An Outer Banks 4th of July-What to Do

4th of July in the Town of Duck. A wonderfully whacky parade.
4th of July in the Town of Duck. A wonderfully whacky parade.

With July 4th coming this Wednesday, plans have to be made about how to observe our nation’s birthday, and with so much to do on the Outer Banks it may be difficult to figure out just what is the best way to celebrate.

From the Whalehead Club in Corolla to the town of Manteo, there are festivals scheduled all day.

Our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates recommendation is to keep it close to home; the after fireworks traffic can be pretty heavy. However, for anyone feeling a bit more adventurous, by all means, venture out.

Here’s what’s happening in a somewhat chronological order.

Town of Duck

The Town of Duck’s annual 4th of July Parade is wonderfully whacky way to start the day. The parade begins at 9:00 a.m. but get there a little bit early—traffic and parking can be a problem.

After the parade, head over to the Town Green for free watermelon and the sounds of a Dixieland band.


It’s an all day event at the Whalehead Club with activities beginning at 3:00 p.m.

This is a great family event with live music, games, rides and food.

The fireworks over Currituck Sound are always among the most spectacular.

Town of Manteo

A wonderful way to spend the day. Like the Corolla celebration, everything begins at 3:00 p.m.

Live music all day and food vendors line the streets.

A real treat to go along with the fireworks that are held at Roanoke Island Festival Park—the 208th Army Band will be performing from 8:00 p.m. until the fireworks are set off.

Nags Head

Fireworks will use the Nags Head Fishing Pier for their platform. The scheduled time for the beginning of the show is 9:25 p.m.

The Nags Head police have asked people to not block intersections or driveways when parking. The police will be on hand to help direct parking.

Kill Devil Hills

Avalon Pier will be the center of firework activities this year. The scheduled time for the beginning of the show is 9:25 p.m.

And now for something completely different.

To get a little different view of the fireworks, stake out a spot on the top of Jockey’s Ridge. The firework displays of Nags Head and Manteo are visible from that vantage point—although they are a bit distant. It’s one of the very few times during the year that Jockey’s Ridge State Park authorities allow visitors past sunset.

A Fantastic Independence Day Week on the Outer Banks

Fireworks at Kill Devil Hills, Friday July 7, 2017.
Fireworks at Kill Devil Hills, Friday July 7, 2017.

What a great Independence Day week we just had here on the Outer Banks–parades, fireworks and small town feel made it ideal. Everything just seemed to fall into place to create a memorable time.

July 4th, the official holiday, sure was fun. Yes, there were some weather issues—the Whalehead Club had to cancel their fireworks because of storms—but there were enough celebrations elsewhere to make up for that.

The Celebrations

We always start at the town of Duck’s Independence Day parade because it is such a perfect reminder of what Outer Banks life is all about. Then it was off to Manteo with its small town feel and a wonderful evening of music from the 208th Army Band at Roanoke Island Festival Park.

Yes, it was raining just a bit, but it never rained hard at all and the umbrellas were out. Off in the distance we could see the Nags Head fireworks going off, and then it was Manteo’s turn, and the town truly seemed to outdo themselves this year.

Extending Independence Day Celebrations

What really seemed to mark the 2017 celebrations as different was a classic example of making lemons from lemonade.

It seems licensed fireworks companies were in short supply this year, and the town of Kill Devil Hills couldn’t find anyone who could qualify to put on a show on the Fourth. They were able, though, to schedule their display on Friday.

A bit of a delay but it seemed to change the feel for the week. Somewhat like stretching Christmas out to three or four days.

The beach was packed on both sides of Avalon Pier where the fireworks were lit, and no matter what the location on the beach, the show was spectacular.

It was a nice way to celebrate our nation’s birth and a great way to remember there is far more that binds us as Americans than it may appear at times.

Outer Banks Independence Day Celebrations

4th of July, 2016. Fireworks over the Atlantic Ocean.
4th of July, 2016. Fireworks over the Atlantic Ocean.

It looks as though the annual Independence Day celebrations on the Outer Banks are going to be extended a bit this year. According to reports in local media, Kill Devil Hills had to move their fireworks celebration to Friday evening because of a shortage of fireworks.

Regardless, that’s not a completely bad situation since it gives everyone a chance to see the night sky painted with fireworks.

We always recommend starting at the Duck Independence Day Parade. Beginning at 9:00 a.m., the parade is the first event of the day, and it is a great way to get in the mood for a day of fun and celebration. A whacky tribute to the American spirit, its worth the effort getting there. Parking can be a bit of an issue so get there early or expect to walk.

We haven’t heard of anything special being planned for the Whalehead Club but this is their 25th Anniversary of Fireworks. It’s always a daylong event at Currituck Heritage Park, the location of the Whalehead Club, and a day that’s wonderfully geared toward families.

Ditto on that for Manteo which is another of those quintessentially American celebrations of Independence. The Army Band will be on hand at Roanoke Island Festival Park to provide live music. And that will be followed by fireworks.

Nags Head will be holding their fireworks at 9:25 and that may be the place to be. There is something magical about sitting on a beach towel, on a summer’s night at the edge of a continent of freedom. As the night sky is lit with exploding colors it’s a reminder of how precious our freedoms are.

Independence Day Schedule of Events

(Events arranged by time)

9:00 a.m.

Duck Parade
Scarborough Lane to Pamela Court
Live music by Just Playn’ Dixieland and awards ceremony, Duck Town Park, after parade

25th Annual Independence Day Celebration

Festival of Fireworks, Whalehead Club

Historic Corolla Park

3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Independence Day celebration, Manteo

208th Army Band concert, Roanoke Island Festival Park, 8 p.m.

Fireworks, downtown waterfront


Nags Head Fireworks, Nags Head Pier

All Day: Statewide
Free fishing on any body of water in North Carolina, no license required.

Friday, July 7

Kill Devil Hills
Fireworks, Avalon Pier, 9:15 p.m.

(All Fireworks begin between 9:15 and 9:30)