Kayaking at the Outer Banks

Kayaking at the Outer Banks

Kayaking the Outer Banks is an activity enjoyed by beginners and advanced thrill-seekers alike. With an abundance of waterways, ocean coastlines, and wildlife refuges to explore, a paddling trip to North Carolina’s barrier islands should earn a spot on everyone’s bucket list!

Why We Love Kayaking the Outer Banks

Kayaking is an excellent way to explore the island’s wildlife and natural surroundings up close. During this adventure, you’ll paddle through rare maritime forest terrain, experience once-in-a-lifetime wildlife sightings, and soak in the beauty of the barrier islands’ rugged coastline. The islands are also home to large national wildlife refuges with winding creeks, marshland canals, and rivers that are best explored by boat.

Kayaking Equipment

Known as a popular pastime in the Outer Banks, you’ll find kayaking and canoeing rental shops around every corner! These places will set you up with everything you need for an excursion on the water.

Depending on your kayaking activity of choice, you might opt for a single, a double, an angling kayak for fishing adventures, or an ocean kayak that’ll handle the ocean waves with ease. Some helpful pieces of gear you might want to bring along with you include a dry bag for your phone, wallet, and other valuables, and a Go-Pro or other waterproof camera so you can document the beauty of the area on your kayak adventures.

If you are in search of a low-maintenance vacation on the islands, Outer Banks West/Currituck KOA allows its guests to skip the hassle of renting kayaks by making them available for all guests as part of their all-inclusive amenities. You can choose between a single, a double, or an angler kayak to enjoy at the campground.

Top Places to Kayak in the Area

Currituck Sound

The Outer Banks West/Currituck Sound KOA sits just northwest of the Outer Banks Islands and boasts an entire half-mile of private, pristine coastline along the Currituck Sound, perfect for your kayaking adventures.

At the south end of the sound, you’ll find the Kitty Hawk Maritime Forest where many kayakers go for peace and solitude. The Kitty Hawk Woods provide access to drop-in points along the Currituck as well as access points to the Kitty Hawk Bay which is famous for its sunsets.

Pamlico Sound

Along the Pamlico Sound, you’ll run into Hatteras Island where you can enjoy sightseeing as you paddle by the sound side or oceanside. You can also make a stop on the island to climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Also, along the Pamlico Sound, The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is home to salt marshes that provide shelter to several species of birds and other wildlife. The wildlife viewing here is unmatched.

Roanoke Sound

The Roanoke Sound is a marshy canal, connecting the Currituck to the Pamlico bordering the historical Roanoke Island. Here on the island, you can paddle along historical waterfronts, learn about the history of the Lost Colony on a leisurely kayak tour, or opt to drop in at Nags Head and paddle across the sound to the island to explore the marshlands.

Albemarle Sound

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge located along the Albermarle Sound offers 15+ miles of color-coded paddling trails and serves as another fantastic kayaking destination for wildlife viewing.

You’ll typically see large numbers of black bears, wintering waterfowl, river otters, and more in this protected natural paradise. It’s also one of the only places in the world to view red wolves in the wild.

Outer Banks Kayak Tours

If you’re not ready to venture out on your own, or you just want to learn more about the area on your paddle trip, kayak touring might be the right option for you!

Kitty Hawk Kites is one of the leading kayak touring companies in the Outer Banks, offering paddle tours of all your favorite kayaking areas. Kitty Hawk Kites staff guide kayaking trips through the sounds, marshlands, and inland rivers, as well as offer angling tours, sunset kayak experiences, and nighttime kayak sessions if you’re feeling brave!

Ready to book your trip? Consider checking out Outer Banks West/Currituck KOA as the perfect homebase for your paddling adventure!

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