Relatively empty beaches and warming temperatures await visitors to the Outer Banks in spring.

Outer Banks in Spring

A spring break in the Outer Banks of North Carolina can be just what you need for reinvigoration after the long winter months. Enjoy the crashing ocean waves, sunny skies, and fresh sea air! The Outer Banks in April and May, in particular, isn’t quite at its peak travel time yet. That means crowds are smaller and costs are, too. The Outer Banks in Spring has a lot to offer!

Restaurants and attractions are emerging from winter hibernation and the weather can be nice, too. Many rental homes offer amenities that are ideal for this in-between time of the year, such as heated pools, gas fireplaces, and hot tubs.

Weather for Outer Banks in Spring

Spring starts cool in the Outer Banks but it warms up quickly. The start of spring at the end of March sees average high temperatures approaching the 60s Fahrenheit. The weather in the Outer Banks in April sees a slow warming. By the end of spring in May, average high temperatures are in the low 70s. There are, of course, above and below-average days but rarely does it go back into the 40s at night or up past the mid-80s during the day. But ocean temperatures (and unheated pools) will still be a bit too cold for most.

In terms of rainfall, the spring is relatively quiet. There’s always a chance of rain, but the summer sees most of the precipitation. This also means humidity is lower than during those hotter summer months.

Another benefit of spring is that days are getting longer! Spring sees more than twelve hours of sunlight each day.

Things to Do in the Outer Banks in the Spring (and Spring Break!)

Early in spring, it can be difficult to find shops and activities that are open, especially on weekdays. Family-oriented activities like shopping, miniature golf, and movie theaters will be hit or miss. Island Farm, for example, opens in March and hosts a special opening day celebration that includes sheep shearing.

But as spring progresses, many shops and activities will be open for the season. Because of the unpredictability, always call ahead or do your research online.

Outdoor & Adventure Activities in OBX in Spring

Early in the spring, offerings for outdoor activities can be patchy but will quickly ramp up as temperatures warm. Adventure companies offering water sports like kayaking and surfing are available, but options may be limited depending on what specific activity you’re interested in. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your kayak or surfboard though.

And you will still be able to find a few options offering tours. Kitty Hawk Kites does run tours throughout the year. If you’re looking for something more adventurous and a little less wet to enjoy in the Outer Banks in the spring, you can still usually find hang gliding lessons for booking, too.

There are some outdoor activities you can enjoy no matter the season. There are some great trails for walking, hiking, and running throughout the region. For a more wooded hike explore Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve, which includes the area’s only covered bridge. If you prefer to stick to the water, the Duck Boardwalk along the Currituck Sound offers spectacular views.

The only covered bridge in the Outer Banks is hidden in the Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve.

The Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve offers a different side of the OBX in spring.

Fishing in Outer Banks in Spring

If you enjoy fishing, Outer Banks in the spring is just for you. March is great for tuna while April and May are ideal for amberjack, black drum, bluefin, redfish, and speckled trout. The piers around the region, like Jeanette’s, are still open. Or, you can simply head to the beach for surf fishing. Be sure to have a North Carolina fishing license.

Spring Bird Watching in OBX

Each year, migratory birds fly south for the winter and north for the summer. The Outer Banks just happens to be along the Atlantic Flyway route that traces the United States’ eastern seaboard. That makes it ideal for observing migration in action. The Pine Island Audubon Center names some of the best birdwatching locations along the Outer Banks, including the Elizabethan Gardens and the Corolla area of Currituck Lighthouse and Whalehead Club.

OBX Lighthouses, Parks, & Beaches in the Spring

The Outer Banks is full of history. Many of the parks and historical sites, like Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Wright Brothers National Memorial, and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, are open year-round. The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island and the nearby Elizabethan Gardens are also open most or all of the year.

If you’re feeling like taking in the lighthouses, keep an eye on the calendar. While the grounds of the lighthouses of the Outer Banks are open all year, climbing to the top is seasonal. For 2024, Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla is open March 23rd through November 30th while Bodie Island Lighthouse is open from mid-April through October. Since 2023, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has been under construction and is hoping to be reopened to visitors by the summer of 2024.

The beaches are, of course, open throughout the year but there will not be any lifeguards on duty during the Outer Banks off-season. In addition to having the beaches virtually to yourself, the beaches are still dog-friendly during the off-season! While it depends on the specific region, a safe rule is that dogs are still generally allowed before Memorial Day. Some localities limit the hours and there are sometimes leash requirements.

The Currituck Sound offers a quiet moment in the spring in Outer Banks.

The Duck Boardwalk offers unparalleled views of the Currituck Sound.

The Town of Duck in North Carolina has a nearly mile-long boardwalk along the Currituck Sound.

Spring Events in the Outer Banks

If you think the spring is quiet and uneventful, then think again! There is no shortage of events that bring the community and visitors together throughout the spring. There are Easter and Spring Break events like egg hunts. Kitty Hawk Kites host the Fly Into Spring Festival and the Easter Eggstravaganza while Elizabethan Gardens hosts Eastertide in the Gardens.

Runners are spoilt for choice with many events, like the Flying Pirate Half-Marathon, Nags Head Woods 5K, Scallywag 5K/10K and Blackbeard’s 1/2 Marathon on Ocracoke Island, Blackbeard’s Revenge 100.

Bike week sees motorcycle enthusiasts rolling in while foodies will be excited for Taste of the Beach and Lost Colony Wine, Art & Culinary Festival.

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Relatively empty beaches and warming temperatures await visitors to the Outer Banks in spring. Plan for your Outer Banks spring break.

All opinions, as well as all photos, are my own.

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