kayaking The OBX

Outer Banks kayak rentals offer a glimpse of the picturesque Outer Banks up close. Visitors and locals of all ages love to paddle out into the waterways and coastline surrounding Outer Banks. Kayaking is one of the most affordable and accessible activities for every age that can be enjoyed alone, with friends, family or other large groups of people. Find out everything you need to know about Outer Banks kayak rentals.

kayaking On The Outer Banks

Water sports is one of the most popular activities in Outer Banks. Outer Banks kayak rentals make the water more accessible to all visitors and locals who want to spend time exploring the coastline, marshy canals and ocean waves. People of all ages can enjoy this low-key activity. From searching for the perfect spot to catching a sunset or seeing wildlife, there are many opportunities to put a paddle in the water and go. Corolla, Kitty Hawk, Ocracoke and more have a plethora of options to choose from when searching for the perfect place to kayak and rental shops. The barrier islands offer scenic waterways with sound waters, exciting ocean waves, and challenging channels all in one relatively small area. The Outer Banks provide ample space to spread out and enjoy the water even in busy seasons. Some of the best ways to explore Outer Banks are from the water.

Kayak Rentals & Tours in OBX

Check out some local rental companies to find the best fit for a great kayak adventure

Local Rental Companies

Kitty Hawk Kites: 58848 Marina Way, Hatteras, NC
Kayak rentals and guided tours starting at $25/hr
Top-rated company offering kayaks for fishing, adventure, tours and more along five spots in OBX

Coastal Kayak Touring Company: 1240 Duck Rd, #116, Kitty Hawk, NC
Kayak rentals and tours starting at $25/hr
Offering many services and both single or tandem kayaks. Many locations offered great rides. Try the ‘full moon tour,’ a unique experience

Outer Banks Kayak Adventures: 7531 S Virginia Dare Trail #3B, Nags Head, NC
Kayak rentals, delivery service, and tours with rentals starting at $20/half day
Rent a kayak or take a tour with 8 different guided options including a Children’s Kayak Tour on calm water

Places to Kayak in OBX

If you’re looking to do some kayaking in Outer Banks, look no further than these great spaces to toss the kayak in and get started:

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge – paddle through one of the largest wildlife refuges on the East Coast. Canals and creeks offer an up close and personal perspective on nature. The refuge was opened March 14, 1984 and contains over 150,000 acres to explore. Black bears roam the area along with ducks, geese, raptors, and, of course, alligators.

Kitty Hawk Maritime Forest – kayak the creek under Oak and Red Maple trees. Near Kitty Hawk Road, this kayak experience offers a look at special forest reserves in Outer Banks and captures the wildness and beauty of the area.

Kayaking Outer Banks Sounds

kayak the bays and sheltered islands of Currituck Sound along with Albemarle Sound, Roanoke Sound, Croatan Sound and Pamlico Sound. All five have calm salt waters with an average depth of 3 to 5 feet. Kayaking and paddling are safe ways to explore the picturesque beauty. Relax and take it easy while viewing blue herons, egrets, turtles, and more. Many people love to take tours and photograph the wildlife and scenery. Younger children also can enjoy a trip down the waters with a kayak.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore – visit untouched coastal marshland up close from a kayak. Explore the waters and see nature all around. Many kayakers love to view sunrises or sunsets from their kayaks with amazing views over the water. Easy launch points along Highway 12 include Oregon Inlet Kayak Launch, Pea Island Launch near the refuge visitor center or Devil Shoals Road on Ocracoke Island, among others.

OBX Kayak Launch Sites

Look no further for some great spots to put a kayak in when you visit OBX:

Duck Town Center: a central point with easy access to restaurants for a nibble before or after. Launch mid-day for a happy hour beverage nearby after or a relaxing late afternoon paddle to watch the sunset

Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve: explore 1800 acres of trails and water with multiple spots to access kayak launch points

Jockey Ridge State Park at Nags Head: access the water from Albemarle Sound and push off into open waters to see wildlife and beautiful landscapes unique to OBX

Ocean kayaking: more extreme than in the sounds due to water currents, special equipment can be rented to explore the surf from many different locations. Be mindful of researching current beach conditions and stay close to populated areas

Saying The Outer Banks F.A.Q.

No experience is required. A tour is a good first place to try out a paddle but a general info session can set you on the right path to having a good time.

Bring lots of water, sunscreen, sunglasses with a strap, and bug repellent. A hat is also good as you’ll be under the sun which can be quite hot. Bring a camera, dry bag, and snacks depending on how long you plan to be out. Dress in layers and wear water repellent clothes if possible.

Most kayaks fit paddlers up to 350 lbs and can be up to 7” tall. Larger paddlers can use different kayaks and smaller children should ride tandem with an adult paddler for safety.

Kayaking is year round but be mindful to check weather conditions such as rain, storms, wind, and water currents. Always let someone know where you’ll be headed if you’re going solo and check in with someone to let them know you’re safe when you launch and return. Most public launch sites will have some information on weather conditions or how to check if it’s safe to head out that day.

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