If you are interested in getting away from the snow and enjoying the salty air of the ocean, you should visit the Outer Banks in December! The off-season brings smaller crowds, so you’ll feel like a local with the beaches and attractions to yourself. Plus, there’s plenty of holiday cheer to help you celebrate while you’re on vacation.
For more ways to make the most of your trip to the OBX, be sure to request access to our complimentary Manteo, NC Travel Guide. It’s full of the best things to do and places to see during your stay.
Everything You Need to Know Before You Go to the Outer Banks in December
December Weather in the Outer Banks
Temperature can be a bit chilly in the Outer Banks in December, but they are mild compared to most parts of the country. Highs reach the mid-50s, while lows dip into the low-40s. You might not be able to go swimming in the ocean. However, there are still so many ways to enjoy the beach and everything else OBX has to offer!
Things to Do in the Outer Banks in December
Dive Into North Carolina History
Many of North Carolina’s first settlements formed along the Outer Banks, including on Roanoke Island. A great place to start is Roanoke Island Festival Park. Within the park, you’ll find several interactive ways to learn about the area’s vast history. There are five different attractions as well as seasonal tours and programs. The park also hosts events like concerts and festivals throughout the year so be sure to check out their events page.
The Wright Brothers National Memorial has an indoor museum with a collection of planes and other artifacts commemorating the first flight near Kitty Hawk. Not exactly a history lesson but a look into North Carolina’s coastal ecosystem, the Elizabethan Gardens is a gorgeous 10-acre oasis that provides guests with a serene spot to take a break from the beach and enjoy a beautiful array of flowers, landscapes, and local foliage.
Do Some Last-Minute Holiday Shopping
If you have some last-minute shopping you need to take care of, you’ll have no trouble finding something unique in the Outer Banks. Manteo, Nags Head, and Kill Devil Hills all boasts great local shops. Manteo is even home to The Christmas Shop, a holiday-themed store open year-round.
Spend Some Time At the Beach
There’s no question that North Carolina is home to some of the best beaches on the East Coast. That’s why when you’re visiting the Outer Banks in December, you still need to hit the beach. You probably won’t be needing a bathing suit, but there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the shoreline. The closest beaches to Manteo call Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills home. With much fewer people to share the beach with, it’s the perfect time to hunt for sea glass and shells! With wild horses roaming the sandy shores, Corolla offers a great time as well.
Get Into the Holiday Spirit
For the holiday season, Manteo transforms into a winter wonderland! Holiday decor is put around town and several events mark the start of the Christmas spirit. This year’s festivities will last three days! Things will kick off with a Santa Ride at 5:30 p.m. on December 2. Then on December 3, there will be a Tree Lighting and Festivities at 6:00 p.m. The next day on December 4 at 10:30 a.m. the annual Christmas parade will take place through town.
Don’t worry, there are other holidays events happening around OBX for people visiting later in the month. The Elizabethan Gardens hosts Winter Lights, a stunning lights display along the park. The Anniversary of Powered Flight celebrates Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first flight in Kitty Hawk. This free annual event takes place the week before Christmas and features unique aircraft on display in addition to a flyover (weather dependent).
Book Your December Beach Getaway
Pirate’s Cove Realty has the perfect property for your next escape to the North Carolina coast! Our collection of rentals on Roanoke Island feature condos, large homes, and charming cottages at a variety of locations around Manteo. From a private gated community on the water to downtown Manteo, you’ll find the ideal fit for your family or group.
Start planning your getaway today by booking one of our properties. We look forward to welcoming you to the Outer Banks soon!