The Outer Banks is famous for its beauty and mellow beach vibes. In contrast to many built up areas of the East Coast, Outer Banks beaches have a small town feel with a few high rise buildings obscuring the skyline. There are many beach accesses lining Highway 158, simply called "The Beach Road" by locals, and while you really can’t go wrong with with an Outer Banks beach, a few stand out above the rest.
If you’re in the northern Outer Banks and have a four-wheel drive vehicle, Corolla Beach is the place to be. North of the town of Corolla, you can drive straight onto the beach and all the way up to the Virginia border! There are sure to be other people and cars on this beach, but with such a large area to drive, you can find secluded spots even in the height of summer.
The Kill Devil Hills/Nags Head area is a great place to hit the beach due to its central location and proximity to restaurants. The best beaches here can be accessed at some of the fishing and sightseeing piers. Avalon Pier, Nags Head Pier and Jeanette’s Pier are all great spots to enjoy the ocean and appreciate expansive views of the coastline. These piers modify the shore, creating wider areas of beach in their vicinity. Additionally, they serve as point breaks for some of the best surfing on the East Coast!
Coquina Beach is arguably the most beautiful beach of the northern Outer Banks. Located just inside Cape Hatteras National Seashore, this beach is untouched by development— no shops or rental houses in sight. The large, sweeping sand dunes give the it a wild and remote feel, even though it’s not far from Nags Head.
If you’re able to make the drive to Hatteras Island, you’ll find even more seclusion. One beach access to check out is Rodanthe Pier and beach. The town of Rodanthe is small and mostly residential, so there are often fewer crowds in this area— but if you’re this far south already, you might as well head down to Hatteras Village and Cape Point Beach. Here you can enjoy the lovely shoreline, climb the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and fish at one of the best spots in North Carolina.