You’ve probably come across the name Kitty Hawk before. It’s a well known North Carolina fact that in the 1900s, the Wright Brothers conducted groundbreaking flight experiments in our own Outer Banks. The legacy of Kitty Hawk is inseparable from the early days of aviation, and today it’s one of the most charming towns in the OBX. The area’s architectural charm revolves around historic beach homes, creating a delightful small-town atmosphere.
The name Kitty Hawk is thought to originate from an indigenous phrase meaning “a place to hunt geese.” While the town now boasts various attractions drawing visitors each year, the goose population remains resilient. The Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve is home to adorable residents, including otters and sea turtles and exploring is one of the best things to do in Kitty Hawk!
Additionally, Kitty Hawk is renowned for hosting some of the Northern Outer Banks’ largest waves, making it a popular destination for surfing and skimboarding. From learning about the Wright Brothers to hiking in Jockey’s Ridge State Park, there are plenty of things to do in Kitty Hawk. Let’s dig in!
The Best Things To Do In Kitty Hawk
1. Wright Brothers National Memorial
- Address: 1000 N Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills (GPS)
- Hours: Monday- Sunday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
The site of the Wright Brothers National Memorial is where Wilbur and Orville Wright spent years working on advancing the world with the power of flight, and it’s one of the things to do in Kitty Hawk that is likely on every visitor’s list. Visitors can pay homage to the Wright Brothers and visit significant spots like the hill where they completed their first historic flight, cheerfully named Kill Devil Hill, and even the spot where the plane landed.
The Memorial is located on Kill Devil Hill, and on the south side of the Hill is the December 17, 1903 Sculpture, a life-sized sculpture of the Wright Brothers and the plane that marked their first successful flight. While this might seem like a spot for aviation enthusiasts, history buffs will also enjoy it.
There are period-accurate flight hangars and living quarters, allowing visitors to taste what life was like during those times.
2. Jockey’s Ridge State Park
- Address: 300 W Carolista Dr, Nags Head (GPS)
- Hours: Monday -Sunday: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Jockey’s Ridge State Park is one of the best state parks in NC and home to the tallest living dune on the Atlantic coast and is a natural marvel. Visitors can explore the massive dune field, go sandboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, sightseeing, and kite-flying.
One of the most popular activities is hang-gliding and there’s even a vendor where you can find guides and rent equipment. Located in Dare County on the Outer Banks, outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring this Park and for those not wanting to get sand in their shoes, there is a 360-foot boardwalk filled with exhibits that explain the ecology of the surroundings.
The entrance to the Park is located on Carolista Drive, at milepost 12 on the Highway 158 (South Croatan Highway) bypass.
3. Wine & Dine At Trio Wine Beer & Cheese
- Address: 3708 N Croatan Hwy, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Monday -Saturday: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sunday: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Foodies rejoice! TRiO Wine Beer & Cheese is a gourmet food and drink destination, offering more than 30 wines, 24 craft beers, more than 70 artisanal cheeses, and a variety of unique local and imported food goods.
One of Kitty Hawk’s favorite establishments, the ambiance is cosmopolitan, casual, and inviting, and visitors are sure to have a good time.
In addition to being an eatery for all these treats, you can also purchase goods to take back and enjoy them at your leisure. TRiO is located on N Croatan Highway and is open on weekdays from 11 AM to 11 PM and on weekends from 10 AM to 11 PM.
4. Angling At Avalon Pier
- Address: MP6 in Kill Devil Hills (GPS)
- Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 6:00 am – 12:00 am
- Cost of Admission: Adults: $17.50 Child: $6.00 (17 and under)
Avalon Pier is the go-to fishing spot for locals and visitors alike. Located at MP 6, and open from 6 AM to midnight, this 700-foot-long pier has the best fishing in the area, with spot, croaker, mullet, puffers, bluefish, speckled trout, and puppy drum being the most common catches.
The Pier also has a tackle shop and rental equipment, and there’s a lot to do besides fishing too. Snack Shack has some of the best food, featuring a menu filled with finger food, sandwiches, burgers, and seafood delights. If you’re looking to enjoy live music, BeachBar has performances almost every night.
A day pass to the Pier costs $17.50 ($6 for those under 18) and you can come and go from the Pier as you please without having to pay again for entry. Just make sure you keep your pass safe and with you at all times.
5. Milepost Portraits
- Hours: 24hrs
- Cost of Admission: A couple’s session costs $395 and $450 for a family of 5.
While this exeperience is somewhat on the more expensive side, it could be a great way for you to make lasting memories of your trip with your family or friends. Milepost Portraits have made a name for themselves in the Outer Banks area as one of the best beach photographers. A couple’s session costs $395, and $450 for a family of 5.
6. Art’s Place
- Address: 4624 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 7:00 am – 9:00 om
If you’re looking for the best burger in town, look no further than Art’s Place. Located on N Virginia Dare Trail, the colorful sign is very hard to miss and you can enjoy some incredible burgers that people have been enjoying for more than 30 years.
The menu features classic American cuisine and the hand-cut fries are considered a house specialty. You can also enjoy some live music while eating your meal!
7. Sea Scape Golf Links
- Address: 300 W Eckner St, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Kitty Hawk offers golf enthusiasts one of the most unique golfing experiences with Sea Scape Golf Links. This is one of the premier golf courses in the Outer Banks, and the windswept dunes, maritime forest, and coastal views offer golfers something very different from what they’d find elsewhere.
Sea Scape Golf Links is open all year round and also features a fully stocked pro shop and club rentals. The on-site restaurant, the SeaScape Bar & Grill, also offers excellent food and drink, allowing for the perfect end to a day of golfing.
8. Scarborough Lanes Shoppes
- Address: 1177 Duck Rd, Duck (GPS)
- Hours: 24 hours
Duck, NC, is a small village located a short distance from Kitty Hawk and is colloquially known as the Rodeo Drive of the Outer Banks.
This is because the village wanted itself to be considered the premier shopping destination in the Outer Banks and one of the most charming ways it has delivered is the Scarborough Lane Shoppes located on Duck Road.
Visitors have a variety of shops to choose from where they can buy household goods, decor, art, jewelry, and even pamper their pets, and two of the best restaurants in town are also located here.
The entire area is designed like an old life-saving station, to pay homage to the history and culture of the area. The fact that it’s built around a garden in a grove of shady trees makes the shopping experience all the more charming.
9. OB-XSCAPE Rooms
- Address: 1 Ocean Blvd Suite 108-111, Southern Shores (GPS)
- Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Saturday: 11:30 am – 9:00 pm
If you want to spend an evening enjoying some wholesome family fun, head over to OB-XSCAPE Rooms. You and your group will be locked in a room and be required to solve puzzles and riddles and follow clues to escape. Each room has a different theme and difficulty level, with charges ranging from $35 to $50 per person.
10. Nor’banks Sailing & Watersports
If you’re looking for extreme water sports and cruising on the water, then look no further than Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports. Open from May to September, visitors can enjoy sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, wave runners, parasailing, wakeboarding, water-skiing, and tubing.
If you’re looking to buy some gear and clothing, then Nor’Banks is a great option since they stock an impressive inventory.
11. Kitty Hawk Kayak & Surf School
- Address: 6150 N Croatan Hwy, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
- Cost of Admission: Per adventure ticket prices, check here.
If you’re new to watersports, then your trip to Kitty Hawk can be the perfect opportunity to learn because of the Kitty Hawk Kayak & Surf School. Located on N Croatan Highway Milepost 1, with lessons for surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking, you’ll be enjoying the water in no time.
If you already have experience, then you can also rent gear like surfboards, kayaks, paddleboards, skimboards, and wetsuits, and just go out on the water to enjoy. The best part is that the School offers a price match guarantee, so you’re sure to get the best rates in town.
12. Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet
- Address: 4117 N Croatan Hwy, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Thursday – Saturday: 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm
There are few food experiences better than enjoying seafood at the beach. Well, at Jimmy’s Seafood Buffet located on N Croatan Highway, you can enjoy an entire Caribbean-style seafood buffet.
The menu includes treats like crab legs, lobster, and crab-stuffed mushrooms, along with an assortment of salads, soups, entrees, sides, and desserts. The buffet costs $55 for adults, and, for kids, $29.99, except on Wednesdays when kids eat for $49.99.
13. Lotus Day Spa & Boutique
- Address: 3810 N Croatan Hwy Unit J, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Located inside Buccaneer Walk Shops at milepost marker 4.5, Lotus Day Spa & Boutique offers the relaxation that people look for on holiday. Inside the calm and relaxing atmosphere of the spa is a well-trained staff specializing in facials, reflexology, massage, manicure, pedicure, and microdermabrasion.
The spa exclusively uses Dermalogica® Skin Care products, ensuring the highest quality treatment for your skin. If you plan on taking a large group then be sure to call ahead to book your spots since the spa is quite popular with the locals.
14. B&B Antiques
- Address: 3810 N Croatan Hwy, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Tuesday -Saturday: 10:30 am – 4:30 pm
Also located in Buccaneer’s Walk is B&B Antiques, a treasure trove for collectors where they can find row after row of antiques, porcelain figures, beach-house decor, furniture, vintage neon signs, fishing lures, and all manner of collectibles.
The store also carries works of art from local artists and has an impressive collection of rare books, as well. Expect to spend a lot of time in this store since there’s so much to browse through. B&B Antiques is located at 3810 N Croatan Highway and is open from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM.
15. Black Pelican Oceanfront Restaurant
- Address: 3848 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 9:00 pm
The Black Pelican Oceanfront Restaurant is one of the premier restaurants, not just in Kitty Hawk, but the entire Outer Banks area. The Restaurant features a large menu, catering to all ages and tastes, and has an impressive selection of drinks as well.
The amazing food and drinks notwithstanding, the panoramic views of the ocean make the experience even better. You can enjoy the view regardless of whether you’re in the dining room or the deck area.
History buffs will also have a great time here since the building was constructed in 1874 and previously used as a United States Lifesaving Station. The restaurant’s rustic decor is also a great homage to the maritime history of the building.
16. I Got Your Crabs Shellfish Market & Oyster Bar
- Address: 3809 N Croatan Hwy, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 12: 00pm – 8:00 pm, Friday &
Saturday: 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
If you’re planning a BBQ while you’re in Kitty Hawk and want to get some choice seafood, then head on over to “I Got Your Crabs“. Open from 12 PM to 9 PM every day, you can buy quality oysters and crabs in bulk at great prices.
Before you get your shellfish, you can even enjoy some fresh oysters with a cold beer at the Oyster Bar. “I Got Your Crabs” is located at 3809 North Croatan Highway at Milepost 4.25. You’ll see a strip mall with a blue roof on the beachside. Look out for a large flag pole with an American Flag and a bright orange, crab flag.
17. John’s Drive-In
- Address: 3716 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Friday – Monday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Located just by the beach on N Virginia Dare Trails is a small unassuming white building that is the perfect example of never judging a book by its cover. This is the home of John’s Drive-In, an Outer Banks institution that has been serving some of the best milkshakes in the area since 1977.
People have been known to drive for hours just to enjoy a milkshake and an ice cream at John’s Drive-In. The shop is open from 11 AM to 5 PM, except on Wednesdays when the shop is closed.
18. Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve
- Address: Kitty Hawk, NC (GPS)
The Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve is a dedicated nature preserve that spans almost 1,890 acres. Bordered by Kitty Hawk Bay and Kitty Hawk Bay Islands to the south and Albemarle Sound on the west, visitors can explore to their heart’s content and appreciate the natural beauty of North Carolina.
The Reserve has a variety of ecological systems, including maritime deciduous forests, maritime swamp forests, interdune ponds, and dunes. The Reserve is also a great place to visit for bird watching, especially during migration season.
19. Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar
- Address: 4700 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 am – 9: 00 pm
The Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar is a favorite food spot for both locals of the Outer Banks and visitors. The menu features American cuisine with many seasonal dishes. There’s also an impressive selection of wines, and the bar staff knows how to make a mean martini.
The restaurant is located across from Kitty Hawk Beach and is often busy, so be sure to call ahead and reserve a table. If you’re planning a takeout, then you should also call well in advance and the staff will let you know when to pick up.
The restaurant can get busy so if you just show up and order a takeout you might be waiting a long while.
20. Barefoot Bernie’s Tropical Grill & Bar
- Address: 3730 N Croatan Hwy, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Monday: Sunday : 11: 00 am – 9:00 pm
While not as old and established as some of the other restaurants we’ve mentioned in this list, Benny’s has managed to make a mark on the area’s restaurant scene. The restaurant mainly does island cuisine and features a tropical-themed ambiance without overdoing it.
The colorful walls are filled with travel posters, unique light fixtures, and tropical decorations. Bernie’s is located at 3730 N Croatan Highway.
21. High Cotton BBQ
- Address: 5230 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Ever since BBQ cuisine entered the mainstream, North Carolina has managed to hold a unique place among food lovers with its signature style of BBQ with its hickory smoked flavor, charred sweet meat exterior, and pink coloring.
High Cotton BBQ is one of the best OBX restaurants and stays true to this signature style and has been feeding locals and visitors some of the best BBQ food in the area. The house sweet tea is a specialty and they serve incredible side dishes as well.
22. Knitting Addiction
- Address: 3708 N Croatan Hwy #2, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
- Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
It might sound like an old-person hobby, but if you get into knitting once, it can actually be very addictive. And if you’ve already been bitten by the knitting bug, the aptly named “Knitting Addiction” in Kill Devil Hills is there to take the edge off.
All items sold by the shop are from reputable manufacturers like Crystal Palace Yarns, Oat Couture, Vermont Fiber Designs, and Blue Sky Alpacas, and you’ll find all the yarns, needles, and books on knitting that you could ever need. The staff is incredibly helpful and will be happy to guide you on any knitting queries or challenges.
They also offer knitting classes for anyone who might want to consider knitting as a hobby. Knitting Addiction is open seven days a week, from 10 AM to 6 PM (on Sundays till 4 PM).
23. Sandy Run Park
- Address: 4343 The Woods Rd, Kitty Hawk (GPS)
Located at 4343 The Woods Road, the 16-acre Sandy Run Park offers a lot of amenities and is well-maintained for a public park. The Park has a nature walk, allowing pedestrian access as well as water through canoe or kayak.
The nature walk stretches about half a mile and also features two gazebos, a nature observation tower, and a fishing pier. If you do decide to fish then remember that it’s catch and release only.
24. OBX Bowling Center
- Address: 200 W Satterfield Landing Rd, Nags Head (GPS)
- Cost of Admission: For ticket prices, click here.
Located on West Satterfield Landing Road at Milepost 10 in Nags Head, is another attraction for some family fun. OBX Bowling Center has bowling, an arcade, and a cafe that offers food to everyone’s taste. The Center also hosts many bowling league tournaments and other events, so you’re sure to find something to keep you entertained here.
25. H2OBX Waterpark
- Address: 8526 Caratoke Hwy, Powells Point (GPS)
One of the best things to do in Kitty Hawk with the kids is head to H2OBX Waterpark on a hot day. With more than 30 water rides, slides, and attractions for all ages, there’s enough fun for the entire family. The Park is located less than 10 miles from Kitty Hawk and is usually open from 10 AM to 6 PM, but these times might be subject to change because of weather, so best to check before you leave for the waterpark.
Passes for people over the height of 42 inches cost $42.99, while those under 42 inches and people over 65 years of age can enter by paying $32.99. However, if you want to save some money then head on over after 3 PM, when everyone can enter for a flat rate of $32.99.
Plan For Your Trip to the South!
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- See our favorite cooler for the road!
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