There is a reason why the Outer Banks is one of the East Coast’s most famous destinations; its incredible beaches. Many travelers have claimed that the region is one massive beach, and they are not wrong! Extending up to about 175 miles, the Outer Banks’ most gorgeous beaches are made up of sand. Finding a perfect beach destination depends on what one is looking for. A vibrant summer scene? A fantastic family beach? Whatever it is, the beaches in the Outer Banks have everything for every visitor. These are the best Outer Banks beaches, ranked by popularity.
10 Cape Point
Cape Point Beach is located in Cape Hatteras National Seashore and is one of the best in the Outer Banks. The beach extends southwards, allowing calm waters on one hand and waves on the other hand. Wading is one of the most interesting activities on the beach due to the lagoon in between, which features warm, calm, and shallow waters. However, travelers must check out the availability of storms, winds, and tides, as wading depends on those conditions. Adventurous visitors can get out on the sand and spend time under beach umbrellas. Shore fishing is also popular on the beach.
9 Nags Head
Stretching 12 miles, this beach was established in the 1830s and had been receiving visitors since the 1850s. The beach is incredible and has over 30 access points. Anyone can visit the beach, including families with young children, as there are always guards to watch over not-so-strong swimmers. When passing across Roanoke Sound, it’s hard to skip this gorgeous beach after going through the long drive. Other than basking in the sun and surfing, travelers can explore Jennette's Pier and enjoy the spectacular views of the Atlantic. Fishing is popular on the pier, and rods are available for rent.
8 Rodanthe Beach
Camping is one of the most impressive activities, as there are numerous campgrounds. Fishing is also popular on the beach, especially by the locals. Not into camping? Well, there are plenty of magnificent vacation home rentals to explore, and choose one if in need. All one need to do is call one of the agencies to make some great deals. There is an event on this beach that brings many travelers, the ''Wings Over Water,'' involving the locals and bird lovers exploring and raising funds to support the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society.
7 Ocracoke Island
This is one of the most impressive places to experience an unforgettable beach vacation. It might take some 'sweat' to get to this place, but it is all worth it. Travelers can use one of the two available routes: a ferry ride starting from Hatteras in the north or a long drive through the entire Outer Banks. Once one gets to this gorgeous island, one'll leave the busy world behind and focus on a new life full of memories. The island features an incredible beach stretching for 16 miles. The beach is remote and only has several national park campsites. Travelers can engage in swimming, running, surfing, walking, and more.
Situated in the Outer Banks’ northern end, Carova Beach features soft sand, breathtaking views, and a great swimming spot for tourists. The Corolla wild horses call this place home, and visitors can experience these amazing creatures by driving along the beach in a 4WD vehicle. There are also available tours to explore the area and view the animals up close. There is an incredible history of these horses and how they ended up in Carova Beach. It is said that they were saved from a sinking ship and grew in number over the years in the Outer Banks. There was a need to make the horses have their own space as development was enhanced. That’s when they were relocated to Carova Beach, where they can now roam around freely.
Waves is a charming small town located south of Rodanthe and is an excellent beach destination in the Outer Banks. This town features a beautiful beach, almost similar to Rodanthe. It stretches for miles, and families spend summer vacations on the beach. In Waves, visitors will have easy access to incredible hotels and hostels to stay in, outstanding restaurants to dine at, and several activities for kids. With all the amenities and playgrounds for children, this beach is a perfect place for a family getaway.
4 Sandbridge Beach
Located just about a 40-minute drive away from Virginia Beach, Sandbridge is a popular weekend getaway destination. Stretching six miles, this beach features a laid-back atmosphere and is usually less crowded and relaxed. There are numerous vacation homes to rent on the beach, making this destination an excellent spot to spend a weekend or a longer vacation. The beach experiences steady waves, perfect for windsurfing, especially for beginners. Fishing is possible at a small pier stretching out into the ocean at the beach's southern end.
3 Portsmouth Island
Covering 22 miles, Portsmouth Island is one huge campground and is one of the most popular camping spots in the Outer Banks. More than a mile of the island is uninhabited. The island features stunning beaches that guarantee an incredible vacation experience. Travelers can settle on the spectacular dunes or one of the few beach boxes and circular homes available for rent. Popular activities include surfing, lounging, swimming, birdwatching, crabbing, and shelling. Exploring the Portsmouth Village would be an excellent activity for travelers who'd like to get away from the beach for a while.
2 False Cape State Park
The False Cape State Park is located on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, at the Outer Banks’ final point. It measures 3,844 acres and has a beach stretching 5.9 miles that extends down the entire length of the park to the border. The availability of campsites mounted directly on the coast is the park's major draw. To get to the campsites, travelers must hike or go bike riding for miles, making this spot suitable for the inexperienced. There are no amenities, so one must park everything when coming to this place.
Duck is a small town, one of the Outer Banks' newest establishments, and is a popular summer destination, thanks to the fantastic food options, cultural activities, and shopping plazas. The town features a gorgeous beach on the Atlantic coast, regularly ranked as one of the Outer Banks' most impressive family beaches. The beach is open to everyone, but there are no public access points - and the only way to get there is using the private access points. There are laws prohibiting walking on the dunes and certain beaches, so trying to get to the beach otherwise would be difficult.