Everyone knows that summer is the most happening time on the Outer Banks, and for good reason. The beaches are perfect, the sun is out, and families are enjoying time together away from school, responsibilities and work. No wonder people try to soak up every last second that they can during the summer season!
However, fall is also a great time to visit the Outer Banks. In addition to slightly cooler temperatures, less traffic, and shorter waits at favorite restaurants (win-win-win!), there is also a full slate of OBX events, festivals, and activities lined up and ready to keep you busy all season long, no matter what you’re into!
Ocean Atlantic Rentals has done the legwork for you to help you plan your fall OBX vacation. Below is our roundup of 15 different annual fall events taking place on the OBX between September and November each year. Whether you’re into music, films, fishing, beer, history, or anything in between, there is sure to be an event to pique your interest.
1. OBX Jeep Jam
A weekend-long (Friday-Sunday) event, the OBX Jeep Jam takes place in late September each year at the Soundside Event Site in Nags Head. In addition to the main Jeep show, contest and beach convoy, visitors can enjoy live music, obstacle courses, a Jeep parts swap meet, giveaways, raffles and more. Proceeds benefit Outer Banks non-profit GOFAR, helping children develop healthy habits. Visit Obxjeepjam.com for more info.
2. OBX Pridefest
This is a three day pride festival that takes place on the Outer Banks in early September each year. Featuring late-night events, a famous drag brunch, as well as a family-friendly Saturday festival with live music, vendors, local food and more, this festival has grown in size each year since its start in 2014. Visit obxpridefest.com for more info
3. The Lost Colony Wine and Culinary Festival
This annual 21-and-over event takes place on the last Saturday in September on the grounds of the Waterside Theater in Manteo, home of the Lost Colony. Enjoy wines from around the globe; local cuisine from some of the Outer Banks’ top chefs; live music; a beer garden with local brews; all with beautiful views of the Roanoke Sound. Visit tlcwinefest.com for tickets and additional details.
4. Throwdown Surf Classic
This annual surf contest is held in Southern Shores in late September, and is a great family event. Come spectate, or enter one of the divisions for every surfing level (including Rad Dads and Grom Moms!). This contest raises money each year for a local person or family in need, and in addition to surfing, attendees can enjoy raffles, food, prizes and more. More info can be found at OBX Surf Info.
5. Halloween International Film Festival
Featuring a variety of independent horror films from around the world, this 3-day festival is sure to kick your October off to a spooky start! Held at the RC Theaters Cineplex in Kill Devil Hills, this event features movie screenings, Q&A panels, nightly meet and greets and more. More info can be found at here.
6. Fall Restaurant Week
Foodies unite! The best of the best in Outer Banks cuisine is presented during this annual week-long event taking place in early October. Enjoy three course fixed-price lunch or dinner menus at participating OBX restaurants from Duck to Manteo; pick your favorites, or try them all (hope you’re hungry!). Visit outerbanksrestaurantweek.com for schedules, menus and participating Outer Banks restaurants.
Celebrate the arrival of fall in Duck with this beer festival at Sweet T’s. Enjoy 20+ special drafts, live music, festive foods and more. This festival falls on Columbus weekend, the same weekend as the Duck Jazz Festival, which another one of our must-do fall OBX events below! Click here for more info.
8. Outer Banks Parade of Homes
Held annually over Columbus Day weekend, the Parade of Homes is a self-guided tour all around the Outer Banks. View as many or as few homes as you like, and witness firsthand how generations of coastal building knowledge is coupled with the latest amenities, products and features. A diverse variety of home styles are showcased, including new construction and remodels. Visit the Outer Banks Homebuilders Association website for the schedule and details.
9. Duck Jazz Festival
This is an annual favorite for locals and visitors alike! Held on the Sunday of Columbus weekend, this outdoor music festival is free to attend and features nationally recognized and award-winning Jazz performers. Spread yourself out on the Duck Town Green and enjoy your own food and beverages or purchase food from a variety of local vendors on-site. Other music-related events also take place throughout Duck all weekend. Visit duckjazz.com for details!
10. Wings Over Water
The Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival began in 1997, and has grown to a premier east coast wildlife refuge fundraising event. Enjoy over 90 birding, paddling, photography, art and natural history programs that take place at 6 wildlife refuges over 6 northeast North Carolina counties. Visit www.wingsoverwater.org for details, locations, schedule of events and more.
11. OBX Seafood Festival
This ever-popular event is held at the Nags Head Soundside Event Site annually in mid- to late-October. Honoring our local Outer Banks fishing heritage, this festival features live music along with the chance to stuff yourself with some of the best OBX seafood around! Visit www.outerbanksseafoodfestival.org for tickets and details.
12. Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree
Combining history with plenty of pirate fun, Ocracoke’s Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree is a family-friendly multiple day event held in late October each year. Dress in your pirate best and enjoy sword fights, black powder demonstrations, a beer garden, Pirate Bazaar and more, all capped off with an historical reenactment of Blackbeard’s last stand that takes place on Silver Lake. Check out www.visitocracokenc.com for more information.
13. Nags Head Surf Fishing Tournament
Put your fishing skills to the test with this 3-day surf fishing tournament held each October in Nags Head. Sponsored by the Nags Head Surf Fishing Club, this event has grown to over 80 teams. Visit www.nagsheadsurffishingclub.org for event details.
14. Mustang Rock & Roast
This weekend-long music and food festival is held each October in Corolla. Featuring a barbecue cookoff, oyster roast, and over a dozen local and national bands spread across two days, this is the ultimate experience for foodies and music lovers combined. Go to www.mustangmusicfestival.com for tickets and band lineup.
15. Outer Banks Marathon
This Boston-qualifier marathon takes you from one end of the Outer Banks to the other! Held on Veteran’s Day weekend each year, both Saturday and Sunday are packed with events for runners of all ages and levels, including a 5k, 8k, half and full marathon. Lace up your shoes, or just line up to cheer on the particpants! Details and signup here.
We hope you enjoy your fall vacation on the Outer Banks, whichever events you decide to attend!