6pm. Bands that have scatted, strummed, and established themselves in the jazz community will be showcasing their talents on either the Main Stage or the Amphitheater Stage in the town of Duck.

Perhaps the most anticipated festivals of the year are the food festivals. Head to Nags Head on October 21, 2017 for the Outer Banks Seafood Festival. Festival patrons can explore many culinary delights that come from the sea. With a small admission fee, a complimentary shuttle will take you to the festival where you will be greeted by live music, child-friendly activities, and an aroma that will certainly stimulate your appetite.
Taste of the Beach is an annual event that is always met with great anticipation. For four days in March, food and beverage specials and events are available throughout the entire Outer Banks. Try 3 or 4 courses during a themed dinner that specializes in local seafood, or maybe take a cooking class and learn an easy cooking technique. Breweries and wineries typically offer special events and tours of their facilities. There are even restaurant and pub “crawls” that take eager diners to a few different places to get a wider perspective on Outer Banks food. And most of these events are reasonably priced so it’s easier to take advantage of this celebration of local food.

On October 28, 2017, experience OBX Brewtäg where creative inventors will compete in making and then flying kegs. Empty 1/6 kegs are affixed to homemade airplanes, hang gliders and other ingenious flying apparatuses. The event began in commemoration of Francis and Gertrude Rogallo’s successful 1948 flight of their invention, a flexible-wing aircraft that was made from curtains and tested in their homemade wind tunnel. Many of today’s favorite flight devices have stemmed from their creation including hang gliders, parasails, and stunt kites. Now you can see kegs fly! This is a fun event for the entire family with lots of activities for the kids. Plus, it’s free to spectators!

If getting a steal of a deal is something you enjoy, the local shops typically have great sales in the off-season. Add a new bathing suit to your wardrobe or replace a worn beach towel when the prices are at their lowest. Maybe even do some holiday shopping! After all, the winter holidays are a beautiful time to visit the oceanfront.

In December and on select dates in January, the Elizabethan Gardens hosts a holiday Winter Lights Celebration. Also in Manteo, you can tour historic homes decorated for the holidays and participate in the annual Christmas celebration. Don’t forget to bring home a cherished memento of your vacation—a holiday ornament from the OBX!

Visit in the fall to book fishing charters when the prices are lower or to go surf-fishing when the beaches are empty. Plus, hauling in your catch is no hassle when you’re staying nearby. Rental companies offer great deals on beach houses beginning in September. Beachgoers are regularly seen as late as November and as early as March. Surfers in particular like the waves during the off-season. With better waves and fewer people to maneuver around, a more pleasurable surfing experience is almost guaranteed.

When the majority of tourists have left the area, the beach also gives our canine companions more space to play in the sand and water. What’s just as nice is that certain horses are also allowed. Equine Adventures offers avid equestrians and even first-time riders guided tours of the beach on Hatteras Island for an unforgettable oceanfront experience. 

These are just a few of the many happenings that occur throughout the year. Look on our Events Page for a listing of all the things your family can experience together while on vacation. So come on back to the Outer Banks in the off-season. There’s a lot to enjoy in a more relaxing atmosphere.


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