Outer Banks
Beach Nourishment

What is Beach Nourishment?

Beach nourishment is the process of dredging sand from the ocean floor and pumping it back onto the eroding shoreline.

Here on the Outer Banks, it's no secret that we love our beaches! To ensure that they remain available to enjoy for generations to come, this added sand provides protection for properties and infrastructure from further erosion caused by storms and high tides. Rebuilding the shoreline is a big project, and is typically done at different times depdending on the sand replenshiment needs for each town on the Outer Banks. Beach renourishment is typically needed once every few years.

You may have heard beach nourishment referred to as:

  • Beach replenishment
  • Beach renourishment
  • Beach restoration
  • Sand replenishment
  • Sand pumping
  • Dredging beach
  • Dredging sand
Outer Banks Beach Nourishment in 2023

Each town will have their own weather-dependent sand replenishment schedule. Please visit the town’s beach nourishment project page for more information on the timeframe and specific area of restoration.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does beach nourishment last?

Crews typically work on about a 1,000-foot section of beach at a time (every few days), during which that portion of beach is closed. Once a section is complete, the beach is reopened within 24-48 hours. Total completion time varies widely and is extremely dependent on weather conditions and any other issues that could arise.

A section of beach might be shut down for 4 to 6 days to ensure public safety. Bulldozers, loaders, and excavators will be used in this process. This equipment contains back up lights and alarms so depending on the location of the operation, some construction noise, beach access diversions, and night illuminations are possible. Shore pipeline will be laid to allow for sand to be pumped from the offshore station to the active construction site. This pipeline will run parallel to the beach so they will be visible, however, sand ramps will be built over the pipelines to allow safe access from the beach to the ocean.

While specific areas will be affected for a limited time, you can still enjoy soaking up the sun, playing in the waves, and spending time with friends and family on your Outer Banks vacation! And, even better? When the beach nourishment is complete, not only will we have more beach to love, but our beautiful shoreline will be better protected from storms and erosion.

Vacationers staying in areas impacted by beach nourishment projects may be required to walk, drive, or ride a bike to a beach access that is further from their home. Good news though, many beaches along the Outer Banks have public beach access with parking.

Beach nourishment is scheduled for the following Outer Banks towns in 2023: Duck. While the areas of renourishment have been planned, an exact timeline has not been established. Please check each town’s beach nourishment page for more detailed information.

  • In Duck, beach nourishment will happen from Skimmer Way to the north side of Duck Research Pier.

There are currently no beach nourishment projects scheduled for Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores, Corolla, or the 4x4 beaches in 2023.

Explore Things to Do on the Outer Banks

We understand beach nourishment projects may be an inconvenience to some who may be vacationing during the time this important renourishment is taking place. The great news is the Outer Banks is filled with endless possibilities to make some memories! See our OBX Vacation Guide for Twiddy's favorite things to do on the Outer Banks with our recommended local partners.

Explore the Vacation Guide