5 Great OBX Kayaking Spots


The Outer Banks is teeming with water sport activities. From windsurfing to stand up paddle boarding, there is a little something for everyone, no matter your skill level.

Kayaking is by far one of the most popular water sports, and reasonably so, as it is versatile enough that just about anyone can do it! The area is full of amazing opportunities for all types of kayaking, from exciting open-water adventures to peaceful trips across the area’s many calm waterways. The following are 5 great kayaking spots to get you out of your rental and into the water on your next OBX Vacation.

Ocean Kayaking

Offering kayakers an exciting rush, ocean kayaking takes a certain degree of skill. Learning to master the balance of wave riding and paddling is similar to that of surfing, and it takes time to hone the technique. The following are 3 popular open water spots for intermediate-advanced kayakers available on the Outer Banks:

  1. Old Lighthouse Spot in Buxton

The jetties, which were built to protect the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in the spot it used to stand, are still in place today. These structures provide exceptional wave conditions, although the jetties are rocky, so kayak here at your own risk.

OBX 2006: Hatteras light observation deck
Photo Credit: Earl – What I Saw 2.0 via Compfight cc

  1. S-Curves of Rodanthe

Named after the twisting, curving Highway 12 which cuts through this area, the S-Curves create an excellent spot for ideal tides and is one of the most popular places by locals and tourists alike to catch a ride on the Outer Banks.

Fly Away
Photo Credit: Curt Fleenor Photography via Compfight cc

  1. Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head

Good for experienced kayakers, Jennette’s Pier is an especially exciting location. The colliding of the waves against the pilings of the pier brings fun yet challenging conditions to the kayaker.

Jennette's Pier. Note the wind turbines.
Jennette’s Pier. Note the wind turbines.

Photo Credit: WilliamMarlow via Compfight cc

Sound Kayaking                         

A perfect way to relax and enjoy nature at your own pace is to take a kayak out into the sound. Pick up the pace of your paddling for a moderate work out, or slow down and absorb the scenery around you. Sound kayaking is perfect for the whole family, as younger kids can handle the calmer waters. The Outer Banks is home to 5 different sounds that are great for kayaking; the following are two that are sure to deliver an enjoyable trip:


  1. Roanoke Island-Manteo

Some of the most scenic kayaking can be found in Manteo, as it offers a variety of things to enjoy while paddling by. Kayak past the busy downtown waterfront, enjoy an up-close view of the Marshes Light lighthouse, and then cruise around Shallowbag Bay and into the Roanoke Sound.

The Sky is on Fire: Pink Sunset Roanoke Island
The Sky is on Fire: Pink Sunset Roanoke Island

Photo Credit: InAweofGod’sCreation via Compfight cc


  1. Nags Head

If you climb over Jockey’s Ridge in Nags Head, you’ll come to a group of wooded trails which lead you right to the Albemarle Sound. Here you will find an easily accessible launch site perfect for setting out to leisurely explore the borders of the maritime forest. Time your trip just right to catch a beautiful sunset.

So whether you are a beginner and want to embark on an easy-going cruise around one of the Outer Banks’ sounds or bays, or you are looking for an adventure and are ready to take it to the high (but not too high) seas, check out one of these locations on your next Outer Banks vacation.

Nags Head, NC, sound side.
Nags Head, NC, sound side.

 Photo Credit: Brian Hathcock via Compfight cc

Featured Image: Photo Credit: BOBXNC via Compfight cc