Kitty Hawk Has Fun for Everyone

Kitty Hawk, NC is known most famously as the home to the Wright brothers who created the first airplane. The test flights took place on a series of hills named Kill Devil Hills, 4 miles south of Kitty Hawk. The Wright brothers arrived and departed from Kitty Hawk and found a short-term home here during the 1900s. A memorial was established there in 1932. Kitty Hawk village itself is slower-paced than other seaside towns with a laid-back feel.

Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk, NC has a storied history in the Outer Banks. An unusual name that may come from the native word chickenhawk or dubbed this for waterfowl hunters of yore, the natural beauty, and serenity of Kitty Hawk brings locals and visitors together to explore and enjoy its shores. Known more famously as the place Wright Brothers experienced the first flight, Kitty Hawk was the largest town in the Outer Banks at the time they arrived. Kitty Hawk is bordered to the south by Kill Devil Hills and Southern Shores to the north. Rentals tend to be smaller here than elsewhere in the Outer Banks, mixing residential with vacation properties to keep the small-town feel everyone has come to love. Visitors can enjoy myriad hotels, motels, and even RV-friendly campgrounds

Kitty Hawk has little surf shops, beach stores, and souvenir shops for visitors to explore. Public beaches are just a step away with more than a dozen access points to choose from. Lifeguards and Ocean Rescue patrols watch out for guests on the beaches every season. Visit Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve with over 1,800 acres of maritime forest preserve. Enjoy wooded dunes, birds, and activities like hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding and more. Kids may enjoy the 5,000-square-foot ramp, rail, and quarter-pipe skate park right in Kitty Hawk.

Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk, NC is mostly known as the home to Wright Brothers first flight. Based on the northern Outer Banks, Kitty Hawk is north of Kill Devil Hills, which is a center point on the north/south-oriented Outer Banks. It is located south of Southern Shores, another area with shops, dining, and water sports. Visitors come for nature and a quieter experience of the Outer Banks.

Kitty Hawk Shopping & Dining

Kitty Hawk, NC has some great little shops and boutiques. With just a few national big box stores around, it is fun to peruse the smaller shops. Head to the south side of the Bypass over Wright Memorial Bridge to check out surf shops, clothing stores, antique shops, specialty food stores, spas, and more. Harris Teeter is a local grocer with everything visitors and locals need. Outer Banks has locally made and crafted items from textiles to woodwork and furniture. Looking for a one-of-a-kind experience? Hit the drive-thru that has been a tradition for 35 years at Brew Thru. Offering beer, wine, soft drinks, snacks, and world-famous t-shirts and collectible tees, the #1 selling souvenir shops on the beach. 

Grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant. Outer Banks places like to keep it small and family-owned but Kitty Hawk, NC offers a more eclectic variety than other places. Try Pacific Rim, Thai or Italian inspired cuisine, or stop for some good old-fashioned BBQ and hot dogs. Several venues in Kitty Hawk feature music venues along with a great menu of foods for everyone to enjoy.


Visitors come to Kitty Hawk, NC for nature and to get away from life for a while. Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve is a great place to start. Explore 1,824 acres of maritime forest preserve, the largest remaining one of its kind on the Outer Banks. The unique ecosystem includes evergreen and deciduous trees, marshlands, islands, and more to explore. Grab a bike or take a hike here, put your kayak and paddleboard into the sound for a more up-close visit to the wildlife. Hunters are permitted during hunting season. Find more information here about getting a permit. 

Not digging nature? Try some of the other attractions bringing visitors to Kitty Hawk. Hit the links at Sea Scape Golf Course with 18 holes of fun surrounding a beautiful neighborhood with stunning views of the ocean. Sunning, shelling,  and swimming are also great options to get you into the water at Kitty Hawk. Schedule a massage at a local spa or schedule family portraits on the beach at sunset. Rent equipment at nearby shops and explore neighboring towns with surfing and competitions to enjoy. Some also offer tours and lessons.

Kitty Hawk hotels have everything from high end to low key family motels and camping sites. Two RV parks and a campground make it a unique getaway. Vocational rentals and cottages make up the majority of places people stay when they visit.

Haunted Kitty Hawk Spots

Nicknamed ‘Graveyard of the Atlantic,’ OBX has a reputation for being a spooky place. The Outer Banks has a haunted history still celebrated with events and annual festivals. Gather up the kids and family to explore some of the haunted spots in Kitty Hawk. Kill Devil Hills supposedly got its name from the pirates who came to shore. Buccaneers drank strong moonshine ‘enough to kill the devil,’ and other lore says the name came from an old brand of rum that washed on shore after a shipwreck, some of whom still roam the hills. The Black Pelican Restaurant is #6 stations of seven life saving posts on the coast. This restaurant helped rescue mariners lost at sea. The station leader in 1884 was said to have a temper and shot a surfman, burying him at sea. T.L. Daniels, the victim, can still be seen roaming the restaurant. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is home to Ghost Cat. The stories explain how the cat will rub up against visitors and let them pet him but he vanishes if you try to touch or pick him up.

Kitty Hawk F.A.Q.

Kitty Hawk was the first place the Wright brothers made a controlled flight with a powered airplane, giving way to modern air travel as we know it. Not as glamorous as today, they spent many long hours testing planes at Kill Devil Hills, four miles south of town. Their first successful flight took place on December 17, 1903.

Byrd Street, Eckner Street, Lillian St and Kitty Hawk Bath House access offer fixed lifeguard stations. The lifeguards roam around on ATVs on the beach to check on visitors in the water and on the sand. Always be mindful of the red flags that indicate NO SWIMMING due to undertow or some other reason. Ocean currents can be dangerous especially when visitors not used to the water get out too far or don’t pay attention to signs.

A great white has been identified in Kitty Hawk. The great white was tagged in Nova Scotia to track its whereabouts. There are signs posted to let visitors know if shark sightings have occurred.

Kitty Hawk Beach is located on the Outer Banks near Southern Shores. Residents and visitors can use the beaches via public access points. The area has a great village, shopping, dining, and a 461-acre maritime forest reserve to explore. Speak to officials or shop owners prior to considering ATVs or other manned vehicles on the beach. Nearby towns do tours of the beaches to see wild horses but most vehicles aren’t allowed on the beaches for safety and conservation purposes.