The Outer Banks is surrounded by water. So, it makes sense that watersports are some of the most popular activities in our area. Take advantage of all of the different water activities the Outer Banks has to offer and enjoy your adventure!
If you’re an open water certified diver, then the Outer Banks is the perfect place to go scuba diving. We have tons of wrecks to explore, such as the U-352, a genuine World War II German U-boat. We also have many other wrecks from World War II and beyond. However, the ocean is not the only place you can dive. The Aquarium on Roanoke Island offers a dive in their giant shark tank. So if you’ve ever wanted to die with sharks in a controlled environment, now’s your chance.
If you’ve ever wanted to sail, but don’t actually know how, the best way to do it is the Downeast Rover. This replica 19th century sailboat takes sunset cruises. If you’ve been in Manteo before, you’ll recognize it by its red sails. Like any sailboat, the ride is a little less smooth than other boats, but that’s part of the fun. This way you get all the fun of sailing without needing to know how to sail.
If you do know how to sail, consider renting the Stiletto. A Stiletto catamaran is famous for going fast and gliding over the water effortlessly. It makes for a smooth ride for a smooth day. Plus, you have the option of taking it anywhere you want. The Outer Banks has many smaller islands around it that offer secluded coves, empty beaches and a truly unique experience. You can also take it to the middle of the sound and just swim.
The Outer Banks now offers air boat tours. These tours are a great way to see the Outer Banks like never before. People have reported seeing schools of Sting Rays, Puppy Drum and even dolphins while on this tour. Even if you think you’ve seen it all and know the Outer Banks inside and out, you’ll gain a new perspective of it when you see it on an airboat tour. And unlike some other boat tours, this one actually stops and lets you off sometimes so the kids can explore the shallow water.
But who doesn’t love dolphins? They’re so beautiful, intelligent, and mysterious, that’s why dolphin tours are so popular. Regardless of what time of day you go, you’re almost guaranteed to see dolphins on any tour. Not only does this make for some great photo ops, it makes for some great memories. Leaving out of Manteo, dolphin tours are a great way to spend a few hours, especially on a nice day when you just don’t feel like going swimming. It’s also a good way to explore the water as many of the guides offer insights to the surrounding area.
If big game fish are what you’re after, then there’s no better experience than chartering a boat. Fishing charters include both captain, a mate, and hold about 6 people. There are different types of charters: inshore charters, wreck charters, and of course gulf charters.
Indoor inshore charters are better for children and people scared to travel too far from shore. This way the waves are small, land is nearby, and the fear is minimized. However if you’re more of the adventurous type, or you’re more into marlin and giant tuna, you’ll want to get a Gulf Charter. Whichever one ever charter you choose, you’re sure to come back with some great fish, some great fish stories, and some great memories.
Soaring high overhead, the ground and boat below you a tiny speck, you are enjoying a parasailing experience. There is no feeling quite like it as that parachute billows out and you are whisked off the boat and into the air. You can actually fly solo, with a friend or with two friends. It’s so much easier than hang-gliding and an experience not to be missed.
Remember when you were little and you wanted your own jet pack like you saw on TV? Well, they’re here, sort of. The Outer Banks Jet Pack is something that can only be flown over water. Then you have about 30 minutes to ‘fly’ over the water. If you’re new to Jet packs, you can easily end up in the water, but still being propelled upward by the pack. That’s part of the fun, so wear your swimsuit.
If you’re a kayaker, there are as many places to kayak around the Outer Banks is there are kayaking tours. If you join a tour, you’ll be taken through the hidden passages and canals where you can see all kinds of wildlife, such as wild pigs, foxes, a plethora of birds, and even wild horses. If you choose to kayak by yourself, you have the experience of communing in a way only solitude can bring.
There’s also such a thing as ocean kayaking for the very adventurous. Most ocean kayaks hold two people instead of one. Two people make for easier paddling than one, and it’s always great to have someone to share the memories with.
A new sport to the Outer Banks is Stand Up Paddle Boarding also known as SUPING. People new to supping start out in the sound, where the water is calm. However once you have some experience many supers move to the ocean . Ocean Supers use the board to paddle beyond the waves, then ride it like a surfboard back in. A lot of surfers are taking up supping as a way to enhance their surfing. If you’re a surfer, this will probably be right up your alley as a great sense of balance is needed for both.
And who could forget surfing? Long before there were any other water activities on the Outer Banks, there was surfing . The feel of the wave beneath your feet, the way the breeze blows on your face and hair, the smell of the salt, there’s no other feeling quite like surfing. And there’s no better place to do it than the Outer Banks. In fact, the Outer Banks is rated one of the best surf spots in the continental United States, finally overtaking California.
Another relatively new sport on the Outer Banks is Skimboarding. If you can picture a small finless surfboard, you have a skimboard. You use it from shore to glide across the surface of a breaking wave and ride back in. As you can imagine, this requires a great sense of balance and timing. So if you’re bored with traditional sports such as SUPing and surfing, then skimboarding might be something you’ll want to try. There are even skim camps you can take.
Last, but certainly not least, is jet skiing. Jet skis are capable of holding one or two people. They are like ATV’s, only on the water. If you like the feeling of speed, of getting splashed, of saltspray in your face, and your hair whipping around you, you’ll love jet skiing around the sound.
So if a day on the water is your idea of fun, check out these water adventures that you can have only on the Outer Banks. A good time is guaranteed and you will get wet and make great memories.