Planning a holiday trip to the Outer Banks? You may think the OBX completely closes down after Labor Day, but you are mistaken. While it is true that a lot of the restaurants and shops do close their doors and shutters for the winter months, there is still a large local, year-round crowd which means activities and events for Christmas and New Year’s!
An Outer Banks Christmas
Not only is the Outer Banks famous for oysters in the winter, but there are also some key Christmas celebrations you won’t want to miss. If you like to do your holiday shopping while avoiding the crowds, the OBX is the place to be. Celebrate the season on the Outer Banks at one of the following events.
- A Christmas to Remember 2018
- 2018 Duck Yuletide Celebration
- Manteo Tour of Holiday Homes
- Kites With Lights
- 2018 Holiday Chefs Challenge
- Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens
- The Outer Banks Christmas House
When: Friday, November 30th & Saturday, December 1st
Where: Downtown Manteo
The town of Manteo, on Roanoke Island, starts the holiday season on Friday, November 30th at 6:00 pm with their tree-lighting and a visit from Santa. The town tree is located downtown on Queen Elizabeth Street, in front of Dare County Arts Council. On Saturday, December 1st, the Town of Manteo’s annual Christmas parade kicks off at 10:30 am. A local favorite, the parade features marching bands, decorated floats, and lots of charming, small-town holiday fun.
When: Saturday, December 1st from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Where: Duck Town Park
The Town of Duck’s annual Yuletide Celebration includes live music, carolers, yummy treats, and Santa Claus, of course! Warm up with coffee, hot chocolate, hot soup, and sweet treats provided by local businesses. Highlights of the celebration include the lighting of the town’s impressive crab pot Christmas tree and Santa’s arrival on a Duck fire truck.
When: Saturday, December 1st beginning at 12:00 pm
Where: Town of Manteo
The Manteo Preservation Trust is hosting their 14th annual event as a fundraiser to raise awareness for historic preservation in Manteo. Tour locations are walking and biking friendly. Experience the charm and culture of this coastal town.
When: Saturday, November 30th from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: Jockey’s Ridge Crossing, Nags Head
Kites With Lights offers a holiday light display like no other! Large kites are decorated with lights and flown at the top of Jockey’s Ridge State Park (weather permitting). Attendees are encouraged to bring flashlights and glow sticks to join in on the fun. The Jockey’s Ridge State Park solar Christmas tree that sits atop the dunes will also be lit for the first time during this event.
When: Thursday, December 13th from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Duck Woods Country Club, Southern Shores
The 5th Annual Holiday Chefs Challenge is a great way to give back to an important organization on the Outer Banks, the Beach Food Pantry. The festive competition includes local chefs that have 60 minutes to complete a dish utilizing items that are typically found at the food pantry. They even have to include one canned food item. Guests and selected judges get to select the winning dish. This ticketed event will include an auction, a 50/50 raffle, and music.
When: Select nights from November 24th through January 19th, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, weather permitting
Where: The Elizabethan Gardens, Manteo
The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, NC transforms into a winter wonderland for the holidays. Stretch your legs and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens. The park has a fire pit for warming up on the chilly evenings. There is even a seasonal gift shop with plants available for gift giving!
When: Evenings from November 22nd through December 31st, weather permitting
Where: 622 Ocean Acres Drive, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
Local families have been visiting the “Poulos House”, also known as the Outer Banks Christmas House, in Kill Devil Hills for years to celebrate the holiday season. This home puts the Griswold family to shame with their vintage Christmas figurines, lights, an eclectic array of decor. Santa Claus may even make an appearance for the kids!
For those of us that just can not get enough Christmas, there are a few shops on the Outer Banks that are open year round for your holiday pleasure! The Christmas Shop & General Store is located in Manteo and The Christmas Mouse is located in both Duck and Nags Head. Even if you are not able to join us during the holiday season, we hope you take home a holiday keepsake to that will evoke the wonderful memories of your time on the Outer Banks!
Where: Manteo, NC
For over 50 years, The Christmas Shop & General Store has provided Christmas cheer to the Outer Banks all year long. The store began as a shop for ornaments but has evolved into an OBX shopping destination.
Where: Duck, NC & Nags Head, NC
Thousands of Christmas ornaments and decorations are available for purchase. Find that special Outer Banks ornament to adorn your tree and remind you of your fantastic OBX vacation.
New Year’s Eve on the Outer Banks
If you find yourself here celebrating New Year’s Eve Outer Banks style, you will have a variety of Outer Banks New Year’s Eve Events and Celebrations to choose from.
- New Year in the New World
- The Jolly Roger New Year’s Eve Party
- New Year’s at New York Pizza Pub
- New Year’s Eve Bash at Outer Banks Brewing Station
- New Year’s Eve Dinner Out
When: December 31st
Where: Downtown Manteo
New Year in the New World is an afternoon festival and street fair in Manteo, NC, on Roanoke Island. Downtown Manteo is closing the streets for this fair and celebration. There will be live music, an early “ball drop” for the kids, and the most extensive New Year’s Eve firework display in all of North Carolina! Street fair starts at 3:00 pm and music starts at 5:00 pm. The restaurants and bars downtown are also staying open late night for the event. Free parking is available at Roanoke Island Festival Park.
When: December 31st
Where: The Jolly Roger, 1836 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
The Jolly Roger, a local restaurant and favorite for late night entertainment, is having a New Year’s Eve bash starting at 4:30 pm. They will have dinner specials and will also be serving their full menu, which will include seafood, steaks, Italian dishes, prime rib, and many delicious, homemade desserts.
The event is free and no cover charge or minimum amount of people required. There will be karaoke, dancing, party favors and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight! Additionally, a traditional “good luck” meal of kielbasa, black-eyed peas and sauerkraut will be served after midnight to ensure prosperity in 2019! Come and celebrate with the locals to see how we ring in the new year!
When: December 31st
Where: New York Pizza Pub, 2217 S Croatan Hwy, Nags Head, NC 27959
If looking for more a more lively party, you should check out the New York Pizza Pub in Nags Head. They will be throwing a New Year’s Eve Bash starting at 10:00 pm. Come prepared to DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! with DJ Fresh, who will be spinning the hottest jams from 2018 and will have you groovin’ right into 2019! Enjoy a free champagne toast at midnight. This event is free and no cover charge required, but you must be 21 years or older to get in.
When: December 31st
Where: Outer Banks Brewing Station, 600 S Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
Come out to the biggest New Year’s Eve balloon drop on the Outer Banks! Live music by Zack Mexico and special guest The Carrots. A $10 cover charge gets you into the party at The Outer Banks Brewing Station, which runs from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am. Free champagne toast at midnight. This event is for adults 21 or older only.
If looking for something a little more intimate and low key, there are loads of restaurants to choose from. Here’s a list of our favorites.
405 Queen Elizabeth Ave., Manteo, NC
Located right inside the Tranquil Inn, this restaurant boasts an elegant atmosphere with large windows that overlook Shallowbag Bay.
7114 S. Virginia Dare Trail in Nags Head, NC
Owens’ Restaurant is an Outer Banks legend. In business since 1946, fresh local seafood and steaks are on the menu. A “must try” is the lobster bisque – it is delightful! Lots of beautiful art decorates this restaurant, making it easy on the eyes.
1174 Duck Rd in Duck, NC
Aqua is a new age-y restaurant and spa concept offering locally sourced fare and a soundfront venue with a deck.
1240 Duck Rd in Duck, NC
Mellow spot for locally sourced, high-end seafood and Southern fare. Save room for dessert! Many of their desserts are served with their homemade ice cream.
1106 S Croatan Hwy in Kill Devil Hills, NC
JK’s Restaurant is a classy spot serving premium, wood-fired land and sea fare in a cozy, wood-finished beach house.
If you are looking for everyday things to do in December, there’s plenty to do and see on the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks has lots to choose from no matter what your holiday style! Whether you want to go celebrate all day in Downtown Manteo with live music and good eats, see extraordinary fireworks on New Year’s Eve, go out to a romantic dinner, get your shop on, or mix and match these activities, the OBX can accommodate you. Whatever you choose, we’re just happy you’re here to celebrate with us, Outer Banks style!