The Outer Banks “Best Of” List
The Outer Banks Best of…
Recently US News and World Report rated the Outer Banks as the number one family vacation location in the United States. No surprise to residents and visitors to the area—it is what we specialize in, but it is nice to be recognized!
That #1 rating was not the first time the Outer Banks has ranked first among our peers or very high up there. As an example, Dr. Beach has consistently rated local beaches among his top 10, and our towns and villages are always being cited as wonderful places to visit.
We got to thinking about that, and realized we haven’t seen too much in the way of a local’s “best of” list. So…throwing caution to the wind, here you have it!
Almost any pier is a good spot for surfing, usually, but not always, on the south side. Piers tend to create sandbars, which is an important part of creating a nice even break. There is almost always something worth surfing at Jennette’s Pier.
Also, the Rodanthe Pier to the S Curves on the north end of Rodanthe. At some point a new inlet is going to form at the S Curves, but it hasn’t yet and the underwater geology is perfect for wave formation.
This is fishing from the shore only, not heading out to the Gulf Stream or spending a couple of hours on the sound.
The piers especially usually have something running, so check them out. Jennette’s Pier goes farthest into the ocean, but all of the piers tend to do well, and there is great advice to be had in the fishing shops.
Two places that are often overlooked:
The ramp at Roanoke Island south side of Washington Baum Bridge. There is a pier at the end of the ramp. Spot and striper will often congregate there.
The south side of Oregon Inlet is also overlooked. The north side is where all the hardcore fishermen head, but the south side has a parking area, easy access and there’s a shallow lagoon that is sheltered and offers kids a great opportunity to try their hand at fishing.
For good reason the Whalehead Club tops this list. The setting itself is beautiful; the views across Currituck Sound varies depending on where you are on the grounds, but no matter where that is, it’s stunning. Adding to the atmospherics, the colors of the Whalehead Club are perfect for creating different hues and shades as the sun sets.
However, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention at least a couple of other places.
The Duck Boardwalk offers unobstructed vistas across Currituck Sound, and there are a number of places on the boardwalk to stop for a bite to eat or a drink.
A bit of an effort to get there but worth it, Jockey’s Ridge is the highest natural point on the Outer Banks and yes, that does make for some pretty amazing sunsets.
It’s got to be Manteo because it’s the only true downtown on the Outer Banks. Just because it’s the only one doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful. It is an absolute gem with sidewalk cafes, galleries and boutique shops.
However, honorable mention in this case, and a very honorable mention indeed, has to go to the town of Duck. The boardwalk ties everything together along the waterfront, and there are multi-use paths on both sides of NC12 connecting shops and restaurants…all within easy walking distance.
Best place for Outdoor Music
This was a tough one, but the winner is the Duck Town Green. The slightly raised grassy field forms an amphitheater that helps to create a natural cone of sound. It’s no wonder the Duck Jazz Festival is so popular.
That being said, Roanoke Island Festival Park is almost as good. The stage, framed by Shallow Bag Bay and the Roanoke Sound is exquisite. The Duck Town Green is a bit more intimate, but both are very nice.