One Reason You Don’t Have to Leave the Carolinas to Surf


Photo credit: Bryan Elkus

Photo credit: Bryan Elkus

The Outer Banks. It’s the hidden gem of the East Coast surfing community. The 200-mile-long stretch of carefully linked barrier islands is a paradise for surfers, beach-combers, kiteboarders and just about all water-loving enthusiasts.

After all, the Outer Banks (known by all who have been there as the “OBX”) are surrounded on both sides by water — the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Currituck, Albermarle and Pamlico Sounds on the other. And while the Atlantic Ocean isn’t particularly known for its consistent and high-quality surf, the Outer Banks’ unique position floating out to sea and conveniently shaped like a half-moon, allows it to pick up Atlantic swells from the North, East and South.

Photo credit: Zach Frailey

Photo credit: Zach Frailey

The rounded shape of the bridge-linked islands that make up the Outer Banks also makes it ideal for surfing in practically any wind condition. If the wind’s howling from the northeast and Nag’s Head and Rodanthe are completely wind-blown, the Hatteras Lighthouse and Frisco will have that same howling wind, but it’ll be blowing offshore.

And with so many unique towns making up the Outer Banks — Nag’s Head, Rodanthe, Avon and Buxton to name a few — you don’t have to surf with anyone else, unless you want to. When certain piers and somewhat famous Outer Banks breaks are jam-packed (with roughly 20 people in the water at most), the waves continue breaking for miles down the coast leaving plenty of room for surfers to stretch out and snag waves that would otherwise go unridden.

Photo credit: ukespresso

Photo credit: ukespresso

Not only is the Outer Banks an East Coast surfing goldmine — where fun waves can be ridden multiple times per week, rather than multiple times per year — it’s an affordable, relaxing and adventurous (if you want it to be) place to vacation. Nearly 20 campgrounds dot the span of the Outer Banks for more minimalistic travelers (some are located right on the sand), but reasonably-priced hotels and vacation rentals are plentiful as well.

And with each town showcasing its own personality — from nightlife, shopping, and high-end dining in Nag’s Head to oyster roasts, fish fries and building sand castles in Rodanthe — you can head back to the Outer Banks year after year experience new sights, sounds and waves every time.

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