Sandy beach
Hike-in Required
Snorkeling / SCUBA
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

In Nags Head, the beach is quite clean and beautiful year round. Although summer brings considerable crowds, there are many little beach accesses to be found lining NC Highway 12— simply called "The Beach Road" by locals. One of the best places to park your car and hit the beach is Nags Head Pier.  

At 750 feet, Nags Head Pier is one of the state's oldest piers. Like all Outer Banks piers, its proximity to the Gulf Stream makes it a great spot to fish and view wildlife. Seabirds and dolphins are often seen and if you're lucky, during late fall and early spring, whales can be seen as they migrate between polar waters and the Caribbean. Even when there are no marine mammals to see, walking out on the pier offers great views of the shoreline and ocean during any season. The fee for sightseeing on the pier is $2.00.

Surrounding the pier, Nags Head Beach stretches out for miles. The beach is generally wider in Nags Head than in Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk due to recent beach restoration efforts. Depending on the day, ocean conditions can be calm and glassy or wild and wavy. Make sure to check the weather and surf report to see what type of activities are best suited to each day. Swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, ocean kayaking and tanning on the beach are all great choices.

Lifeguard stands are located at a number of beach accesses in Nags Head and are staffed during daylight hours between Memorial Day and mid-October. Be sure to check out which beach accesses have lifeguard stands before you go.

Logistics + Planning



Parking Pass

Pier Access Fee


Clean. Wide beach. Good surfing.


Crowded on summer days. Limited parking.


ADA accessible
Bird watching


Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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