The Ultimate 7 Day Outer Banks Itinerary

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A lake with a small structure, trees, and a brown lighthouse on the shore
The Outer Banks is home to stunning beaches, historic lighthouses, and much more

The Outer Banks are a series of barrier islands in North Carolina that have recently risen to stardom thanks to the Netflix original series, Outer Banks. Despite what you might have heard, the Outer Banks is more than just a mysterious compass, teenage angst, and John B.

The islands are a natural wonderland that truly embodies the saying, "There's something for everyone." They're 200 miles long and are rarely more than a mile wide. Although usually low-lying, some naturally formed sand dunes in the Outer Banks rise to more than 100 feet.

Full of natural beauty and wild adventures, these islands are a family-friendly and budget-friendly destination. There are also several exciting and interesting towns on the Outer Banks of North Carolina to explore.

If you are looking to make the most of a week-long trip to the Outer Banks, this 1 week in Outer Banks itinerary will help you experience the best of what they have to offer!

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🏨 Top accommodations in the Outer Banks

☂️ Top tours and experiences in the Outer Banks

1 Week Outer Banks Itinerary

Outer Banks 7-Day Itinerary Video

Check out our highlights video of the stops covered in this Outer Banks itinerary.

Outer Banks 7-Day Itinerary Map

A map of Outer Banks. Use the map to explore all the days and stops.

Outer Banks 7-Day Itinerary Map

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Currituck & Corolla

Ensure to include a visit to the Currituck and Corolla in your Outer Banks itinerary
Start your exciting Outer Banks itinerary by visiting scenic Currituck

Your perfect 7-day Outer Banks itinerary starts in the northernmost part of the islands. This is the best way to see all of the Outer Banks without having to backtrack. The northern parts of the Outer Banks are a bit wilder than the other parts of the islands. This makes the area ideal for nature lovers.

There are several ways to get to the Outer Banks, with most either driving or flying in. Airports close to the Outer Banks include both international and regional ones.

Horses on the shore next to the sea with rolling waves under the clear blue sky
You may encounter wild Spanish mustangs while exploring Currituck and Corolla

See Wild Horses at the Beach

You've probably heard about the wild Spanish mustangs that roam free in the Outer Banks. To see these beauties, you will need to head to the northernmost beaches in Currituck and Corolla.

During the Colonial era, explorers from Spain brought the Mustangs with them to explore the area. Now, seeing the descendants of the horses in the wild is a must-see while in the Outer Banks.

You don't need to book a tour to see them for yourself. Typically, people drive on the beaches to get to the horses. For this, a 4-wheel drive will be necessary.

If you don't have a 4-wheel drive and don't want to rent one, you can walk. You will probably have to walk about two miles to reach the horses, but the reward is worth the effort! Before leaving the area, take a swim, hunt for shark teeth, or go shelling at Corolla Beach.

A tall brick lighthouse surrounded by trees under a blue sky with clouds
You can climb to the top of the Currituck Lighthouse for amazing views

Currituck Beach Lighthouse & Historic Corolla Park

End your first day by walking the 220 steps to the top of Currituck Beach Lighthouse for perfect views of the historic Whalehead Club and Currituck Sound. In the late 1800s, the lighthouse's beacon began lighting the way for ships along the North Carolina coast.

The area off of the Outer Banks coast is called the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" due to the number of boats that capsized in the area. A large number of the lost and sunken ships reported in 1872 led to the Currituck Lighthouse being built three years later.

Before leaving, take the short walk across the road to Historic Corolla Park. The park offers a view of the sound, plus crabbing, fishing, and a gorgeous wooden footbridge.

If you have a kayak or canoe, there is an area where you can launch it from in the park. For photographers or those looking for the perfect Instagram shot, there are a lot of pretty photo opportunities along the water and wooden boardwalks in front of the Whalehead Club.

🏨 Accommodation close to Historic Corolla Park

Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, & Nags Head

A sandy beach with houses and a few people next to the ocean on a partly cloudy day
Unwind on the beaches of Nags Head as you explore further along the Outer Banks

Day two of your Outer Banks itinerary includes learning about the area's history and getting adventurous on the sand dunes. You can also relax on a beach and much more while continuing to make your way down the Outer Banks.

A sandy shore with the ocean on one side and beach houses on the other
Kitty Hawk has excellent beaches and some famous landmarks

Kitty Hawk

On your second day in the Outer Banks, head south to Kitty Hawk. You can learn more about the Wright brothers and the way they shaped aviation as we know it today at the Monument to a Century of Flight.

Next, head to Sandy Run Park. It's one of the best places in Kitty Hawk because it has wooden boardwalks reaching out over the marshes, and you can always catch sight of turtles, fish, ducks, and other wildlife. This park is popular among locals more than tourists, making it an excellent option for getting away from the crowds.

Before heading south, stop by the Avalon Pier for a relaxing break. Grab a snack and enjoy it on the pier while you watch the surfers and kayakers in the ocean.

🏨 Accommodation close to Kitty Hawk

EWY Media/
A model of an old-fashioned airplane on the sand with a plaque in front of it
Kill Devil Hills is home to the Wright Brothers National Monument

Kill Devil Hills

Next, it's time to head south to Kill Devil Hills. Yes, this town has a rather strange name that comes from a type of bird that used to inhabit the area. The Killdeer gave the place the nickname of Killdeer Hills, which became Kill Devil Hills over time.

Kill Devil Hills is famous for being the birthplace of flight, which leads us to the Wright Brothers National Monument. Diving into the area's history is a great way to truly experience and appreciate where you are. You can learn about the Wright brothers and their iconic first flight at the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

Make sure you bring your walking shoes and plenty of water if you visit in the summer months. If you're traveling with kids, this is an excellent stop in the Outer Banks. Children 15 and younger get in for free!

Before you leave town, head to Ocean Bay Blvd for a swim or a walk on the beach. After all, the Outer Banks is famous for its beaches. Ahead of going to a beach, though, make sure you check the wind speeds. The islands can occasionally be too windy to enjoy the beaches. A quick Google search can tell you what the conditions will be like on the beach in Kill Devil Hills.

🏨 Stay nearby Kill Devil Hills

A sandy area with houses and the blue ocean in front of it under a blue sky
You can enjoy adventure activities in Nags Head or just relax at the beach

Nags Head

End your second day with adventure in Nags Head! Nags Head is home to Jockey's Ridge State Park. If you were to ask what's the #1 thing to see in the Outer Banks, Jockey's Ridge would be neck and neck with seeing the wild horses. Its beauty is unreal!

The state park has the tallest natural sand dune on the East Coast and the perfect conditions for kite flying and hang gliding. You can take your own hang gliding lesson in the park. If hang gliding isn't your thing, head to the First Flight Adventure Park. They have different aerial obstacle courses for varying levels of difficulty. They each have their own zip line, too!

The best way to end a day in Nags Head is by watching the sunset at Jennette's Pier. It's the oldest fishing pier in the Outer Banks and, without a doubt, the most beautiful.

🏨 Accommodation close to Nags Head

Roanoke Island

An old-fashioned ship replica on the water with trees behind it under a blue sky
Roanoke Island is known for its "lost colony," and the Roanoke Island Festival Park

This little barrier island is famous for its "lost colony" of settlers. It is one of the most entertaining and interesting islands in the Outer Banks, and you could easily spend a whole weekend exploring Roanoke Island.

Only 12 miles long and three miles wide on average, Roanoke was the first-attempted English settlement in North America. It's also the birthplace of Virginia Dare, the first child born of English parents in the New World.

Day three of your Outer Banks trip itinerary will be full of history and interesting educational sites. Make sure to bring your walking shoes, and if you're visiting in the summer, lots of water!

EWY Media/
A wooden outdoor theater with seating in the foreground and the ocean behind
Waterside Theatre is one of many attractions at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

The Fort Raleigh National Historic Site preserves the location of the Roanoke colony of 1587. The settlement was promoted and financed by Sir Walter Raleigh. Unfortunately, sometime between 1587 and 1590, supply ships failed to arrive at the colony. When the colony was next visited, the settlement had been abandoned, and no survivors were ever found.

The fate of the "lost colony" has never been solved. This history and the mystery of this settlement draw hundreds of thousands of people to this historic site each year. While you're here, you can see the "earthwork" that has been left behind. It is archaeological proof that metallurgical activity took place while people lived in Roanoke Colony.

You can also walk the 1.25-mile Freedom Trail that leads you to the Croatan Sound. Before you leave, make sure to stop at the Waterside Theatre. The Roanoke Island Historical Association puts on a drama at the Waterside Theatre about the Lost Colony. The show is a great way to educate yourself about the colony while also supporting the artists in Roanoke.

Island Farm

The Island Farm is a 19th-century farm that has been turned into a living museum. They have employees in period attire explaining what life was like on the farm when it was first established.

You can feed the animals and try products that were made on the farm. You can also learn how corn husk dolls were made, how to spin wool, and the process of turning corn into mill. Island Farm is an excellent stop for family and budget travelers.

🏨 Stay in close proximity to Island Farm

A lighthouse standing on a wooden platform surrounded by blue water and a blue sky
Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse has a mini museum for visitors to explore

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

Not your typical lighthouse, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is a beautiful little lighthouse that you can reach by walking out on a wooden boardwalk over the Bay.

Under the lighthouse is a little museum that you can explore for free. The best part about this lighthouse is its location. There are restaurants, shopping opportunities, and sweet shops, all within walking distance of the lighthouse.

Walk around and see what shops interest you. I recommend stopping by The Laughing Lollipop. They have typical yummy treats, but also some interesting and strange flavored candies as well.

Stop for dinner at one of the restaurants in the area that can be reached on foot. The Lost Colony Brewery and Cafe is one of the best breweries in the Outer Banks, a crowd favorite and has a great outdoor seating area.

🏨 Stay nearby Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

Bodie Island & Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

A wooden ramp leading to a black and white lighthouse surrounded by greenery
You can see landmarks like the Bodie Island Lighthouse on your fourth day

Day four is all about relaxation and enjoying nature. You'll spend time relaxing on the beach, driving on thin strips of the barrier island, and exploring the Outer Banks' marshlands.

There aren't any restaurants between Bodie Island and the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, so today would be a perfect day to have picnics!

A sandy beach with grass on one side and the ocean on the other under a blue sky
Relax, soak up the sun, and stroll on the sand at the stunning Coquina Beach

Coquina Beach

Spend your morning walking along Coquina Beach. It's a white sand beach that is expansive, so you shouldn't have any issues finding personal space.

If you're lucky, you may even see deer walking around in the dune grass on the beach. If you're traveling with young kids, keep in mind that the Outer Banks' beaches can get windy and have strong surf.

A tall lighthouse painted in black and white stripes amidst greenery
Be sure to add a visit to the Bodie Island Lighthouse to your Outer Banks itinerary

Bodie Island Lighthouse

The Bodie Island Lighthouse has had a turbulent history. Initially built in 1847, the Bodie Lighthouse sadly had to be abandoned due to a failing foundation. It was built up again in 1859 with better construction. The lighthouse once again was destroyed in 1861 by Confederate troops to keep it out of Union hands.

Today, the lighthouse wears the classic black and white stripes that we have grown to expect of a lighthouse. You can climb the 214 steps leading up ten stories to the top of the lighthouse to view Pamlico Sound, marshlands, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Watch out for rattlesnakes around the lighthouse. They are native to the area and like to hang out underneath the wooden boardwalks. If you were to see a rattlesnake, simply let it be. If you leave them alone and give them space, they will move on. Just stay on the boardwalk, and you'll be just fine.

Green grass next to a blue lake under a blue sky with white clouds
Experience nature up close at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

There are no buildings along the stretch of road through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Driving through the refuge is a beautiful experience. It's a thin strip of island with a small area of sand dunes and grass on either side of the road before turning into the sound and ocean.

There are many places to pull off in the refuge and park your vehicle. You can park along the road to find a perfect beach that fits your needs.

If you visit in the spring, you'll be able to see colorful wildflowers growing along the sand dunes. If you visit in the summer or a month before or after the summer months, you will need to make sure to bring bug spray.

Rodanthe, Salvo, & Avon

Two beach homes on a grassy area next to the water under a blue sky
Rodanthe is one of the most scenic places in the Outer Banks

Are you ready to spend another day in nature? Day five of your Outer Banks vacation itinerary is all about the beach and being adventurous, so pack your sunscreen, and let's get started!

Houses with white fences alongside a gravelly street under a cloudy sky
Chicamacomico Life Saving Station is a historic site featuring maritime equipment


Start your day in Rodanthe at the Chicamacomico Life Saving Station Historic Site. It's a former station that is now a museum showcasing the history of the area and maritime rescue equipment.

Next, let's get adventurous! Head to Kitty Hawk Kites, the Rodanthe location, to rent equipment and take a kiteboarding lesson. The Outer Banks is all about adventure and natural beauty, and a kiteboarding lesson is a perfect way to dive into OBX culture.


After lunch, head south to the Salvo Day Use Area in Salvo. The day-use area is a beach that has plenty of room for sunbathing and swimming. There's a lot of driftwood on the beach, which makes a beautiful backdrop for pictures.

There are also bathrooms, picnic tables, and a fascinating historic cemetery on part of the beach. Salvo isn't as popular as Mexico or Brazil for kite surfing, but still, thousands come to Salvo to kite surf each year. Bring your own equipment and join in, or simply lay on the beach and watch the others.

A long wooden bridge extending from the shore to the sea with multiple flags
Wrap up your day five in the Outer Banks with a stroll on the Avon Fishing Pier


End Day 5 in the Outer Banks with a walk on the Avon Fishing Pier before dinner. Right beside the pier is Pangea Tavern. It's perfect for drinks and a seafood dinner after a long day at the beach. They also are child-friendly and have an outdoor wooden play area for kids, plus loads of outdoor seating.

Hatteras Island

A tall lighthouse with black and white stripes surrounded by beach dunes
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of the top landmarks to see on Hatteras Island

Hatteras Island is in the southern part of the Outer Banks. Day six is all about exploration. Today, you'll find your way to the tallest lighthouse in North America, explore historical sites and museums, and have one of the biggest breakfasts you've ever seen.

Apple Uglies at Orange Blossom Cafe are a must-try

Orange Blossom Bakery & Cafe

This little cafe in northern Hatteras Island is too good to miss. They are famous for their Apple Uglies. An Apple Ugly is basically a LARGE twist of dough filled with apples and cinnamon. It's one of the best things I've ever tasted in my life.

While you're here, you'll see locals coming in for their regular breakfast and tourists venturing in to chow down on muffins, doughnuts, and Apple Uglies. It's such a quaint yet delicious cafe that I can't recommend it enough!

A black and white striped lighthouse on the grass under a blue sky with lots of cloud
You can climb Cape Hatteras Lighthouse's 257 steps for fantastic views

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Next, head to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse located on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It is decorated with iconic black and white stripes and is the tallest lighthouse in all of North America.

There are trails around the lighthouse that you can enjoy. You can also climb the 257 steps to the top for a view of the Atlantic Ocean. If you choose to climb the lighthouse, keep in mind that it will be hot, humid, and dimly hit. Bring water, and make sure you don't wear shoes with much of a heel.

Hatteras Village Park has many trails to explore

Hatteras Village Park

The entrance to the park may seem small and unassuming, but don't let this fool you. The trails through the park lead through maritime forest and along wooden boardwalks over marshland.

Stay aware. Venomous snakes and mosquitoes call the area around the trails home. I've never seen snakes on the trails myself, but it's something to be aware of. You're in the south and by the water, so bug spray is a must.

🏨 Stay in close proximity to Hatteras Village Park

Frisco Native American Museum & Natural History Center

At this stop, you'll learn about the original inhabitants of Hatteras Island. This museum is a non-profit organization. You'll see artifacts from Native Americans that used to live on Hatteras Island, plus gain insight into how they lived and learn about their histories. Entry is only $5.

Futuro House

Want a unique place to take a picture? End your day by stopping by the Futuro House on Hatteras Island. It's a special roadside attraction that the U.S. is so famous for. In 1970, Futuro houses were all the rage. A couple bought a piece of land and put one of these novel houses on the land.

The house is shaped like a flying saucer and is surrounded by interesting alien and outer space decor. It's one of the unique things to do in the Outer Banks and makes for a fun and different Instagram photo-op.

Ocracoke Island

Liz Albro Photography/
A river reaching the ocean with trees and houses on either side
Ocracoke Island is a scenic area with an array of attractions

When you think of the best beaches in the United States, you probably think of Hawaii or Florida. One of the top-rated beaches in the country, however, is located right on Ocracoke Island. So on day seven, you'll start your morning with a ferry ride to the Island, climb a lighthouse, see wild ponies, and visit the #2 beach in America.

You could easily spend a whole weekend exploring Ocracoke Island as it has one of the most interesting histories of any place I've been.

You will learn many fascinating North Carolina facts and fun Outer Banks facts while you're here because the locals are very friendly and love to share information.

For example, did you know that the famous pirate, Blackbeard, used to hang out around Ocracoke Island a lot? He actually died at the hands of the Spanish off the Island's coast.

You can enjoy scenic views while on the Ocracoke Ferry

Take the Ocracoke Ferry

You'll need to take a drive-on ferry to get to Ocracoke Island from Hatteras Island. The process is free, simple, and enjoyable. The ride will take 45-60 minutes. Find everything you need to know about the Hatteras to Ocracoke Ferry here.

Ocracoke Beach

Start your time on Ocracoke Island by spending time on the #2 ranked beach in America. White sands, expansive beach, and driftwood await you.

It's also a popular place for shelling and finding sand dollars. However, you will want to check the wind speeds before you go. Windy days are common and can make the beach unenjoyable.

🏨 Accommodation in close proximity to Ocracoke Beach

You can see cute ponies at the Pony Pen

Pony Pen

Not so wild anymore, but still the descendants of the mustangs from Spain that were left on Ocracoke Island many years ago, are still here today. They now enjoy 188 acres of land all to themselves. You can see them up close and personal at the Pony Pen.

Howard's Pub on Ocracoke Island is the perfect place to stop for a drink

Eat at Howard's Pub & Raw Bar

Next, stop for a bite to eat at the renowned Howard's Pub. The restaurant is decorated with old license plates and other Americana.

I recommend sitting outside on their porch. It's screened in, so you don't have to worry about those pesky mosquitoes. What should you get from here? That's easy! Definitely the fried pickles and the fried chicken sandwich.

Ocracoke Lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in the United States

Ocracoke Lighthouse

End your day on Ocracoke by seeing the southernmost lighthouse in the Outer Banks. The Ocracoke Lighthouse stands at only 75 feet tall and isn't the typical lighthouse shape. Still, it is the oldest working lighthouse in North Carolina and the second oldest in the whole country!

The lighthouse was actually only used for less than twenty years. Over time, the channel that the lighthouse was providing light for had migrated, making it obsolete.

There are only three parking spots at the lighthouse, but don't worry! People don't stay at the lighthouse for a long time. Just do a quick lap around the block if you need to wait for a spot to open up.

In Summary

I instantly fell in love with the Outer Banks' natural beauty, adventurous activities, and delicious food, and I know you will too! These beautiful barrier islands simply do not disappoint.

I hope this Outer Banks itinerary inspires you to check out the Outer Banks for yourself. Although you could easily spend more time exploring the islands, this 7-day Outer Banks travel guide will ensure you get the most out of your trip.

If you are spending more or less than 7 days, you may want to add or remove things from the itinerary by using this guide about the 150 popular things to do in the Outer Banks.

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Written by Samantha Roberts

GoneWithMyBabies BLOGGER Samantha was born in Kentucky but has loved living in several U.S. states in the past. She has traveled around the country in a converted van with a two-year-old and three-year-old in tow!

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