The Outer Banks in the Shoulder Season – A Great Time to Visit

August 10, 2012

Families tend to vacation in the summer and winter when schools have closed for lengthy holidays. It makes sense, therefore, that many popular destinations enjoy heavy tourist traffic, but for you that may prove more of a headache than a benefit. If you have young children not yet in school, or are an empty nester seeking some time away from work and home, you may consider taking advantage of the shoulder season. For visitors interested in the Outer Banks, the shoulder season may not always come to mind because of different factors. In truth, this is a great time to stay.

What is the shoulder season? This is typically known as the time of year for a destination that serves as the gap between the peak and off-peak seasons. In the Outer Banks, for example, tourism surges greatly in the summer (usually from Memorial Day through Labor Day) and experiences a milder boost in the winter. This means the spring and fall months serve as the shoulder season – tourist activity slows and offers people an ideal time to come for a quiet weekend or longer.

Why come during the shoulder season? You may assume once the crowds leave after Labor Day that the area shuts down until next May. Actually, many businesses in Dare and Currituck County remain open year round, and many seasonal activities like fall harvests, Easter and Halloween celebrations, and food festivals are scheduled for locals and visitors to enjoy. Just some of the advantages to vacationing in the shoulder season include:

1) Cheaper Rates! If you’re thinking about renting a beach house in Corolla on the shore, you could pay half the weekly rate in the fall as compared to the summer. With tourism slowed in this time, beach rental agents will often tempt off-season travelers with lower rates. If you have a week to spare, you can find a beautiful home for about $1,000 a week or even lower!

2) Pleasant Temperatures. You may not be able to get in the ocean every day, but the Outer Banks area typically enjoys favorable weather in the shoulder season. If you want to walk on the beach or relax in a chair and watch the waves, you can do so in relative comfort.

3) There’s Always Something to Do. The wild horses that roam the Currituck shore don’t stop after summer. With fewer people around, you may have an easier time spotting these beautiful creatures. If you enjoy fishing and duck hunting, too, you may enjoy these activities as well.

The shoulder season in the Outer Banks rubs against the busier times of the year for the Carolina coast. If you have the time to spare and want more of the beach to yourself, this is a great time to plan a getaway.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance travel writer who writes about the Outer Banks and Outer Banks vacations.