For many, the thought of a vacation to North Carolina’s Outer Banks sounds relaxing and fun-filled. The Outer Banks is a compelling destination for camping families looking for a cost-effective experience in a vibrant, family-friendly atmosphere.
The OBX offers something for everyone. Whether vacationers spend the week sitting on the beach or exploring the region, even sand-reluctant vacationers may discover a whole host of memories while camping in the Outer Banks.
Scattered along the 130-mile stretch of barrier islands, the Outer Banks features several public and private campgrounds.
The National Park Service, with its three main Outer Banks campground locations, offers the most affordable nightly camping rates. All of the locations are primitive, which means no electric, water, or sewer hook-ups. The campgrounds can accommodate tents, travel trailers, or motorhomes, and do provide modern restrooms, though showers are unheated. Private sites in the region are generally less primitive, and offer additional amenities like swimming pools, playgrounds, game rooms, tennis courts, dog parks, cable, and Wi-Fi.
The four private campgrounds along the Northern Beaches – which includes Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head – provide a host of shopping, dining and sightseeing experiences.
The National Park Service has reservable campsites at Oregon Inlet, which is not far from the historic Bodie Island Lighthouse in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. From base camp, it is a short walk to the path where the Wright brothers’ historic first flights took place. Kitty Hawk Kites offers a great variety of unique, new kites to fly from atop Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the largest natural living sand dune on the East Coast.
For shoppers, the Outlets Nags Head, local boutiques, and artsy shops are located along the main drag. At Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, novice or experienced anglers can cast a line off the 1,000-foot public fishing pier.
Like the rest of the region, Roanoke Island is rich with history and natural beauty and offers a variety of touring possibilities. At the North Carolina Aquarium, families can explore coastal Carolina’s aquatic environments and sign up for a special tour of the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center. A visit to Roanoke Island Festival Park transports vacationers back to 1585 through hands-on exhibits highlighting the region’s early history. Other possibilities include a visit to the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, walking the Elizabethan Gardens, attending “The Lost Colony” outdoor drama, or learning more about the area’s wildlife at the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center.
Selecting a campground in the central to the southern half of the Outer Banks, which encompasses Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras, provides a slower pace and campgrounds away from the hustle and bustle.
In Rodanthe, fourteen private campgrounds are centrally located about 30 minutes away from the northern and southern regions of the Outer Banks, on both the beach and the sound side of Hatteras Island.
The National Park Service has reservable campsites at the Frisco Campground, and sites at the Cape Point Campground are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Whether you are fishing, sightseeing, exploring, hiking or just enjoy the rhythms of the sea, there are itineraries designed to help take the guesswork out of your visit.
Ready to get away? Plan your next perfect family vacation today.