Whether you’re looking for beautiful beaches, adventure or just a quick getaway, Learn How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Nags Head, NC.
The Outer Banks, or OBX for short, is a 130-mile long stretch of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. These barrier islands are made up of many quaint seaside towns, fishing villages, beautiful beaches and plenty of family friendly activities all year long. The summer months are their peak season but off-peak is just as magical a time to visit. The island is full of beautiful places to stay like the town of Nags Head Nags Head, NC is full of activities for beach loving vacationers to fishing fanatics. Here are some places to make the best of your visit and spend the perfect weekend in Nags Head, NC.
ROOM WITH A VIEW
While there is no shortage of places to stay, for our first trip in town we went with a hotel versus a rental home. Our home away from home this trip was the beautiful Holiday Inn Express Nags Head Oceanfront. Located right on the beach, the beach front views and amenities like free breakfast made it the perfect choice for my family. You can read more about our stay here.
THINGS TO DO
OBX is known for their beaches and making sure we spent plenty of time exploring them was my top priority.
We collected some amazing shells during our morning beach walks and throughout all our trip. OBX Beaches have a some gorgeous seashells and our beach in Nags Head, NC had plenty for the kids to pick from. Both the kids came home with their shell collecting bag filled.
We went on a ghost crab hunt on the beach at the hotel. At night these crabs burrow out of the sand and run around the beach. We used flashlights and walked along the beach trying to see who could find the most.
Other days, we just relaxed on the beach, splashed in the water and built sandcastles.
Fishing is a hobby my entire family enjoys, even my toddler. So I try to make sure we incorporate a variety of fishing adventures into all of our trips. Jeannette’s Pier is the perfect spot for first timers and experienced anglers to try their hand at a little fishing. This 1,000 foot pier, located right in Nags Head, NC, offers some of the best fishing in the area. We ended up buying a 3 day pass so we could spent plenty of time at the pier to see what we could catch.
Our first visit we took a family fishing class, which was definitely great for beginners. Our instructor helped get us set up on the pier with poles and bait and even gave us some tips and tricks for catching at the pier. If you’re not comfortable fishing or don’t want to bring your own gear along with you, I highly recommend this class.
We actually caught 8 skates! If you’re not familiar with skates, they’re part of the ray family.
They were sure plentiful on our visit with both the kids catching a couple each.
At night, we saw two huge stingrays get caught (and let go) and my husband had two big bites that gave him a good fight before popping his line. He’s pretty sure they were stingrays as well.
We also saw plenty of cobia and mackerel caught as well as a pufferfish.
There is no shortage of beautiful beaches in Nags Head, NC so of course we had to try our hand at some surf fishing. While we didn’t catch anything, we still had plenty of fun and already can’t wait to go back and try again.
Bodie Island Lighthouse
There are 5 lighthouses throughout OBX and the Bodie Island Lighthouse is located closest to Nags Head, where we were staying. Built in 1872, the Bodie Island Lighthouse is currently in it’s 3rd location and it is a beautiful site to walk around and explore. The short drive over was well worth the visit.
Wright Brothers National Memorial
On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright achieved the first successful airplane flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina . While Visiting Nags Head, NC you can also visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial.
Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
This wilflife refuge is another fun thing to do with the family and while you can pay for a tour through one of the local places, I found it better to just drive it ourselves.
We tried both the ride is pretty simple and straightforward (you’re not being taken on any secret trails or anything with the tours) so after our interesting night with the tour guide, we attempted to go back on our own and had a much better time.
We saw a few bears and even a baby bear cub that ran across the road in front of us. There’s a lot of flies (some of the biggest flies I’ve ever seen in my life in here) so I don’t recommend getting out to walk around. It’s more of a scenic drive.
If you get the urge to do a little shopping, you’ll be happy to hear the Tanger Outlets in Nags Head are located right in the center of town.
While this isn’t specifically in Nags Head, it’s in the town of Corolla, it was only a short 30 minute ride away and it’s where the wild horses are located. Since I was really hoping to see the horses, I knew we had to take a ride down. I was so glad that I did.
Not only did we see the horses once but we saw them twice. They were such a majestic site to see and was one of the highlights of our trips.
The origins of the Wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs date back to almost 500 years ago, making them some of the earliest residents, second only to the local Native American tribes. Historical journals, documents and ship’s logs make mention to the wild horses’ origin, it’s hard to determine one specific set of events that led to their presence on the Outer Banks. But they’re still here and they roam up and down the beaches of Corolla.
There are two ways to see the horses on the beach, you’ll need a 4WD vehicle or you’ll have to book one of the local horse tours. Since we had the GMC Yukon Denali with us, were were able to drive right on the beach. If you do drive, take precautions because the horses could dart out at any minute.
Depending on where you’re staying you may have access to a full kitchen to cook. If you’re like me and want no parts of cooking on your vacation, you’ll love that the Holiday Inn Express Nags Head Oceanfront has a free breakfast for guests daily. When it comes to the rest of your meals, there are plenty of great places all throughout the island.
We ate at a few pizza places because, if I’m being honest, pizza is the way to my heart.
If you’re in the mood for something a little more than pizza, you have to check out Tortuga’s Lie. The food was delicious and the spot was even featured on Diners Drive-Ins & Dives with Guy Fieri.
I can’t forget about dessert. Our favorite spot for ice cream and treats was Booty Treats. While my husband and kids all went with the ice cream, which was delicious, I opted for the shave ice and it was so yummy! There were so many flavors you could go here a few times and always have something new.
Nags Head, NC definitely earned a spot on my must travel list and while it’s great for families, it definitely is a great spot for vacationing without kids too. We’ll definitely be back and next time for longer.