The Best Surf Spots on the Outer Banks, NC

On the east coast of the United States, there is no surfing spot quite like the Outer Banks. It is known to draw surfers from around the country for annual surfing tournaments and local instruction from some of the best in the sport. During the busy surfing season, many Outer Banks vacation rentals are booked, and for good reason.

Below you’ll find some information on a few of the top surf spots on the Outer Banks. You don’t have to be an expert surfer to have fun at any of these surf spots. There are many other things to do, including practice sessions for newcomers, bodyboarding, and stand up paddle boarding.

You can rent a board from any number of local companies, so don’t worry about bringing one with you. If you’re experienced, head out to these surf spots, otherwise consider booking a lesson with a local pro.

surfboard with surfer

Duck Pier

The Duck Pier has been a consistently popular surf spot over the years. This pier has great seasonal surf on either side, but you should try not to paddle out too close to the pier. During the summers, or a warm spring or fall, you should expect crowds.

Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills

Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills have some of the best surf spots on the eastern coast. These spots are worth visiting after a storm when the ocean has huge waves, and in the summer when the place is lively with the seasonal population. If you surf around the piers, you should exercise caution, as you’re required to stay 100 yards away from the pier because the pier pilings present a danger to surfers.

Nags Head

At Nags Head, you can enjoy plenty of water related Outer Banks activities including surfing, swimming, and surf fishing. Keep in mind that this area can be very crowded, and a good time to visit is in the early morning before you have to wait in lines to surf. The good thing about Nags Head is that you can just drive along the beach road, then get out at any beach. The whole area is affected by the ocean in the same way, so when the waves are good, it means that almost every beach here will be excellent for surfing.


Irene’s Inlet

Formed in 2011 after Hurricane Irene barreled a portion of Hatteras Island, the inlet is now a great surfing destination. There are sandy beaches throughout Irene’s Inlet and crowds of both local and visiting surfers. Even though it is the newest surfing spot on the East Coast, this inlet is relatively popular.

Corolla and Carova Beach

In summer when the temperatures are ideal for surfing Corolla is a secluded small beach community that has some great waves. For the more adventurous and experienced surfers, Carova Beach further to the north has waves that break further offshore for a better surfing experience. It is usually not as crowded as other Outer Banks surfing spots.

Coquina Beach

This is located a bit off the beaten path at the northern end of Cape Hatteras National Seashore along Highway NC 12, about 8 miles south of the town borders of Nags Head. You’ll find great waves here, and although they aren’t as heavy as some of the other spots in the Outer Banks, they often have a long duration. It’s a good spot for those who are just starting out, and there is far less of a crowd here, with several miles of undeveloped pristine beach.

The S-Curves

This spot is located north of the village of Rodanthe south of the Outer Banks, and is one of the most beloved destinations for surfers. As you might expect, you’ll find this area to be crowded when the surfing is good, but this is a premier surfing spot that many enthusiasts prefer.

beach and ocean waves

Find your favorite surfing spot on the Outer Banks

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but covers some of the more popular spots as well as a few lesser known options so that you can mix it up a bit.

The top surfing spots on the Outer Banks are unique, and every surfer you talk to will have their particular favorites.

As a general rule, if you are a newcomer, be on the lookout for vehicles parked by the road side and look out on the ocean for surfers. This indicates that it is likely a good spot with consistently good waves – follow the lead of the pros to find your favorite spot!

As you plan your next surfing adventure to the Outer Banks, be sure to beat the crowd and get your Outer Banks vacation rentals booked before they’re gone!


Cola Vaughan Realty
PO Box 1375 • Nags Head, NC 27959
Phone: 252.573.2811
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