This quintessential beach town has been attracting vacationers for decades; so much so, some vacationers call the entire Outer Banks “Nags Head”. While this may not come as a surprise to most, Nags Head has truly shaped how the Outer Banks was built. Home to the original “old Nags Head-style” beach homes, properties in this area are some of the first homes that featured cedar shake along the Outer Banks. Old meets new in Nags Head offering newly built homes alongside classic beach cottages.
The wide beaches of Nags Head bring guests back year after year, but the soundside areas of this town are really something to behold. The Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve provides hiking trails for those who would like to enjoy some off-the-beach nature scenes. The preserve is located 3.6-miles north of Jockey's Ridge State Park, the largest living sand dune on the east coast. A climb to the top of Jockey's Ridge allows for an indescribable panoramic view of the Outer Banks, and emphasizes how narrow our strip of land really is.
Nags Head, as well as Kill Devil Hills, provides the greatest opportunities for activities such as hang gliding, miniature golf, shopping and go kart racing, plus night-life such as breweries and pubs for the adults. Four additional piers, including Jennette's Pier, an affiliate of the NC Aquarium, line the beaches from Kill Devil Hills to South Nags Head, with plenty of opportunities for fishing and nature-watching.
South Nags Head
South Nags Head begins at Milepost 17, commonly known as Whalebone Junction, and is the furthest point south on the central beaches of the Outer Banks. The area is in part, connected with the Pea Island National Refuge, and sections of this area are federally protected, so there is very little commercial development.
Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to the west, this area only offers a long ribbon of vacation homes and smaller condos. There are no stores, restaurants or shopping in South Nags Head, just miles of beach and a paved, multi-use path. The multi-use path stretches the five-miles that spans South Nags Head and is perfect for walking, biking, dog walking and rollerblading. The lack of commercial development in this area means the beaches are wide and uncrowded.