For decades, camping in the Outer Banks has been a family tradition. Many years ago, there was a campground in Duck, pictured above, which is now the Sea Pines neighborhood. Each family was asked to water the tiny pine trees on their campsites. Those same pine trees are full grown today.
Outer Banks camping is the perfect way to get up close and personal with our dynamic coastal environment. With campgrounds located from the sound to the ocean and everywhere in between, there are many landscapes to choose from. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite OBX camping spots, from primitive tent camping to RV camping at campgrounds with amenities.
Continue reading our guide to learn:
- Which OBX Beaches Can You Camp On?
- Best Beaches for Tent Camping
- Best Beaches for RV Camping
- OBX Camping Rules and Regulations
- Frequently Asked Questions About OBX Beach Camping
Which OBX Beaches Can You Camp On?
Camping directly on the beaches of the OBX is not permitted, but there are many excellent campgrounds in the following towns. Most offer beach access.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Rodanthe, Waves, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, Ocracoke)
Camping in Kitty Hawk
Kitty Hawk RV Park: Located between the Beach Road (NC 12) and the Bypass (Route 158), this RV park has been a top choice for OBX RV camping since the 1960’s. Centrally located in the heart of Kitty Hawk, shopping, dining, activities, and nightlife are all nearby. All RV sites feature full hook up, including water, sewer, electric, and cable TV. Pop-ups and tent sites are not available.
Camping in Kill Devil Hills
OBX Campground: Located on beautiful Colington Island, OBX Campground offers RV sites just minutes away from the beach and many top Outer Banks attractions, including the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Enjoy the quiet coastal landscape, including water views. Tent sites are not available, but RV sites have full hook up, including water, sewer, and electric. A bath house with showers, laundry facilities, and a playground are also available.
Joe & Kay’s Campground: Looking for tent camping in OBX with lots of things to do nearby? This is your campground! Located off of Colington Road in the heart of Kill Devil Hills, Joe & Kay’s Campground offers tent sites only, no RV hook-ups are available. The campground is surrounded by tall pine trees and canals.
Camping in Nags Head
Oregon Inlet Campground: Located toward the southern end of Nags Head, Oregon Inlet Campground is “away from it all”, yet convenient to all that the town of Nags Head has to offer. Oregon Inlet Fishing Center is located just south and the Bodie Island Lighthouse is a few miles north. The beach is accessed by a short stroll through the sand dunes. Tent sites and RV sites (some with hook-ups) are available.
Camping on Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Cape Hatteras National Seashore stars in South Nags Head and runs all the way to Ocracoke Island. The area has many campgrounds, several of which are managed by the National Park Service. Driving on the beach is allowed in certain areas of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, however, a beach driving permit is required.
Rodanthe, Waves & Avon
Camp Hatteras RV Resort & Campground: One of the larger campgrounds on the Outer Banks, Camp Hatteras spans from the ocean to the sound in Rodanthe. Experience the best of both worlds, the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean or the calmer waters of the Pamlico Sound. Campsites are for RVs only, but park model rental units are available. With a clubhouse, conference center, planned activities, a dog park, and a playground, this campground is suitable for larger groups. RV sites are full hook-up.
Cape Hatteras KOA: Most people familiar with the KOA brand know what to expect…amenities! Cape Hatteras KOA in Rodanthe delivers, with a pool, water slides, hot tub, jumping pillow, playground, dog park, and much more, along with beach access. Accommodations include RV sites (various types, with hook-ups), tent sites, and cabins.
Ocean Waves Campground: A smaller, family-owned campground in Waves that offers beach access and amenities. Pool and game room are available for entertainment. Tent and RV sites (with hook-ups) are available.
St. Clair Landing Family Campground: There are 60 tent and RV sites available at this family-owned campground in Rodanthe. Access the ocean or the sound from the campground, or take the kids to the playground. Dining and activities in the town of Rodanthe are walking distance.
Sands of Time Campground: Tent sites and full RV hook-up sites are available at this campground in Avon. Everything you could need is walking distance – the beach, dining, shopping, Avon Fishing Pier, and “Canadian Hole” is just a few miles down the road. If you aren’t familiar with windsurfing or kite surfing, plan to spend an afternoon at “Canadian Hole” watching riders of the wind.
Buxton & Frisco
Cape Point Campground: Operated by the National Park Service, Cape Point Campground has tent and RV sites, but no hookups are available. The beach is about a 5-10 minute walk through the sand dunes. The Hatteras Lighthouse is a short drive away and it can be seen from the campground. Hatteras Point, known for world-class surf fishing, is a short drive on the beach away.
Frisco Woods Campground: One of the more well-known campgrounds on Hatteras Island, Frisco Woods is located on the Pamlico Sound. Soundfront campsites are available, as well as more secluded campsites nestled in the trees. Hook-ups are available for RV sites, and tent sites can be primitive or have hook-ups. Amenities include a pool, wifi, camp store, kayak rentals, and more.
Frisco Campground: Situated on elevated sand dunes, many of the campsites offer views of the ocean. Dense vegetation between campsites offers added privacy. At night, the beacon from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse can be seen. Standard non-electric tent sites are available.
Ocracoke Campground: Ocracoke Island, accessible by ferry only, is a true Outer Banks gem. Ocracoke Campground is the largest campground on the island, located parallel to the beach. The beach is just over the sand dunes and you can hear the waves lapping the shore as you drift to sleep. Standard non-electric campsites are available for tents and RVs. The soil is sandy, so tent campers should bring extra long tent stakes. The eclectic town of Ocracoke is just a few miles away.
Teeter’s Campground: Located in the center of town, Teeter’s Campground is convenient to everything the town of Ocracoke has to offer. Walk or bike to shopping, dining, and activities. The campground includes tent sites and RV sites (hook-ups are available).
Best Beaches for Tent Camping
The best campgrounds for tent camping in OBX are located on Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The four seashore campgrounds managed by the National Park Service are Oregon Inlet Campground, Cape Point Campground, Frisco Campground, and Ocracoke Campground. Each campground offers restrooms, potable water, unheated showers, grills, and tables. All are located close to the beach for a true Outer Banks camping experience.
Best Beaches for RV Camping
The best places for OBX RV camping are OBX Campground in Kill Devil Hills and Cape Hatteras KOA in Rodanthe. OBX Campground is convenient to many attractions, activities, shopping, and restaurants in Kill Devil Hills. Cape Hatteras KOA offers many amenities, as well as access to both the ocean and the sound.
OBX Camping Rules and Regulations
OBX Camping FAQs
Is Alcohol Allowed on OBX Beaches?
Alcohol is permitted on all OBX Beaches. Cape Hatteras National Seashore allows beer and wine only. Keep in mind that state laws regarding alcohol apply to drivers on 4-wheel drive beaches. As with any beach or outdoor environment, glass containers are generally not a good idea.
Can You Have Fires On The Beach In The Outer Banks?
Fires are permitted on certain Outer Banks beaches, but regulations apply and permits are required. Beach fires are never permitted in Corolla, the 4×4 beaches north of Corolla, Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, or Kill Devil Hills.
Nags Head allows fires on the beach with a beach pit fire permit. Permits are issued between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm the day of only.
Beach fires are also allowed on the beach with a permit in Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Can You Drive On The Beach In the OBX?
Beach driving is generally allowed year-round on the 4×4 beaches north of Corolla and certain areas of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
A permit is required to drive on the 4×4 beaches on the Currituck Outer Banks, including Ocean Beach, Seagull Beach, Swan Beach, and Carova Beach, from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore requires an Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) permit for beach driving. Permits may be obtained online or in-person.
Beaches of the Outer Banks
Whether you’re camping or staying in a vacation home, the beaches of the Outer Banks are suited for many activities. From relaxing with a cold beverage to the adrenaline rush of watersports, check out our picks for the Best Beaches on the Outer Banks.