Outer Banks of North Carolina

-- Last Updated: Sep-27-10 4:22 AM EST --

We are going to be staying down in Frisco, NC for a week and we are bringing our sea kayaks with us. This will be our first time experiencing the Outer Banks area and I was looking for any information on good places to paddle down there. Our house will be right on Pamlico Sound.

Thanks for any local knowledge/advice that you can provide.

Jeff and Elaine


Monkey Island
Monkey Island in the middle of Currituck Sound. It is a small Island that was once home to a hunting lodge and is now a wildlife refuge and I believe is the largest concentration of nesting egrets on the east coast. My wife and I paddled there about 7 or 8 years ago so I’m not sure what it’s like today but I’m sure it hasn’t changed much. You are not allowed to land on the island but the surrounding water is shallow so we were able to exit our boats and just kinnda wade around to stretch our legs. We did several paddles while we were down there but this was the most memorable. Have fun.

Just got back from there
Get the book kayaking nc, gives some good info. Corolla has a nice put-in at the city park next to lighthouse. Go out to monkey island, nice paddle with some birds on the island. Pea Island is also a good paddle with some birds. Alligator River Wildlife refuge and kitty hawk woods is a good place if its windy. Go to the public boat ramp to put-in for the kh paddle. Also if you go around stone island, head north till you come to the channel markers and go right, and keep right past the house and into the small channel to get back. Roanoke sound is good but watch the wind, nice put-in on west side of bridge. Colington island is nice paddle, with good put-in.

Watch the weather, what they call for may different than what you get. We paddle Roanoke sound, calling for a 10 mph west wind. So the island would block the wind. We got 30 mph south wind after acouple hours, went from calm to 3’ white caps and 30 mph cross winds.

Take a gps, easy to get lost in the salt marsh water trails. The city park in Duck has a kayak put-in also.

A couple suggestions…
Might want to check out Pam Malec’s book, “Guide to Sea Kayaking in North Carolina.” Pam also runs the Outdoors Inn in Manteo - a wonderfu place (my wife and I were there last week for 3 days).

I highly recommend the Alligator River Nature Preserve - theres a marked trail to Sawyer Lake. I also recommend the Kitty Hawk Woods Preserve on the sound side of Kitty Hawk. There’s a public boat ramp on Bob Perry Road that’s convenient.



Frisco is a long way from most
of the places mentioned. Worth stopping on your way down and paddling the upper end somewhere (I’d recommend Alligator River). Down near Frisco though, I’d just recommend poking along the back side of the Island. It is about 6 miles west to Hatteras Village and about the same east to Buxton. If your skills match the conditions, go over and play on the ocean side. You could also load the boats up and take the ferry to Ocracoke and pick a trip along the backside of that island.


I spend two weeks a year in Frisco
And always take the yaks. Mostly surf in the ocean but do paddle the sound some.

There is a put-in between Frisco and Hatteras village. Paddle out about one mile to the sandy point to the west. You can then follow the shoreline west and return by entering one of the marinas and using canals to get back to put-in. Check google satellite maps and pick your route!

You can also put in behind coast guard station in Hatteras and paddle shoreline towards the inlet.

Take the ferry to Ocracoke and us the public launch/parking and paddle back side of Island and Silver Bay.

Be careful of wind and tides. Wind blows very strong a lot and tides can really move fast near inlets.

If you aren’t accustomed to negotiating inlets just stay away from them. Current and waves can be really mean.

Thank You
I really appreciate all the great info. Thanks, everyone!

The best surfing close to where you are is oceanside between the tattered Frisco pier and Cape point- you can get your boats on the water at the pier- or used to be able to- it took a hit during the last hurricane and I don’t know what it’s like there now. Gently sloping sand beach and bottom- nice pleasant wave sets generally- very regular and evenly spaced. If you have 4WD you can get onto the beach near the National Park service campground near the airport- that is if the beach is not closed due to bird nesting regulations- they change a bit each year. You’ll have a great time, guaranteed!-------Be careful of the current and clapotis at Cape Point- it can be faster and bigger than you think.

On the sound side
last time I was there the biggest problem was finding more than 3’ of water to paddle in

Paddled from Ocracoke to Manteo this summer and there were miles and miles where there was only 12 - 18 inches of water. By the time I got far enough from shore to find some water I was too far to see anything on shore. I seem to remember it being better from Oregon Inlet up to Manteo, but that’s a pretty good ways from Frisco.