Nags Head Travel Guide

  • touch tank
    touch tank
    by grandmaR
  • Things to Do
    by sabogg01
  • Things to Do
    by HillyCaye

Nags Head Highlights

  • Pro
    HillyCaye profile photo

    HillyCaye says…

     The beach scene is not super-crowded, like so many other vacation spots. 

  • Con
    b1bob profile photo

    b1bob says…

     Try getting a cheap, decent hotel room in peak season. 

  • In a nutshell
    balfor profile photo

    balfor says…

     If you love the ocean and can't live in the tropics, this is the next best thing! 

Nags Head Things to Do

  • Miles of Sandy Beaches on the Atlantic...

    Nags Head on the outer banks is most known for its beaches, so a visit here is not complete without seeing the beach. There are a few public access parking areas, but they're generally small and fill quickly in peak times, so plan ahead. The beach is obviously most crowded in the summer, so a good time to visit is late spring or early fall, when...

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  • Lighthouses, Lighthouses, Lighthouses.

    I have a fascination with Lighthouses. I think they are so mysterious, and lonley, and haunting. They are the overseers of the ocean, beckoning the boats to safe passage. On your drive down the main road through the Outer Banks, there are many to stop and gaze at, or learn the history of, or simply get that camera and be all cool and artsy. Morning...

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  • Find your favorite beach.

    There are miles and miles of endless, uncluttered beaches, all the way from Nags Head to Cape Hateras and beyond. Sure, you get a summer crowd, but nowhere near as crazy as Florida or Myrtle Beach during peak season. Pull over, grab your favorite book, an ice cold beverage and hit the beach. Feel the weight of the world slide down your shoulders as...

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Nags Head Hotels

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Nags Head Restaurants

  • AWFUL SERVICE -- DONT PLAN TO HAVE A...

    I was supposed to have my son's rehearsal dinner here but the owner is non-responsive and apparently doesnt care if she gets any business. After a month or so of trying to reach her and setup the dinner she finally confirmed that Friday, May 11th at 6pm would work because it would be after her dinner rush and before the nighttime rush. Mo was to...

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  • Great Food and Service

    We went to Pamlico Jack's for my sons rehearsal dinner on May 11, 2012 after Hurrican Mo's said they could not handle a large party after confirming over a month ago it was not a problem. I was absolutely amazed at how on such short notice (3 days) they could pull together such a wonderful buffet. We had a private room with a server and bartender...

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  • Good Seafood and Bar

    Tortugas' Lie is a restaurant just across the street (NC-12) from a public beach access point. We visited in the winter when most other places were closed, and perhaps because of that, they were packed! (Although I suspect they're quite busy in peak season as well). I don't really eat seafood, but they had plenty of other stuff for me. My friends...

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Nags Head Nightlife

  • My Party Place

    If you like awesome food and great live bands this is the place to be on weekend. Kelly's is the place to go on the weekend.Whether to get your "grub" on with its array of fine cuisine or get your"party" on with its weekly mix of vibrant live music and outstand house DJ, Kelly's is always the place to be.

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  • Sunset at Nags Head

    The sunsets in Nags Head are beautiful, catch one just right and the colors are intense! Sunset from our deck looking west toward the, well the main land, The Outer Banks is really a penisula.

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  • Get a house with one of these

    When you go to find the house you want to rent make sure it has a pool table. If it's raining it give you some thing to do, or keeps the kids busy! Depending on what time of year you go you may have rain.

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Nags Head Transportation

  • Lady Jane's Taxi

    While my husband and I were visiting Nags Head, we "experienced" a tropical storm. We were out shopping and it all happened so quickly. The rain just kept coming harder and harder. We left the Christmas Mouse store at mile post 10.5 on the Bypass Rd. Our accommodations were located at mile post 13 on the Beach Rd. The road was flooded and we were...

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  • Herbert Bonner Bridge

    Just south of Nags Head proper is the Herbert Bonner Bridge, named after a congressman who served northeastern North Carolina from 1940-1965. Shortly after a congressman dies, it is customary to name a piece of infrastructure (be it a post office or a bridge) for the departed member. The Bonner bridge traverses Oregon Inlet to Hatteras Island....

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  • Drive

    Make sure you have lots of room for your stuff. And a 4 wheel drive is a good idea, some of the homes are beach access only up in Corolla NC which is on the same peninsula. Bike are great to have down here, there is alway some place to bike to with a great view.

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Nags Head Shopping

  • Good Deals in the Off Season

    Wings and Super Wings are the ubiquitous beach shops found throughout the Outer Banks. With everything from towels and bathing suits, to beach chairs and tacky OBX souvenirs, they have everything you need or may have forgotten for your beach trip. In the summer months, they can be a bit overpriced. Get those last minute beach goods at Walmart...

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  • One of Nags Head's Many Malls

    Apparently Tanger is a chain of outlet shops. Who knew? All shops in the Tanger complex are open year-round. Pfaltzgraff has dishes, glasses, and knickknacks. London Fog for coatsRack Room Shoes . The Corning/Revere Store is a kitchen supply shop. Nine West shoes and boots. The Dress Barn has sweaters (dressy, sporty, and casual dressy) for women...

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  • kitsch at the beach

    Shipwreck Museum, Inc. a local fixture on the causeway for more than 55 years. It offers driftwood, seashells, jewelry, lamps, local crafts, live hermit crabs (which my brother got two summers in a row in the '80s), and anything imaginable that has a nautical theme.

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Nags Head Local Customs

  • The locals treat you like an old...

    I met so many interesting locals while I was there. Festivities, hot tub parties, and lots of cookouts were a nightly ritual...

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  • Waves

    We love to just sit, lay, walk, run or just be on the beach with the wave crashing. could sit for hours just watching the wave crash up on the beach, and if you wait long enough you may be able to catch one wit ha camera! Catch a curl it's cool!

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  • Take a long walk

    These are some of the cleanest beaches we've seen, very few people as far as you can see, it could be due to the cost of renting a beach front home. Great for walks at night and very safe, not much crime around here.

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Nags Head Warnings and Dangers

  • Jellyfish

    THIS APPLIES ALL OVER THE OUTER BANKS OF NORTH CAROLINA:The best advice on the beach and in water is to be very observant of jellyfish. There is now a jellyfish repellant which doubles as a sunblock. However, if you get stung by a jellyfish, have some meat tenderiser in your beach bag to soothe the sting zone.

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  • Beach fishing

    THIS IS REALLY BEACH COMMON SENSE ALL OVER THE WORLD:Besides piers, you see a lot of people fishing right there on the beach. They say you would be surprised at how many fish swim that close the the shore. Those who like to walk up and down the beach early in the morning or late in the evening, mind the beach fisherman, walking around behind them...

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  • Bonfires

    BONFIRE REGULATIONS ARE DIFFERENT IN EACH TOWN, CHECK THEM OUT BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME:Unlike points north, you can build a bonfire in Nags Head. However, you need a permit and you can get one from the office of the town fire marshall. Fires will not be permitted if winds are 10 knots or more. A picture ID, the address of applicant, and the location...

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Nags Head Tourist Traps

  • by fadman_12 Written Sep 12, 2006

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In Nags Head, actually, all of OBX, there are SEVERAL Wings location. It is a store that is filled with... tourist crap. All of it breaks within a matter of days. Just stay away from there

    Unique Suggestions: If you do have to go, DON'T BUY ANYTHING!

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    • Family Travel

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Nags Head What to Pack

  • Sun block

    If you don't want to look like you were roasted on satan's own spit, don't forget to use sunscreen. In 1995, when I was old enough that you'd think I'd know better, I applied it to everywhere but my legs. They were so red I could stop traffic at night!

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  • Safe Sea

    Believe it or not, there is a sun block that is supposed to protect you from the stings of jellyfish which can ruin a beach holiday. Before you go, order or get Safe Sea because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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  • Beach sandals

    If you visit Nags Head during the peak travel season, the sand is hot during the day. To avoid doing the MALIBUGALOO (that dance folks with bare feet do on the hot sand) bring your sandals. Also, if you don't want your legs to look like they were roasted on satan's own spit, don't forget to use sunscreen on your legs.

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Nags Head Off The Beaten Path

  • DO NOT GO!

    I went to Roanoke Island Festival Park with my school group. It is very boring, and the tour guides are VERY rude and inappriopriate. One tour guide, on the Elizabeth 2, called one of the children, an 8th grader, a smart***. All the eighth grader did was ask him, "Are you a pirate?" And he went ballistic. He also slammed the teachers by yelling at...

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  • Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo

    First we saw a movie about the first few English ships that came to Roanoke Island and involved three native American's from three tribes - Manteo, Skyco and Wanchese. (Those are the three towns on the island.) The Elizabeth II was down in Wanchese having been hauled for repairs.We walked around the reconstructed village, watched the blacksmith...

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  • Bodie Lighthouse

    A lighthouse that one can visit on the Outer Banks is the 150 ft tall Bodie Island Light 4 miles north of Oregon Inlet. Hatteras is farther south, and Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla is north.Bodie Light is encircled by two black and three white bands. It is an active lighthouse which is equipped with the original first-order Fresnel lens....

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Nags Head Sports & Outdoors

  • Whalebone Tackle

    I took this picture because of the name, and also because my SIL is big on fishing. I personally do not fish. This is an official weigh station.The Fishing Insider's Guide says: "Whalebone is a full-service tackle shop offering ice, fresh bait, tackle, and rod and Penn reel repairs. As they say at the store, "All roads lead to Whalebone Tackle, the...

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  • Jennette's Pier

    Jennette's Pier is the oldest fishing pier on North Carolina's Outer Banks. Since it was built in 1939, this historic ocean landmark has weathered dozens of hurricanes and noreasters over the past six decades. The latest, Hurricane Isabel, took 540 feet (165 m.) of pier with it. However, if they haven't already rebuilt it, they seem to intend to do...

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  • 4x4s on the beach

    When I was a kid in the 1970s, you saw maybe a handful of four-wheel drive trucks on the beach. Now, they are more commonplace much to the chagrin of environmentalists (they worry about the endangered sea oat) and everyday beachgoers. From 1 October through to 30 April, a beach driving permit needed ($25) Available at the Nags Head Town offices and...

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Nags Head Favorites

  • Comfort Inn (formerly the Ramada Inn)

    The Ramada Inn (now a Comfort Inn) is a seven-storey high hotel. To this date, it is the tallest hotel in the northern Outer Banks. I stayed in the former Ramada Inn in August, 1975 and June, 1977. Last time I was there, the restaurant was on the second floor with an eye-level view of the ocean (the first floor consisted only of the lobby). There...

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  • Scallops

    Before my first trip to Nags Head in 1975, I never heard of a scallop. That's logical because I was born and raised inland. I first tried the scallop at Owen's Seafood Restaurant our second night there and fell straightaway in love with the earthy taste. I had it fried with baked potato and salad, not to mention plenty of cocktail sauce in which...

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  • Tacky, even here

    As many good Outer Banks memories as there are, some are tacky. For one example of my definition of tacky is the Sea Foam Motel. I cannot speak for the quality of this motel. My parents stayed there in the mid 1960s and had nothing but good things to say about the service and the cleanliness of the rooms. But on enlarging the photo, you will see...

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Explore Deeper into Nags Head
Just a good place to eat
Restaurants
Locals Favorite!
Restaurants
Outback on the Outer Banks
Restaurants
North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island
Off The Beaten Path
Wake up, Wake up, it's time to shoot photos.
Things to Do
Bodie Island Lighthouse & Marshes
Things to Do
Jockey Ridge State Park
Things to Do
The beaches
Things to Do
Avalon Fishing Pier & Arcade!!
Things to Do
The Finer Side of OBX Dining
Restaurants
Oy! Nothing like a good bagel
Restaurants
But the BrewThru is so easy...
Shopping
Another Alliteration
Restaurants
Along the road in Nags Head
Restaurants
Good buys for (largely) tacky rubbish
Shopping
Penalty for picking sea oats
Warnings and Dangers
Mind the flags
Warnings and Dangers
Owens Seafood Restaurant
Restaurants
Good restaurants gone, but not forgotten
Favorites
Galleon Esplanade
Favorites
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Off The Beaten Path
Outer Banks Mall
Shopping
A little cheaper alternative
Shopping
Surfside Plaza
Shopping
Kite Flying at Jockeys Ridge State Park
Things to Do
Best Beef on the outer banks
Restaurants
Rip Tides!!!
Warnings and Dangers
Something Good for Everyone! Brewski's Too!
Restaurants
Just Enjoy...
Things to Do
Beautimous Landscape!
Things to Do
Wonder Why No One is in the Water?
Things to Do
Go To The Beach While You're At The Beach!
Things to Do
A View of the Ocean from Our House
Things to Do
Nag's Head Pier
Things to Do
Go in the Spring
Things to Do
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
Off The Beaten Path
The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse
Off The Beaten Path
Elizabethan Garden on Roanoke Island
Off The Beaten Path
Wright Brothers National Memorial
Things to Do
Jockey Ridge State Park
Favorites
Map of Nags Head

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