The Northern Outer Banks in the Fall

People often look at us funny when we talk about driving down to the Outer Banks, specifically the northern part in Corolla, for a weekend or longer in the fall. Why would we do anything like that, they wonder, for an autumn. Honestly, I don’t find it strange at all. People often go south for the winter. I would know – I’m a native Floridian and have experienced the influx of visitors in the colder months.

True, friends reason, but at least in Florida there’s something to do year round. I say, same with the Outer Banks. Whether you’re headed for Kitty Hawk or Currituck, a trip to the North Carolina coast is a great way to spend free time in the fall.

Still not convinced? Let’s go through some of the gripes I’ve heard from friends who question our choice of destination.

1) Everything’s Closed After Summer
This isn’t the case. Yeah, some parts of the Outer Banks are geared toward visitors, and summer is the peak season. So it makes sense for some businesses to close after Labor Day when traffic is slow. Slow, though, doesn’t mean stopped. You can still find something to eat, and Currituck landmarks like the lighthouse and Whalehead Club operate year round for tours. The horses don’t leave town, either, so there are opportunities to see them when the crowds have gone.

2) There’s Nothing To Do
Really? Well, consider this – it’s your vacation, what do you want to do? We work all the time at home, so when we’re away we want to veg. We can sit and watch the waves, stroll around Currituck Heritage Park, explore the wildlife, and even charter a fishing boat. Bring a bicycle and pedal all the way down to Kitty Hawk and back if you like. Make things happen.

3) It’s Expensive
I’ve heard people say the Outer Banks is only for rich tourists. The beach rentals look impressive and fancy, but in the off season the price drops. Get a few friends together and you can cut the cost of a week’s stay significantly. If a beach house is not your speed, there are a few hotels in Corolla, Duck and further south to choose from. Be sure to call ahead for reservations.

I enjoy fall in the Outer Banks. I may not be able to swim in the ocean, but it’s nice to take a chair out on Carova Beach and sit, maybe see a horse trotting past. I enjoy the farmer’s markets on the mainland, and the different fall festivals that happen. It’s a great place to space some free time if you get a break. Why not see for yourself?

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Outer Banks vacations and Currituck Outer Banks vacations.

Kathryn Lively