In many respects, the fall season is the best time to visit the Outer Banks. The weather is spectacular, ocean temperatures are perfect and there are still enough visitors here to keep businesses open. Autumn has become its own second season for vacationers. This shoulder season means no heavy traffic, long lines or half hour waits. With shows and events lined up, September through November is the time to return and enjoy amazing Outer Banks weekends and week-long events. This is a chronological list, having nothing to do with personal favorites. The hard choice is picking and choosing from so many great selections.
The ESA Eastern Surfing Championships (September 15-21st): Held at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, this event quickly gets things rolling. Even if you don’t surf, it’s one of the premier surfing events of the year on the East Coast and an exciting show.
Not a major event, but something worth checking out, is the Dare County Arts Council’s Artrageous (September 28th) Held at Rec Park in Kill Devil Hills. It’s a great day filled with art, games and crafts geared toward kids.
October is all about music, and things kick off with the 2nd Annual Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival (October 4-6th) at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo. Cory Hemilright, the promoter, has raved about this year’s event and venue since last year. He’s also grown the festival by a day (Thursday) and added fireworks on Friday evening.
Following Columbus Day weekend, there are two upcoming shows with no schedule overlap, which is another way of saying, “Long weekend, great music, hope you can make it!” Friday and Saturday kicks things off with the 3rd Annual Mustang Music Festival (October 11-12th) in Corolla. Mike Dianna hosts this event, and he’s got a great feel for local music and some great national acts. Mike sets up one stage on the front porch of his restaurant, Mike Dianna’s Grill Room, and another in a tent… providing non-stop music!
That event runs Friday and Saturday, which means… there’s no excuse for missing the 7th Annual Duck Jazz Festival (Sunday, October 13th) at the Duck Town Park. In many ways, this was the music festival that made everyone aware of how successful Outer Banks events can be. The setting on the town green is beautiful, the music has never disappointed, and it’s free.
Other reasons to visit the Outer Banks over the Columbus Day weekend include the 21st Annual Parade of Homes (October 10-13th). Sponsored by the Outer Banks Home Builders Association, this is one of the oldest, continuous events and does an amazing job of highlighting the craftsmanship, trend-setting amenities and artistic décor designed and built by local designers and contractors. The Outer Banks Seafood Festival (October 18-19th) is held in Nags Head, and is scheduled a week earlier than last year, and the organizers have added an extra day. The 2012 event was an exceptional day, and the only complaint was 3-4 times more people showed up than the 2,000 attendees expected. Still, a great time with a wonderful selection of food and music, and this year’s event looks even better.
Finally, the Gateway Bank Outer Banks Marathon (November 9-11th) is scheduled for Veteran’s Day Weekend. A marathon, half marathon, 5K and a fun run… something for everyone. The Marathon starts on the Woods Road in Kitty Hawk and winds through some of the most beautiful parts of the Outer Banks.
There’s so much to do for those who like to keep busy. But, if you’re just looking for a place to visit for pure relaxation, we’re perfect for that too!