Like many other summer destinations, the Outer Banks seems to get even better in the fall. Not only is the weather slightly cooler, but the entire place looks and feels less crowded. This means stunning beaches, waterfronts, plenty of open campsites, and attractions become just a little more inviting sans the masses.
Plus, there’s no denying that vacationing in the off-season leads to better prices. But that’s not all; the Outer Banks’ festivals, events, and fishing are all at their peak during the fall. So, if you were on the fence about an autumn OBX getaway, here are ten things to do in the fall at the Outer Banks that are sure to pique your interest.
10 See All The Sights
If this is your first time checking out OBX, then some sightseeing is definitely in order.
With ample attractions, museums, and a long, rich history, fall visitors can enjoy all the fascinating facts about these islands without the hordes of tourists. So why not make it a point to see all five piers from Kitty Hawk to Nags Head, since there are no long lines or waiting?
9 Run The Outer Banks Marathon
For active travelers, the annual OBX Marathon is another fun fall-time activity to test your personal best.
Not only is this the oldest continuously running road race around these parts, but it also takes place on a relatively flat, smooth, and fast course. So, there’s no need to worry if you haven’t trained all year for this one.
If running on vacation is your cup of tea, then check out this local marathon that happens each November.
There is also a half marathon 8K, Southern 6K, a 5K challenge, and a fun run to choose from if you prefer not to participate in the full marathon.
8 Enjoy The Bluegrass Island Festival
Held at the stunning Roanoke Island Festival Park, the annual Bluegrass Island Festival in the Outer Banks promises festival goers an incredible time this fall.
With live music/entertainment, a serious lineup of over 20+ musicians, food trucks with all kinds of delicious eats, festive snacks, libations, a cruise, and more, this festival doesn’t disappoint.
If you happen to be in the area in October, you should come on down and have a wonderful time at this Bluegrass extravaganza.
7 Stop By Island Farm & Currituck Beach Lighthouse
Brimming with history, delicious cider, festive eats, seasonal produce, and farm activities that are fun for the whole family, stopping by this two-for-one historical site during fall just makes sense.
Here visitors can also take in all the beautiful fall foliage and even book this gorgeous spot for weddings, student field trips, and other outdoorsy events.
6 Check Out The Events At The Elizabethan Gardens
A stunning outdoor green space and garden, The Elizabethan Gardens hosts a variety of events that are perfect for families with young children, couples, and nature lovers alike.
One popular event that takes place every Tuesday and Friday from April to late September is the Butterfly House Release, which is a marvelous thing to see, especially in the fall.
This September, there will even be a tribute for Queen Elizabeth II, and 70 Monarch butterflies will be released in her honor on the great lawn.
5 Attend The Outer Banks Seafood Festival
Yet another autumn festival that is sure to delight is the annual Outer Banks Seafood Festival.
If you want some of the best and freshest seafood you’ve probably had in years, then you probably don’t need to be persuaded to attend this event.
Notable festival features include cooking demonstrations, contests, competitions, exhibits, mouthwatering seafood eats, live music, activities for all, and the Blessing of the Fleet.
4 Get Festive At Grandy Greenhouse & Farm Market
Grandy Greenhouse & Farm Market is known for its fresh produce, homemade dressings, seasonal fruits, fresh cider, and more. In fact, this is the perfect spot to get festive with all their “fresh picked goodness.”
A few notable delights here include fruit flurries, southern comfort vegetables, and fruit-infused wines.
Of course, for fall visitors looking for something a little stronger, a trip to the OBX Distillery might be in order.
Here patrons can enjoy some fall-inspired rum flavors and even try some fancy rum cocktails in The Wheel House Lounge.
3 Enjoy An OBX Ghost Tour
Speaking of getting festive, fall visitors should absolutely book an OBX ghost tour or two while they are in town.
From hauntingly spooky ghost walks of downtown Manteo to pirate walks with Treasure Trivia, these tours are fun, fascinating, and sometimes bone-chilling.
But what do you expect when you venture into the haunted parts of the Outer Banks?
With local lore, shipwrecks, and ghostly legends aplenty, if you are looking for ways to get into the upcoming holiday season, this is definitely one way to go.
2 Check Out The Foliage From Above
For travelers who like a good adrenaline rush every now and again, the Outer Banks also has ample air activities available.
Fall visitors can opt for coastal helicopter rides, some good old-fashioned hang gliding, skydiving, a waterbird, a biplane ride, an ultra flight (a motorized hang glider), or the standard plane for a whole new perspective of the Outer Banks.
No matter what you choose, you can take to the skies to see the stunning foliage, the pristine coastline, the surrounding islands, the mainland, and more—in all its autumn beauty.
1 Hit The Beach For Some Fall-Style Fun
Last but not least, fall lovers should definitely take some time out and hit the beach. During the off-season, the water is still on the warmer side, so you can swim, fish, and enjoy a plethora of water activities.
Of course, at night, the real treat is having a beachside bonfire with an autumn chill in the air, s’mores, your favorite hoodie, and some cozy blankets.
Other beachy activities that seem extra special around this time of year include beach picnics, autumn sunrises, long walks, and picturesque sunsets.