Surfing is a terrific way to stay in shape while having a good time. It has also been established that spending time in the ocean reduces stress and improves mental wellness. That’s why if you’re an avid surfer or have just started your journey, you need to know where the best surfing places are in North Carolina.
The best surfing places in North Carolina are on the coastline of the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks is also known as OBX. It is a 200-mile-long (320-kilometer-long) series of barrier islands and spits off the coasts of North Carolina and southeastern Virginia on the US east coast. They run the North Carolina coastline length, dividing the Atlantic Ocean from Currituck Sound, Albemarle Sound, and Pamlico Sound.
Jet ski rentals, kayaking, scuba diving, surfing, parasailing, fishing charters, dolphin tours, and other water activities are available in the Outer Banks. Thanks to the consistent winds, the Outer Banks has some of the best kiteboarding and surfing conditions globally. Don’t get lost in the waves as I help you find the best surfing places in North Carolina, Outer Banks.
What Is Special About the Outer Banks?
Besides being a surfing spot, the Outer Banks is known for its natural beauty, including fragile islands and exquisite beaches. These beaches are well-known for being family-friendly, making them an excellent choice for a family holiday or a relaxing getaway.
The Outer Banks offers a wide range of outdoor activities perfectly suited for everyone, with miles of sandy beaches and plenty of off-shore fun.
The Outer Banks of North Carolina are one of America’s most beautiful and unusual vacation spots. The National Park Service protects more than 70 miles of the coastline region. For years, travelers and locals have been drawn to the barrier island’s blend of rolling dunes, beach grasses, and magnificent beaches.
Historic islands, picturesque towns, and isolated villages make up the Outer Banks. A trip to the Outer Banks will leave you with a lifetime of memories. If you’ve ever visited the Outer Banks in the summer, you know it’s a popular beach holiday destination that’s been around for decades.
Does North Carolina Have Good Surfing?
The Outer Banks has some of the best surfing in North Carolina regarding hanging ten and riding the waves. Due to the geology of the barrier islands and strong coastal winds, there is the possibility for exceptional swell conditions all along the beach.
Where Do People Surf in North Carolina?
Bike riding, beach volleyball, fishing, and surfing are just a few of the activities that the Outer Banks has to offer. Everything appears to be better here, whether it’s the views of the beach, landmarks, sunsets along the coast, or sunrises over the water.
To answer your burning question, though, here are the places where the best waves in NC are.
- Carova, NC
Carova is known for its miles of isolation, featuring pure white beaches and a sprinkling of rental homes. Most of all, though, it’s known for the wild mustangs that roam freely from the ocean to Carova’s modest residential subdivisions, making it the Outer Banks’ last frontier.
Carova can produce good waves, especially during the summer when the water temperatures are ideal, and minor swells are common. It is an excellent option to travel north to Carova, where the beaches have more of a gradual sand bar, allowing waves to break further off-shore. Carova is not as crowded as the northern Outer Banks beaches and draws in the most adventurous surfers.
- Duck Pier, NC
Duck has everything you’d want in an Outer Banks vacation location. Enjoy ocean and sound side waterfront access, exquisite shopping and restaurants, and plenty of hiking, surfing, kayaking, kiteboarding, and beach space.
Like most local piers, the Duck Pier provides terrific surf on both sides during the summer, though surfers are advised not to paddle out too far. The Duck Pier has been the go-to spot for Northern Outer Banks surfers in recent years, so expect crowds, especially during the summer months and during a lovely spring or fall swell, when the area’s surfing is at its peak.
- Nags Head, NC
Nags Head is one of the Outer Banks’ most well-known tourist sites, and people continue to flock to the area for its abundance of amenities, expansive ocean and sound front views, and typical Outer Banks charm.
Nags Head offers a wide range of surfing opportunities, from the lesser-known surf locations along the beach road in South Nags Head to the world-famous waves off Jennette’s Pier. Vacationing surfers have been paddling out here since the 1940s, making it one of the Outer Banks’ oldest surf destinations.
- Kitty Hawk, NC
Outer Banks visitors will discover that Kitty Hawk has something for everyone, including fantastic beaches, a plethora of shops and restaurants, and even a large section of maritime forest where visitors can enjoy quiet nature trails and spot wild geese.
This is an excellent site if you’re staying at the Northern beaches, as the Hilton in Kitty Hawk is located right across from them. This area yields some good barrels without the long travel down south when the wind direction is right. Throughout the year, ESA Surfing Competitions are held at Kitty Hawk. All age groups are welcome to compete for a seat in the Masters.
- Rodanthe, NC
Rodanthe has always been the site for great adventures, such as heroic oceanfront rescues and, more recently, fantastic beach vacations. Rodanthe offers the romance of wind-swept beaches and quiet coastal cottages, as well as modern Outer Banks facilities. Look for exceptional kiteboarding schools and launching places, as well as locally owned gift stores and restaurants.
The Rodanthe Pier has a thriving surf scene a few miles south, with several local and visiting surfers paddling out daily. Even though it is not as popular as the S-Curves, this spot can get busy when the waves are good.
- The S-Curves
The S-Curves, further south, is a popular surfing spot on the Outer Banks. The modest series of twists and turns along NC Highway 12 led the village that gave the region its name. It is located directly north of the town of Rodanthe. The S-Curves may not be as “curvy” now that the only highway on and off the island has been pushed west due to storms and erosion, but they remain one of Hatteras Island’s most famous surfing sites.
When the surf is good at the S-Curves, it’s simply amazing. It’s not uncommon to see dozens of cars parked along the side of NC Highway 12, as well as camera crews stacked up along the top of the dunes when there’s a big swell. Expect the S-Curves to be packed on good surf days, but the lack of elbow room will be well worth it – many visiting surfers swear that the S-Curves are as fantastic as Outer Banks surfing gets.
Ready to Hit the Waves?
If you’re looking for surfing lessons, newcomers to the Outer Banks will find many options available, ranging from private tutorials to group sessions. Lessons are also accessible all across the Outer Banks, from the beaches of Corolla to Ocracoke Island.
There are several properties in North Carolina where you can stay. Here are five properties that I personally recommend:
|First Light||2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms|
|Little Pink Cottage||3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms|
|Cottage By The Sea||3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms|
|Coastal LegaSea||2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms|
|Swell Life||2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms|
No matter where a surfer decides to stay, there are resources nearby. However, keep in mind that when it comes to riding waves, surf lessons are frequently only as good as the surf conditions, and if the waves aren’t ideal, landing that first, amazing ride may be difficult. However, regardless of the weather, a surf lesson or two may provide newcomers with an excellent primer on paddling, wave conditions, timing, and how to get up onto the board.