Top 5 Towns of the Outer Banks NC

A visit to the Outer Banks features the best of oceanside living along with exciting cultural activities and a taste of local history. When you first visit the Outer Banks, you may only know about the beaches and the incredible seafood, but there is so much more to be explored. Some of the fantastic activities to be enjoyed on the Outer Banks are:

  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Cultural Festivals
  • Historical Sites
  • Delicious Dining

What towns are in the Outer Banks?

When you’re beginning to plan your trip to the Outer Banks, explore the mix of small towns and villages in the area. These five Outer Banks towns balance the beauty of nature with dining, shopping, and recreational activities you will love.

Top 5 Towns of the Outer Banks NC || OBX Cola Vaughan Realty


Located just north of Southern Shores, Duck is a small town first incorporated in 2002. The town is named for its history of hunting waterfowl. You will love getting out in nature to explore such activities as jet skiing and fishing, where you could land a blue marlin.

The town of Duck provides an excellent base for your Outer Banks adventure. The area boasts many fine vacation rentals that have a variety of amenities. When it’s time to eat, Duck has many great restaurants featuring the area’s fresh seafood. Many of these restaurants feature outdoor dining.

In October, the town hosts the nationally known Duck Jazz Festival. Fans come from near and far to enjoy a mix of local and national acts.

Southern Shores

Another one of the best cities of the Outer Banks is Southern Shores. This small town has a mix of year-round residences, vacation rentals, and hotels. Southern Shores has convenient shopping and excellent dining, as well as a great golf course.

Thanks to careful conservation, the wild beauty of the Outer Banks is preserved in Southern Shores. The beaches are well kept, and the natural dune grass flourishes. You will love the mix of outdoor and cultural activities in Southern Shores.

Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk was settled in the eighteenth century, but incorporated in 1981. There is a local controversy regarding how the town got its name. Some believe that the name comes from the Native American “Chickahawk,” or a place to hunt for geese. Another school of thought believes the town to be named for the “mosquito hawk” or dragonfly.

The town has a wide variety of housing options for visitors, including rentals and hotels. The town features a quiet, small-town sensibility with the amenities visitors need to feel at home. You will find that the dining is excellent in Kitty Hawk, featuring the area’s popular seafood as well as North Carolina barbecue.

The town is known for running events such as the Flying Pirate Half-Marathon, run in April, and the Outer Banks Marathon and Half Marathon run in November.

Kill Devil Hills

Kill Devil Hills is the home of the Wright Brothers National Memorial, where visitors can learn about North Carolina’s place in the history of flight.

Local lore is full of tales of pirates and other unsavory folks. One of the colorful stories told about the naming of Kill Devil Hills is that the pirates who frequented the area drank moonshine that could “kill the devil.” Today, Kill Devil Hills is a peaceful small town full of opportunities for locals and residents alike. Oceanfront hotels and beautiful rentals provide a great place to stay.

Kids and adults alike will love the annual Wright Kite Festival which happens in July. Visitors a little earlier in the spring will enjoy the Coastal Gardening Festival held in May.

Nags Head

The legend of Nags Head is rooted in the area’s pirate heritage. A horse led to the top of Jockey’s Ridge would have a lantern tied around its neck, which passing mariners would mistake for a lighthouse. Crashing on the shoals, they were then easy prey to coastal raiders.

Thankfully, Nags Head has moved far away from its historical origins. One of the larger commercial areas in the northern Outer Banks, Nags Head has a diverse commercial area with excellent restaurants and shopping. There are also many fine art galleries.

Jennette’s Pier combines a great fishing experience with family-friendly activities, shopping, and an aquarium where kids of all ages can pet rays. Jockey’s Ridge State Park gives adventurous travelers a chance to climb the tallest natural sand dunes on the East Coast.

Plan Your Visit

When you visit the Outer Banks, you will be able to take advantage of the natural and cultural wealth of the area, while being welcomed by hospitable locals. Every member of your family will find something to love on the Outer Banks.


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