Download GPX file for this article
35.95750-75.62417Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Nags Head is a city on the Outer Banks. Legend has it that the names comes from when pirates used to put a lantern around a horse's neck and walk along the beach. When a ship at sea saw the light, it would think the light was from another ship at anchor, and so would come closer and end up running ashore.

Get in[edit]

From the north follow I 64 to Rt. 168 in Chesapeake Va. Head South on Rte 168, this will become Rt. 158 and lead you to the Wright Memorial Bridge, northern access to the Outer Banks. After crossing the bridge head south for ten miles and you will enter Nags Head.

From the West follow Rt. 64 from Raleigh. Three hours later you will be in Nags Head.

From the South take the ferry (requires reservations and a small fee) to Ocracoke from Cedar Island then take Hwy 12 north. You will take the a free ferry to Hatteras Island then drive through the Cape Hatteras National Seashore for about 50 miles until you enter Nags Head. (It is quicker to come north until you hit Rt. 64 and take it in from the west but the southern route via ferry to Ocracoke is much more scenic. Nearest airport is in Norfolk Va. (ORF). Nags Head is also accessible from Raleigh Durham (RDU). There is a small airport in Manteo NC (MQI)but no scheduled service. Nags Head is located between Kill Devil Hills and Rt. 64

Get around[edit]

As with much of the Outer Banks, two roads run north-south through Nags Head: Virginia Dare Trail (known as "Beach Road") and S. Croatan Hwy (Rt. 158)


  • Jockey's Ridge
  • Bodie Island Light station
  • Mattie Midget House and Store
  • Nags Head Beach Cottages Historic District
  • First Colony Inn
  • Bodie Island Lifesaving and Coast Guard


  • Go to the Beach. Swim, sunbath, walk, collect shells or just relax. The beach is the best thing about Nags Head and the Outer Banks in general. There are public access points [1] with free parking spread throughout the town so find a close one and get to it. Pack some sunscreen, a blanket and a bottle of water and head on over. You can walk to the beach from almost anywhere in Nags Head but if you are planning a longer stay or carrying a lot of stuff then drive and park, it is a lot easier.
  • Visit Jockey's Ridge State Park, a fantastic place to appreciate the natural environment of the Outer Banks. Hang gliding lessons take place at the park during the day. Atop the dunes is a good location for kite flying. Just before sunset is a popular time to climb the dunes.
  • Play miniature golf.
  • Take a walk on the multi use path. There is a path that runs the length of the town along the oceanside road (known locally as "the beach road"). This is a great place to walk or bike ride. get out and get some exercise. If you walk the section from Jockeys Ridge south for about 1.5 miles you will pass the Nags Head Cottage Row district. This is a group of about 60 homes built between 1890 and 1930. They were built as summer homes and remain unchanged. Collectively they are known as the "Unpainted Aristocracy". The path runs the entire length of the town (12 miles) and is well suited to walking, jogging or biking. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the path. When on the path it is best to stay to the right (just like driving) and keep in eye and ear out for others. You will get a lot of
  • Jannette's Fishing Pier is the oldest fishing pier on the Outer Banks provides a great fishing experience for the entire family. The main exhibit, Giants of the Sea, showcases state-record trophy fish mounts and five aquariums with indigenous fish species on display. The pier also houses an outpost for the North Carolina Aquarium Education Department, which offers a wide variety of coastal educational opportunities for children of all ages. Aquarium education classes run Monday - Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day.*



The Tale of The Whale Great seafood and substantial portions. Located on the causeway just after the intersection of rt 158 and 64. Early Bird special between 4 and 5 pm, 20% off all items on the menu.


  • Brew Thru, Drive-through beverage and convenience store.
  • ABC Store. North Carolina limits the sale of liquor to state run stores. The Nags Head store is located on the town's northern border at 8th St.


  • Carolina Designs, 1197 Duck Road Duck, +1 252 453-9660, toll-free: +1-866-453-9660, fax: +1 252-261-2295, . Carolina Designs has providing vacation property rentals and sales for over 25 years. 4-22 Bedroom rentals available across the outer banks region.
  • First Colony Inn Bed and Breakfast. 26 rooms, all with private baths, AC and Heat, phone, microwave, refrigerator and microwave. Wedding Receptions. Right across from the ocean. Breakfast served each morning and there is managers "social" in the afternoons. Phone: 252-441-2343.


Front Porch Cafe MP 10.5 Rt. 158 (S. Croatan Hwy) +1 252-480-6616. A great traditional coffee shop with Wifi access. Parking is a bit limited but a great place for a meet up or to take a quick break.

Harbor Point Grille and Pizzeria 5000 S Croatan Highway (at the Outer Banks Mall) +1 252-261-6800. Lunch and pizza with free wifi access.

Old Nags Head Cove Clubhouse. 4512 S. Hesperides Dr. +1 252-441-4562 Guests in this Nags Head subdivision can use the wifi at the clubhouse for a small fee. Call for details.

Many rental cottages have access points installed. Many of these access points are not secured using WEP or any other form of security. Check with your realty company about the availability of access and its security.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Nags Head
RaleighManteo  W  E  END
Roanoke RapidsKill Devil Hills  W  E  END
CorollaKill Devil Hills  N  S  HatterasJct W

This city travel guide to Nags Head is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!