Kayaking the Outer Banks of N. Carolina

-- Last Updated: Apr-24-08 9:10 AM EST --

Does anyone know if you need any special permits or registrations to kayak in the Outer Banks? we are from Pennsylvania and you need special permits for certain locations, but do not need to register the kayak. My family will be vacationing there this summer and we all would like to kayak the sound side. We will be there the the week of the 7th in June.

in n.c. you don’t need any permit to kayak. paddle craft don’t need to be registered either. -harry

Paddle where you like.
We vacationed there last summer, and will be going back this summer!!! Great alternative to the super crowded Myrtle Beach tourist trap, but it does get its share of visitors from Naggs Head up. We did the Sound side some, and saw our first three foot ray! I highly recomend the Alligator River water trails. We saw our first Alligator there (wife sighted another, but it submerged before my kids and I saw it). Their really not that dangerous while kayaking, just stay IN your yak! When are you heading down?


there are a few spots
if you go to the Cape Lookout National Seashore and want to camp you will need to register at the office on Harkers Island. I am pretty sure it doesn’t cost anything.

If you are going to Bear Island/ Hammocks Beach State Park you will need to register and pay for campsite (only if you are camping).

Those are the only areas I can think of and only apply to camping.

If you are near Emerald Isle, NC visit Lamar and the crew at Barrier Island Kayaks.

You Didn’t Ask…
but I’ll suggest…

Keep a close ear to the weather radio. It can go from calm to blustery really fast. Keep some kind of shoes available and a length of rope handy. The sounds can be so shallow that sometimes you have to get out and walk; pulling the boat along behind you. Lastly, be very careful at inlets. The water can get fast and rough with the tide coming in or out.

I’m heading
down there again this August. I paddled the sound side last year and had a blast. Pamlico Sound to be exact, I launched at Whalehead and headed north. I would like to do the same this year only head out to Monkey Island and do some exploring. I did venture a bit into the Atlantic too, but I was not really prepared so it was shortlived. Better safe than sorry.

When are you going anyway?

Where on the OB will you be?
Were you planning on paddling on the ocean side or the bay side?

Some towns [Corolla for one] have restrictions on canoes and sit-in Kayaks on the ocean side. On the other hand Corolla has a fine park on the bay side with a ramp, docks etc. North from there is some interesting undeveloped waterfront with islands, inlets and if you are lucky wild horses.

Duck has a ramp on the bay side. There are one or two in the Park Service land above Avon and one below Avon.

That is the limit of my experience

I know where the ramp is in Duck - it is a bit busy at times though. If you drive another 15-20 minutes (depending on traffic) north to the lighthouse at the Whalehead Club there is another ramp there with a wooden pier. That is where I launch from - it gets you out of the majority of the motorboat traffic and closer to solitude (and the wild horse area). You still have plenty of room to paddle and lots of areas to explore…there are otter up in this area too. It is kind of shallow in this area for most motorboats. I would like to venture south this year and check out that gator trail, that sounds pretty cool.


Kayaking the Outer Banks of N. Carolina
We will be down either the 1st or 2nd week of June. Thanks for the tips…

Anyone be there late August?
We are heading down to August 15th thru 23rd. Anyone wanna hook up?

I had my dates mixed up…
We will be there from July 20 -26 - anybody else?

We just got some really nice info from the county. (Carteret County) We got trail maps and a nice guide. We’ll be there first week of June. Went last year and had some great fun surfing at Bogue Inlet - warm water, warm air and sandy bottom/beaches.

Info request
Who did you contact to get that info? I would like to get a watertrail map also.


Maps of Carteret county
Did you get the maps from the county website?

paddle maps info
I have found some maps at this link from the state university