Best Surf Towns: Outer Banks Surfing and much more!

A Surf Trip to the Outer Banks

Outer Banks Surfing and More!

When I know I am about to plan my next surf trip to any one of the many surf destinations to choose from, I can’t help it but look through all of the different travel sites and tips on the best places to go. I often find there is so much information out there that it can be hard to know what is worth seeing and what is just a tourist trap. Also sometimes, you miss out on the “hidden gems” of local areas if you just don’t have the right information. In fact, one of the reasons Live Swell was created was to help sort through all that information by providing you with an insider’s look at the best surf destinations, from our own backyard to all over the world so you don’t have to. This week, we are taking you to the Outer Banks. Outer Banks surfing will not disappoint but we also want to highlight what makes the Outer Banks unique and fun even when you’re out of the water.

Featured Traveler: Maria

Outer Banks maria raglan lookout Live Swell

I love to travel and often when I think of travel, I picture exotic international destinations full of different cultures, food, scenery and sites. I must admit, at times I forget that in our own backyard of the US, there are tons of great places to visit, from national state parks, major cities from NYC to San Francisco and of course the amazing surf towns coast to coast.

Let’s Go to the Outer Banks

This week, let’s take a trip to the Outer Banks. I grew up on the east coast but spent most of my beach days at the Jersey Shore or the Delaware beaches. Recently, I was lucky enough to have the chance to check out the Outer Banks. And, I don’t know what took me so long to get there!

Outer Banks Beach at Nag's Head Live Swell

Welcome to the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks has a great laid back atmosphere, local seafood, and plenty of things to keep you busy, even if the surf’s not good. So let’s begin our trip!

Outer Banks: Where to Stay

Recently I was introduced to the idea of the shared space trend going on right now. This has become a great way to find a place to stay, have better amenities and get some insider local info when you travel. So I decided to give Airbnb a try. We found the perfect place called “The Chill Surf & Beach Bungalow.”  It was the perfect location to be the base for our Outer Banks surfing adventures and more. By staying in the bungalow, it also gave us access to some great local information about the area that we would not have known without some of the recommendations from a local. The host gave us some great tips and left a guidebook of some of his favorites spots. This is a definite plus of staying in an Airbnb which we are happy to share with our fellow travelers and Live Swell community.

Outer Banks The Chill Surf & Beach Bungalow Live Swell

The Chill Surf & Beach Bungalow

The Chill Beach and Surf Bungalow fills fast, so be sure to book it early, especially in the fall when the surf is good.  As a gift to you, here is a link to a $75 discount for your first stay:  $75 Off First Time Visitor – Chill Beach and Surf Bungalow.  Looks like there are still some gem dates available after mid-September to late November.  Hope you don’t miss out!


Outer Banks: What to Do

Outside of the chance for some great Outer Banks surfing, we love to randomly explore areas and find out information from the locals on where are the best places to eat and cool things to see are. But I also  still think it’s important to visit the main attractions that have made the spot a destination. I mean, they became a major attraction for a reason right? So let’s go visit so main attractions!

One of the first places I wanted to see was Jockey’s Ridge. I love seeing the natural attractions that are special to any of the surf destinations I visit. So we ventured to Nags Head, where you will find 426 acres that includes the tallest nature made active sand dune system in the eastern United States. This place was just as you would imagine, just vast big rolling sand dunes surrounding you! Not only was it beautiful but walking about big sand dunes always gives your legs a good work out.

Outer Banks Trekking up an endless sand dune

Trekking up an endless sand dune

Here are some other main attractions that are definitely worth checking out. Keep reading after, for our off the beaten path explorations of the Outer Banks.

  • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse:

    • It is just about a little over an hour scenic drive to this famous light house.
    • You can also find a great surfing location: Buxton: by the jetties where the lighthouse used to be

    Outer Banks Iconic lighthouse and rad surf spot. Live Swell

  • The Wright Brother’s Memorial

    : We travel a lot for work and spend our lives on airplanes, so how could we not visit the place that honors the first iconic flight of the Wright Brothers.

    • You can find this memorial that commemorates the Wright Brothers first iconic flight in their 1903 Flyer right in Kill Devil Hills. There is also an interesting museum but be prepared for a bit of an uphill walk to the memorial.

    Outer Banks Wright Brothers Memorial Live Swell

  • The Wild Horses of the Outer Banks

    : Unfortunately on this trip we did not make it to see the wild horses. Update: We finally made it to see the Wild Horses which is truly a unique experience. For where to get the best experience to view the wild horses, you will definitely want to read Want a Unique Experience in OBX? Run with the Wild Horses.

Off the beaten path: Sometimes it’s fun to just explore:

Finding Sea Shells

Outer Banks Find Sea Shells in OBX

The Outer Banks is a great place for sea shells. The best time to look is just when a storm is ending or after a storm has passed, or be sure check just off the shoreline or under the clusters of grass that wash up to shore. There are also nearby like Ocracoke Island that are more untouched and kind of a journey to get too, but you will be able to fill many bags with shells. For more insider info into how to find shells, be sure to check out How to Find a Whelk in OBX.

Sunsets in the Outer Banks

Outer Banks Where is the best place to see a sunset? We asked our host of the AirBnB we stayed at. The answer: •Enjoy a beautiful sunset overlooking the Sound.

Where is the best place to see a sunset? We asked our host of the AirBnB we stayed at. The answer: Go to the Sound to enjoy a beautiful sunset. It is best enjoyed by bicycle if you have one.

Avalon Fishing Pier

Outer Banks The Avalon Fishing Pier is a great place to see what the locals are catching, play some arcade games, enjoy a beer and stunning views of the beach.

The Avalon Fishing Pier is a great place to see what the locals are catching, play some arcade games, enjoy a beer and stunning views of the beach. Stopping by any of the pier along the Outer banks can always nice to check out

Outer Banks Surfing – Cool local surf spot and beach!

Outer Banks Michael enjoying an afternoon surf session at First Street Beach.

Outer Banks Surfing – Michael enjoying an afternoon session at First Street Beach

This surf spot is a local favorite and was walking distance from the chill beach & surf bungalow!

Outer Banks Me enjoying the sun and the sand.

Me enjoying the sun and the sand.


The flavors of the Outer Banks:

For us, it was shrimp, shrimp, and more shrimp! The Outer Banks has plenty of good restaurants, but we loved using the grill at the chill beach & surf bungalow and cooking up some of the local ingredients for an Outer Banks Feast!

Outer Banks Create your own feast with a table side grill at the chill beach & surf bungalow.

Create your own feast with a table side grill at the chill beach & surf bungalow.

We found two great local places to get great fresh seafood from.

Outer Banks Carawan Seafood, Co. Inc.

Carawan Seafood, Co. Inc.



  •     Carawan Seafood, Co., Inc. is located in Kitty Hawk. A great selection of fresh seafood.
  •     Billy’s Seafood is located in Collington, which a beautiful area to drive through. It also has a great  selection NC shrimp, scallops, crabs and fresh fish and a great cocktail sauce (If you like some strong horseradish).



Here is a list of a few tasty places to try if you don’t feel like being your own chef:

  • John’s Drive In: They have a great fried fish sandwich, we like to get it with tartar sauce. Also be sure to give their boats a try!
  • Capt’n Franks: This is a local favorite with great hot dogs and steamed shrimp.
  • Awful Arthur’s:The Outer Banks only authentic oyster bar is the place to enjoy sensational fare from the sea washed down with your favorite brew. The menu boasts oysters, shrimp, clams, crab cakes and crab legs.
  • Outer Banks Brewing Station: This local restaurant is the first wind powered Brewery in America! Stop in for some local brewed beers and fantastic food.

We hope you enjoyed our Outer Banks Surfing Trip and more! 

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