Perfect Weather Creates Perfect Opportunity to Explore Outer Banks

Sunny weather and a beautiful sunset over Kitty Hawk Bay.

Sunny weather and a beautiful sunset over Kitty Hawk Bay.

It looks as though the weather gods are going be blessing the Outer Banks with some beautiful sunny days and mild temperatures for the next week. This is certainly the time to get out and enjoy some beautiful fall days.

There is so much to do, that we can’t list everything, but here are some suggestions.

Hop in a kayak

The biggest complaint about kayaking on the sound, or any open water, is the wind. All the forecasts that we have seen for the next few days call for light winds, making for idea conditions to paddle around the sounds.

Take a Hike

We know that hiking on the Outer Banks may not be the first thought when coming for a visit, but there is much more to the area than many people realize. There are four maritime forests preserves on the Outer Banks—Currituck Estuarine Reserve, Kitty Hawk Woods, Nags Head Woods and Buxton Woods. All of them offer a very different side of the area that is worth knowing. Or head over to Alligator River on the mainland for a very different experience.

Climb a Lighthouse

Best bet in this case would be the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla. No reservations are needed to climb it, but check in with the National Park Service on the status of Cape Hatteras Light and Bodie Island Light as well. The view from the top is always spectacular, but when there is not a cloud in the sky, the view goes to a whole new level.

Take a few minutes to check out the Sunset

Relax…breathe deeply and take 10 minutes to do nothing but watch the sunset over anyone of our sounds. It will be 10 minutes very well spent.

Take a Walk on the Beach

It sounds cliched, but there is nothing quite like walking on the beach on a perfect autumn day. It’s something the is good for all the senses and is particularly good for the soul. Just about any beach will do. And make it a long walk.

Anytime of the year is a great time to visit the Outer Banks. Check out our listings at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.

Outer Banks Event Calendar Filled for Mother’s Day Weekend

Kids painting the wall at Dowdy Park at Artrageous 2017.
Kids painting the wall at Dowdy Park at Artrageous 2017.

Things are heating up on the Outer Banks and it’s not just the weather, although that’s getting warmer as well. The event calendar is getting so full that we can’t even get to everything there is to do—but we can at least give a good sense of upcoming events.

There’s plenty to do this weekend, with the Kentucky Derby Party at Elizabethan Gardens and the Eastern Surf Association regionals at Jennette’s Pier.

But for for visitors on the Outer Banks, those events are already scheduled, so we thought we would look ahead a bit to next weekend—Mother’s Day Weekend, because there is a bunch of ways to help mom celebrate.

For visitors—or residents—with little kids, there are two fantastic events lined up perfectly for the weekend.

On Friday, May 11, it’s KidsFest at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo and on Saturday May 12 the Dare County Arts Council brings Artrageous, their annual celebration of children and the arts, to Dowdy Park in Nags Head.

KidsFest is sponsored by Children and youth Partnership of Dare County and the event is very much designed for younger kids. Artrageous will appeal to kids of just about every age group and there is something for everyone to do.

Tickets are required for some of events.

One of the nicest races anywhere is the Nags HeadWoods 5K on Saturday.. Now celebrating its 35th anniversary, the course is competely on a dirt road with a beautiful canopy created by old growth trees shading the route. There’s a little bit of up and down to the course, but not too much.

Dog lovers—Woofstock brings a weekend of fun and funny competitions to the the Nags Head Event Site on Roanoke Sound.

And…do not forget about Annual Pirate Putt-Putt for Polio Fundraiser Tournament at Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf Course in Kill Devil Hills. That’s a lot of fun for a very good cause.

Still looking for accommodations for the upcoming weekend? Check out Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates for great selection and quality homes.

Outer Banks Events May 11-13


Roanoke Island Festival Park, Manteo

Friday, May 11


This annual event is a FREE and fun-filled day where children, ages five and under, can enjoy face painting, bubbles, ice cream and snowballs, arts and crafts, music, large vehicles, and much more! 

WOOFstock 2018 – featuring Outer Banks Spring Splash

The Outer Banks Soundside Event Site

May 11-13

Phone: (252) 473-3234

Head over to The Soundside for two pooch-friendly events. Woofstock moves to the beach this year and is joined by the “Outer Banks Spring Splash,” featuring Dock Dogs and a 25,000-gallon competition pool.

35th Annual Nags Head Woods 5K Run

Nags Head Woods, Kill Devil Hills

May 12

Double starts at 7AM & main race at 8am.

It is an out-and-back course that covers rolling terrain on a hard-packed trail. The Nags Head Woods 5K Run is the longest running charity race on the Outer Banks hosted annually by the North Banks Rotary Club.

Annual Pirate Putt-Putt for Polio Fundraiser Tournament

Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf, Kill Devil Hills

May 12

(252) 489-9198

Time: 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Pirate Putt Putt for Polio is an annual miniature golf tournament and fund raiser for Rotary International’s End Polio Now – worldwide polio eradication initiative.. The price is $10 per person, which includes a round of miniature golf.

Artrageous Kids Art Festival

Dowdy Park, Nags Head

Nags Head, NC 27959

May 12

10:00 AM-8:00 PM

Artrageous is organized and staffed by volunteer artists, musicians, crafters, dancers, writers, photographers and other creative people who dedicate their time and energy to the event each year.   Proceeds from Artrageous benefit DCAC cultural arts programming and the Artrageous Youth Scholarship Fund, which awards one scholarship to a senior at each Dare County High School. 

OBX Marathon-Outer Banks Community at Its Best

Katherine Price, winner of the 12th Annual Outer Banks Marathon leading all women as she passes Jockey's Ridge.
Katherine Price, winner of the 12th Annual Outer Banks Marathon leading all women as she passes Jockey’s Ridge.

We just had our 12th Annual Outer Banks Marathon Weekend and it was a great one. Good participation with runners coming from all over the United State, fantastic running weather on Sunday for the marathon and half marathon and most importantly, it looks as though everyone had a great time.

Community Participation Sets OBX Marathon Apart

Something that really seems to set the Outer Banks Marathon apart from other races is the community participation—how local groups come together to support the race.

Every few miles there is a watering station, or maybe a Gatorade station—both are served—and everyone of them is staffed with volunteers.

The Outer Banks Marathon itself began as a funding initiative for the Dare Education Foundation, and it continues to fund the DEF today, although funds are now split between the DEF and the Outer Banks Relief Foundation.

One of the nicer features of the weekend—because it really is a weekend event—is how much focus is placed on families.

Saturday is given over to shorter races, a fun run and a diaper dash. Admittedly the wether did not cooperates too well on Saturday this year. Although it did not rain, it was cold and windy. The 5k and 8k races were fine, but with temperatures struggling to get out of the 40s, overcast skies and a brisk wind from the northeast, it wasn’t a good day for a diaper dash.

Sunday was a different story with near perfect conditions for a long distance race.

A number of national publications have commented on how picturesque the marathon course is, beginning in Kitty Hawk Woods and even taking a jaunt along a dirt road beneath the dense maritime forest canopy of Nags Head Woods.

The finish line on the Manteo waterfront adds to the charm of the race.

We had pretty good participation from local runners this year, with Dillon Pope from Kill Devil Hills the top local runner finishing 13th overall with a time of 3:02.

Top finishers were Blair Teal from Charlotte, NC with a winning time of 2:22:30., and Katherine Price from Beaufort who finished three seconds in front of Dillon.

The Magic of the Season-Outer Banks Christmas Lights

Santa and his reindeer at the Poulos House.
Santa and his reindeer at the Poulos House.

Christmas lights are part of the magic of the season. If that is the case—and it seems to be—then the Poulos house in Kill Devil Hills is a spellbinding place.

For 10 months of the year, the house on Ocean Acres Drive, which is the road to Nags Head Woods is nice home by the side of the road. There’s perhaps two acres to the property.

But Thanksgiving week through the New Year, everything changes.

For 37 years, the Poulos family has been creating magic, filling their yard with every imaginable Christmas light, holiday decorations, trains and symbols of religion.

The decorations have been recognized nationally, but this is really a wonderful local tradition—a time for families, or a date night or a place where local kids can go and just be kids.

Visiting the property and wandering about does not take all that long. Maybe a half hour or 45 minutes; but it’s a perfect investment in creating the spirit of the holidays.

Little children run around, their excitement palatable; high school kids seem to gravitate to the lights; families stroll by. And all of it lit by the twinkling Christmas lights, illuminated Santas and reindeer and Christmas elves.

It is an inclusive celebration of the holidays. The Poulos family has placed Chanukah Menorah where most people begin their journey. At the base of the menorah is word “Shalom”—peace in Hebrew.

On the roof of the house lights flash reading “Put Christ Back in Christmas.” One of the first decorations encountered is Noah’s Ark with animals entering.

A string of lights arcs over the road giving the feeling of entering a special place—which it is.

The family does not charge for the display or wandering through their yard. However, their power bills for the month are rumored to be in the thousands. There is a donation jar and donations are appreciated.

To get to the Poulos house is on Ocean Acres Drive in Kill Devil Hills. Turn at the light at Pigman’s Barbecue. The house is just over the rise in a hill when the street turns into a dirt road. On busy nights expect to park a hundred yards or so from the house.

Outer Banks Autumn Foliage

Autumn foliage reflected on a pond in Nags Head Woods.
Autumn foliage reflected on a pond in Nags Head Woods.

Autumn has come to the Outer Banks and even though the climate is not as extreme as the mountains, the fall foliage is still beautiful. Step away from the beach and there is a whole world of color waiting to be explored in the maritime forests of the Outer Banks.

Here are three easy paths to explore. Two are in Kitty Hawk, the other just a little south on the Kill Devil Hills/Nags Head town line.

Kitty Hawk Woods
Along a hiking trail in Kitty Hawk Woods.
Along a hiking trail in Kitty Hawk Woods.

Kitty Hawk Woods is almost 2000 acres of dense forest that is part of the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine System. Lying in the heart of Kitty Hawk, relict sand dunes create rolling hills that descend to verdant marsh and swamp. The Woods Road, aptly named since it bisects the maritime forest, has a marvelous multi-use path that parallels the road beginning at US158.

The paved path is a great introduction to the beauty of the reserve, but there are also some wonderful hiking paths along the sound. Stop by the office at 4352 The Woods Road, Kitty Hawk, or check out the trail map online.

Sandy Run Park
Seen along the path at Sandy Run Park.
Seen along the path at Sandy Run Park.

A perfect place in Kitty Hawk to take the whole family, Sandy Run Park is an absolute gem of a little park. A half-mile boardwalk and very well marked dirt path loop around a small pond and wetlands.

Part of the Town of Kitty Hawk’s Park and Rec, the park includes catch and release fishing sites and a kayak put in. On a mild autumn day, there may not be a better place on the Outer Banks to introduce kids to the beauty of the natural world.

Nags Head Woods
Nags Head Woods in the fall.
Nags Head Woods in the fall.

Steep hills descend into deep ravines that end in marsh and swamp are the dominant features of Nags Head Woods. As the hills, which are actually sand dunes that have become covered in a more dense soil, rise above the wetlands, a dense hardwood forest has formed and the some of the most spectacular autumn colors on the Outer Banks can be found here.

The easiest way to get to Nags Head Woods is to turn at the light Pigman’s Barbecue in Kill Devil Hills—that’s the intersection of the Bypass (US 158) and Ocean Acres. Follow the road until it becomes a dirt road. The visitor’s center will be on the left at the bottom of the hill.

Part of the Nature Conservancy, there is excellent trail information available and usually someone on hand to answer questions.

Nags Head Woods-Beautiful and Challenging

Sweet Gum Trail, Nags Head Woods.
Sweet Gum Trail, Nags Head Woods.

The Outer Banks is a far more complex natural environment than it may appear to be at first. A cursory glance may give the impression that it’s ocean, beach and some sawgrass thrown in, and certainly along the seashore, that is what it appears to be . . . although even that’s pretty complex.

But step away from the shoreline, cross over to the sound side and whole new world opens up.

No where is that more apparent than in Nags Head Woods.

Part of the Nature Conservancy, Nags Head Woods is 1100 acres of swamp, marsh and surprisingly steep trails that follow the contours of relict sand dunes. Of all the forests, woods and preserves located on the Outer Banks, the Nags Head Woods trails are by far the most challenging.

Not all of the trails are difficult. The Center Loop Trail is a short trail that is perfect for the anyone five years of age and up.

For hikers looking for a bit of a challenge, check out the Sweet Gum Trail.

Over millennia soil has accreted on the ancient dune system that of Nags Head Woods, and a dense maritime forest like no other in the world has grown up. At the base of the dunes are swamps and fresh water ponds with trees typical of that environment.

The trail ascends rapidly—really, this is akin to mountain hiking although the ascent is not as long—and as it does so, hardwood trees typical of a inland forest dominate.

The best way to get to Nags Head Woods is to turn on to Ocean Acres Drive at Pigman’s Barbecue. Ocean Acres will bear to the right and turn into a dirt road. Continue on until the Nags Head Woods parking lot appears on the left.