Outer Banks in SummerRentals, Things to Do, Weather & More

Summer is the most popular time of year to visit the Outer Banks.

There are many things to do in the summer, whether you’d like to spend all of your time on the beach or explore everything that the OBX has to offer. Head down to the beach and relax with your toes in the sand. Play in the ocean with family or paddle out to catch some surf. Stroll down the wide, soft sand beaches to hunt for treasures like whelk shells and sea glass. At night, bring a flashlight to the beach to catch ghost crabs scurrying back into their holes.

Summer Vacation Planning

There are many things to do in the summer, whether you’d like to spend most of your time on the beach or explore all that the Outer Banks has to offer.

The beach is the #1 attraction on the Outer Banks. There are plenty of ways to spend quality time at the beach, no matter your age or activity level.

Head down to the beach and relax with your toes in the sand - don’t forget your sunscreen!

Play in the waves with family or paddle out to catch some surf on a surfboard, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard.

Look for treasures, like whelk shells and sea glass, as you stroll down the wide, soft sand beaches.

Bring a flashlight to the beach at night to watch ghost crabs scurry along the shore.

Don't forget the beach essentials — but if there isn't room in the car to pack it all, there are local OBX equipment rental companies to help.

Beach chairs are included with our vacation homes, but be sure to bring any additional beach chairs needed.

You’ll also need a beach umbrella to take breaks from the sun, and a cooler for cold beverages and snacks.

Don't forget your beach towels, sunglasses, beach toys and games, and a portable speaker for some tunes.

OBX equipment rental companies can supply what you can't bring. There are even companies that deliver ice daily to fill your cooler!

When you need a break from the beach, Outer Banks businesses are open and ready to welcome visitors in the summer.

Try some fresh OBX seafood at a local restaurant. It's absolutely the best.

Shop for the perfect souvenirs at truly unique gift shops scattered throughout the area.

Adventure seekers can choose from hang gliding, surfing, watersports, climbing towers, and much more.

In addition to wide open spaces on the beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, there are several natural coastal areas and parks to explore.

OBX Summer Weather

What to expect in June, July, and August

Daytime

80°
  • Hot and humid
  • Perfect flip flop weather
  • Sunrise between 5:45am - 6:30am

Evenings

73°
  • Comfortable and humid
  • Bring a light jacket just in case
  • Sunset between 7:30pm - 8:25pm

Ocean

75-82°
  • Pleasantly warm water
  • *Temperature can vary depending on wind direction

Pack your flip flops!

OBX summer weather is generally very warm, with average high temperatures in the mid-80’s in June, July and August. It’s not unheard of for the heat index to reach or exceed 100 degrees on the Outer Banks in the summer. As mentioned, definitely pack your flip flops or another type of sandal for walking on and off of the beach. The sand on the beach can get very hot in the midday sun.

The low temperatures in the evenings are normally in the low- to mid-70’s, but the Outer Banks has humidity! That 73-degree evening may feel way warmer than a 73-degree evening in your hometown. The humidity can make it shorts and t-shirt weather most days, but we recommend packing a light jacket or sweatshirt just in case it gets a little windy or chilly in the evenings.

Pleasantly warm ocean water

The average high ocean temperature in the summer in the Atlantic is around 75 to 82 degrees. These temperatures are averages, however, as the ocean temperature can change with the wind direction. Generally, when the wind blows onshore, from the ocean toward land (otherwise known as east winds in our part of the Outer Banks), for a period of time, the warm surface water is pushed toward the beach. This makes for pleasantly warm ocean water. When the wind blows offshore, from the land toward the ocean (known as west winds in our part of the OBX), the warm surface water is pushed out to sea, replenished by the cooler water upwelling from the bottom. Luckily, during the warm summer months, a dip in the ocean is refreshing, no matter how warm or cool the ocean temperature is.

Long days means more time for sun!

During the summer, with 13 to 14.5 hours of daylight each day depending on the month of the year, the days are long on the Outer Banks. The long days are perfect for multiple outdoor activities in one day. Visit the Wright Brothers Memorial in the morning and spend the afternoon playing at the beach. We recommend catching at least one sunrise over the ocean and one sunset on the sound during your time on the OBX. The sun rises as early as 5:45 am in June, and as late as 6:30 am in August...be sure to set an alarm so you don’t miss it!

OBX sunsets during the summer months can be an after-dinner activity if you time your evening meal right, as the sun sets between 7:30 pm and 8:25 pm in June, July, and August.

Beautiful nights

When the moon is full, check the time of the moonrise. Plan to head to the beach to watch the moonrise over the ocean, which is a stunning sight that should not be missed if it happens during your time on the Outer Banks! With the absence of light pollution over the Atlantic Ocean, there is an opportunity to observe many stars in the dark night sky. See if you can identify any constellations.

A favorite OBX nighttime activity for kids is ghost crab hunting. Ghost crabs are small, whitish creatures that scurry around on the beach during the night. They’re elusive, but fun to watch if you have the chance. When it’s dark, head down to the beach with flashlights and see if you can find any ghost crabs running around.

Things to Do in the Outer Banks in Summer

There are more things to do in the summer on the Outer Banks than in any other season. Local OBX restaurants and stores are wide open, local fishermen are hauling in fresh seafood daily, events and festivals are in full swing, and it’s prime time for watersports.

Events for everyone

Whether you prefer shopping, watching a movie outside, tasting wine, or dancing the night away to live music, there’s an event for you happening during the summer on the OBX.

  • Head up to Cork & Craft at Historic Corolla Park to taste wine and beer while enjoying live music and shopping from local artisans, and take a tour of Whalehead, a historic home, while you’re there.
  • The Mustang Music Festival, also held in Corolla, is a larger-scale concert that benefits the Corolla Wild Horses.
  • Duck holds many events each summer at the Town Park, including movies, concerts, story time, a magic show, yoga, and fitness classes.
  • Dowdy Park in Nags Head hosts a farmer’s market twice per month with local vendors selling everything from fresh produce to homemade soap to OBX art.
  • The Soundside Event Site in Nags Head hosts larger events, like a carnival in mid-June, a food-truck showdown with live music, beer tastings, and many other unique events.

A 4th of July you don't want to miss

There’s plenty to do on the Outer Banks on July 4th, including fireworks! The town of Duck hosts a 4th of July parade in the morning, which concludes with live music and watermelon at Duck Town Park. Fireworks displays take place throughout the OBX, including at Whalehead in Corolla, Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head Fishing Pier in Nags Head, on the waterfront in Downtown Manteo, and Avon Pier on Hatteras Island.

There are several running events happening, including the Killer Dunes 2-miler and fun run, in which runners face the challenge of racing on Jockey’s Ridge, the tallest natural sand dune system in the eastern United States.

Enjoy live music for a perfect evening

Afternoon and evening live music can be found in almost every OBX town during the summer. The majority of live music offered on the OBX during the summer is free. In addition to Duck Town Park, there are several Duck restaurants that offer live music nightly, on a deck or lawn, or with a backdrop of a stunning OBX sunset.

Historic Downtown Manteo hosts many live music events, including First Fridays, in which a band sets up on the courthouse steps and the streets are closed off on the first Friday of each month.

How to beat the heat

It can get hot on the OBX in the summer, but there are many things to do to beat the heat. Summer is prime watersports season, whether you’re into surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, boogie boarding, skimboarding, jet skiing, sailing, or kayaking.

Another way to beat the heat is to go shopping or visit local art galleries. There are stores and galleries unique to the Outer Banks, which are perfect places to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

Bring the whole family

There are plenty of things to do on the Outer Banks for families, whether the little ones are kids or pets. Kids will love fishing or crabbing on the OBX. Learn about the unique coastal environment on the sound while exploring the area by kayak. Surfing and stand-up paddleboarding lessons teach kids a new skill that they can practice year after year while on the Outer Banks. Families of all ages will enjoy a wild horse tour on the 4x4 beaches, to learn about and see the Corolla Wild Horses in their natural environment.

There are fun activities for furry family members too, as the Outer Banks is well-known as a pet friendly destination. Take your pet to a dog friendly restaurant or watch the sunrise at the beach with your pup.

The best seafood you'll find

Fresh seafood is always in season on the Outer Banks, and seafood choices during the summer are abundant. Try a variety of fresh fish during the summer, including yellowfin tuna, flounder, and mahi. August is a great time to try tasty local OBX greentail shrimp. Catching, cooking, and picking blue crabs can evolve into a yearly OBX summer vacation tradition, as blue crabs are in season. OBX restaurants prepare fresh seafood many different ways, whether you’re looking for a fried shrimp platter or tuna sashimi.

There are many different fantastic restaurants to choose from throughout the Outer Banks. Corolla has over 35 restaurants to choose from, while there are over 20 eateries to consider in Duck. There are even more OBX restaurants to choose from in Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly seafood buffet or a romantic dinner for two outdoors, there’s a restaurant on the Outer Banks that’s sure to be your new favorite.

Outer Banks Summer Rentals Still Available for 2021

You deserve a break — from the 9-5 job, the long nights working late, the never-ending schedule of things to do.
And this is your place. Get lost in the long, lingering summer nights.