The Four Seasons of the Outer Banks
Being a part of the Outer Banks community creates a unique perspective on life. In most regions a change in seasons bring an obvious change in lifestyle. But since we reside in a popular resort community with tourism as our main industry, when visitors go home it seems everything in our lives change in distinct ways.
The Outer Banks is a series small towns linked together by a thin ribbon of road and common purpose. For those who genuinely appreciate small town life, winter is a great time of year to be on the Outer Banks.
The Christmas season is a highlight as Santa makes multiple stops to greet children, and there are a number of traditional tree lightings. Two favorites are the crab pot tree in Duck and the Christmas tree lighting in Manteo. Both exhibit ceremonies rich in tradition and offer a wonderful family experience to celebrate the holiday season.
January and February are the heart of our winter months and many small businesses close down and use this time for vacations. The social aspects of lives typically revolve around reconnecting with friends, school and school activities.
The weather can be unpredictable with bad weather consisting of nor’easter storm systems that bring cold, damp winds, and in recent years we’ve had unusually high snowfall amounts. It’s in the winter months that we experience the highest call volume to reserve homes for summer vacations.
Outer Banks spring weather tends to start cool, almost cold, and then it exploded into a world of colorful blooms and the welcoming scent of spring. Temperatures are moderate, but it is rare for the days to be hot. The coastal winds during the spring months make it a popular time for kiteboarding, windsurfing and hang gliding enthusiasts. With water temperatures ranging between 55 and 65 degrees, water sports require a protective wet suit.
Easter week marks the kick off of our season. Most businesses are open, inventoried and restocking for the upcoming summer season. Weekend events and festivals start in May, and April and May are two of the most popular months for Outer Banks weddings. For those considering a beach destination ceremony, plan a year in advance due to the increasing popularity of scheduling weddings during the spring and fall months.
Summer on the Outer Bank is like no other place else on earth. Warm sunshine, soft sand, ideal ocean temperatures and family-friendly events and activities spread over 120 miles of pristine shoreline. There is honestly so much to do on the Outer Banks that a week or two is not nearly enough time. The best advice is to pick a handful of interesting activities, enjoy and repeat with new options the following year.
Although the Atlantic Ocean is the big draw, don’t forget about our tranquil sound waters. Many businesses specialize in water sport recreation that are family friendly and educational.
Our climate is humid, summer temperatures are hot and our daytime temperatures can soar. Coastal breezes are a refreshing reprieve, yet it’s best to pack accordingly, dress in light cotton fabrics and always protect your feet when walking on dry sand.
Those who live on the Outer Banks find abundant reasons to be enamored with all seasons, but if you ask about a favorite season, the answer is almost always fall. Temperatures moderate in September and October, but sea temperatures remain in the refreshing mid-70s range. There are enough visitors in our area for businesses to remain open, but the summer crowds are a distance memory.
In recent years, fall has become a season of festivals on the Outer Banks. Look for events available every weekend in September, October and into early November, and some weeks have multiple events. Surfing is legendary during this season; Atlantic storms pushing north are most often carried out to sea bringing spectacular waves with them. Fall fishing often starts a bit slow but by the time November rolls around, the odds of landing a few sizeable fish are stacked in your favor.
Two competitions bracket the season. The annual Eastern Surf Association is held at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head the second week in September, and the Outer Banks Marathon is a weekend long event scheduled the second weekend in November and filled with lots of activities for all age groups.