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What to Do in the Outer Banks in December


December is the time of year to spread some cheer! Get ready to experience a true Southern-style Outer Banks in Winter without the crowds. With average weather temperatures in the high 50’s, the weather can be mild and sunny, or crisp and wet, so prepare for a beautiful white snowy or sandy Outer Banks in December. Once you arrive, start making a list of things to do in Outer Banks in December because there’s so much to do, so much to see, and memories to be made.



Tour the Wright Brothers Memorial

Wright Brothers Memorial


While you are here, visit the Wright Brothers Memorial. The Wright Brothers’ lasting legacy is well known for the first flight, right here on the Outer Banks. On December 17th, we will be celebrating 115 years of the first powered flight (more details on the celebration below!). Walk to the top of the hill to get an up-close look at the towering 60-foot tall granite monument. The visitor’s center recently reopened with new exhibits. A bookstore and gift shop can also be found in the visitor’s center. 


Hunt for Beach Treasure

December Beach treasuresUncrowded beaches make December a great time of year to get out and do some shell seeking or metal detecting in search of your favorite shells, such as whelks, olive and conch shells. Sharks teeth can be found as well, not the mention one of the most prized finds Outer Banks sea glass. 

Metal detecting is allowed on the Northern Beaches of:

  • Carova
  • Corolla
  • Duck
  • Southern Shores
  • Kitty Hawk
  • Kill Devil Hills
  • Nags Head


However, metal detecting is prohibited within Cape Hatteras National Seashore, including Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras, and Ocracoke.


The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

NC Aquarium Roanoke IslandExperience a wonderful adventure at the North Carolina Aquarium. Their new Sea Turtle Rescue activity allows children to go into the “hospital” to learn about threats to the Sea Turtle population and how they can be rehabilitated. Additionally, check out the fossil dig area where visitors are able to search for treasures; like small shells or shark teeth. The Graveyard of the Atlantic exhibit boasts an aquarium that holds larger fish, including sharks. If these events sound like fun, check out the other special events happening at the aquarium during December.


The Outer Banks Christmas House

Outer Banks Christmas HouseBoth kids and adults are sure to enjoy a stroll past the brightly lit Outer Banks Christmas House located in Kill Devil Hills, a  well-known house by Outer Banks locals. The Outer Banks Christmas house is located at 622 Ocean Acres Drive, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948. While the home is a private residence, each year the homeowners invite the community to walk around and enjoy their decorations. Santa has also been known to make an appearance on select evenings.    


Events in the OBX this December

Wings Over Water (WOW)

Great EgretWhen: December 7 – 9, 2018

Where: Various National Wildlife Refuges in Northeastern NC

Good For: Bird-watchers on the lookout for large flocks of migrating birds.

Wings Over Water offers trips specially designed to provide a better possibility of seeing large flocks of migratory birds and waterfowl. This 1.5-mile walking trail, suitable for all levels of bird watchers, gives participants an opportunity to study each species found. Some of the birds likely to be seen include herons, egrets, brown pelicans, white ibis, shorebirds, gulls, warblers, sparrows, and blackbirds.

To participate in the bird watching walk, meet at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center parking lot (14500 NC Highway 12 in Pea Island) approximately 4 miles south of Oregon Inlet (Bonner) Bridge on the west side of NC Highway 12. Leader/Field Expert Harry LeGrand will lead the walk on Sunday, December 9th from 8:00 am to 11:30 am.


The 115th Anniversary of the First Flight

Wright Brothers Memorial FlyoverWhen: December 17, 2018

Where: 1000 North Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

Good For: Anyone interested in modern aviation

Plan to visit the Wright Brothers Memorial on Monday, December 17th for an extra special celebration of the 115th anniversary of the first powered flight. The celebration takes place at the Wright Brothers National Park Visitors Center, and entrance fees are waived. This is a great event to celebrate the Wright Brothers’ legacy on the Outer Banks. 



The Outer Banks may not seem like a typical place for a winter wonderland, but once you experience all that it has to offer this time of year, it is sure to be a December to remember! Be sure to do some holiday shopping while you are here – there’s a unique Outer Banks gift for everyone on your list.

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