Early documentations indicate that the dunes that are a beloved part of Nags Head were visible for miles at sea. Folklore says horses, also called nags, wore lights hung by their owners to lure ships into running aground and afterward, pillagers would loot valuables from the wreckage. These giant dunes seen by the early explorers were naturally developed except for those in Jockey's Ridge. The beach lures travelers in droves each year and the town itself has much to offer.
Nags Head is a generic term many use for the communities of Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills. Each town is so close to another, you're not likely to realize you've left one and entered the next. Most Nags Head lodging is locally owned and operated and has been for a long time. Most of the nationally recognized names lie in Kill Devil Hills. In Kitty Hawk, you'll find the best of both worlds: locally owned and commercial hotels.
When to Visit
If you're looking for fewer crowds and reduced hotel rates, visit from March to May and September to November. In the summer, tourists and locals flock to these shorelines driving up hotel rates and fares. Winter months aren't terribly cold, but many attractions, eateries, and shops close up or operate during fewer hours.
From March to May high temperatures begin their climb from around 60 degrees in March to the mid 70s in May. The crowds haven't arrived yet, so most hotel and ticket prices are still at shoulder season rates. Festivals and events really start ramping up in the spring with many outdoor activities to choose from.
During peak tourist season, you'll have to book several months in advance to get lodging at all. Expect higher rates and limited options unless you're booking more than four months out. The weather in summer is balmy with highs in the 80s and lows in the 70s. Nags Head enjoys a sea breeze most of the time, so the humidity isn't stifling.
From September to November, temperatures begin their steady decline from the 80s to the low 60s. Lows remain tolerable bottoming out in the 50s in November. Hotel rates and ticket prices drop along with traveler numbers, but there's no drop in the number of fun things to do in the area.
For four days in October enjoy the Bluegrass Island Festival where you'll hear “mountain music by the sea.” Dozens of Bluegrass artists from across the country come in and play along the shoreline for a great weekend of blue skies, blue water, and Bluegrass. Also in October, the Outer Banks Seafood Festival allows you to appreciate the area's seafood industry, culture, and food. With loads of artisanal vendors and a dozen restaurants participating, you'll have a full day of the Outer Banks experience.
The winter months from December through February are the least expensive time of year to visit Nags Head. Hotel rates and ticket prices are at yearly lows, so you'll save a bundle. Daytime highs hover near 50 degrees with lows near 40. Pack a jacket and some layers to fend off the chilly sea breezes. Most local attractions stay open, but operate limited hours during the off season. You'll still find plenty to do when Nags Head turns into a quiet, seaside village.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Nags Head, NC:
Nags Head, NC: Prices by Star Rating Class
Below we've posted 3 graphs illustrating avg. nightly cost patterns by star rating class in Nags Head, NC. Browse these charts to calculate the best months to book in Nags Head for your upcoming travels.
4 Star Average Prices: $236.40
There are several high-end choices near Nags Head, but the Sanderling Resort in Duck is the epitome of luxury. The resort goes above and beyond four-star with a four-diamond rating for services and amenities. It's beachfront guestrooms, suites, and vacation homes offer several options for lodging.
Accommodations are divided into a family friendly inn, a central beach house, and a peaceful inn. Book rooms based on what you want from your stay. All rooms and suites include stunning views of the ocean or surrounding landscaping and private balconies with hammock chairs. You'll sleep easy on a Serta Perfect Sleeper plush mattress with pillow choices. Stay entertained with high-speed wireless internet, iDocks, and 48-inch flat screens.
There are three outdoor pools including one devoted to children. You can access the beach via three private entrances where the resort's chairs and umbrellas keep you comfortable.
3 Star Average Prices: $169.80
For clean, simple rooms, consider Colonial Inn Motel in Nags Head. Rooms boast bright decor in shades of blue and brown that reflect the beach outside. Walk just a few hundred feet to the beach and Nags Head Fishing Pier. Enjoy cable programming on 32-inch flat screens, a microwave and fridge, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Stay on track by visiting a nearby fitness center before an invigorating swim in the outdoor pool.
At Outer Banks Inn in Kill Devil Hills, you'll enjoy tropical decor in rooms that include fridges and microwaves. Kids stay free in a parent's room and will love the outdoor pool. Save on meals by grilling on the barbecue and eating in the picnic area. Getting to the sun and sand is easy with a complimentary beach shuttle. Enjoy free breakfast each morning from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m.
2 Star Average Prices: $135.01
Nags Head: Real Discounts
Enjoy beach-side comfort at Holiday Inn Express Oceanfront in Nags Head. As a AAA member you'll save up to 10 percent or rooms including a fridge, microwave, flat screen TVs with cable channels, and free Wi-Fi. Take advantage of the hotel's eHost Concierge Service for help booking tickets, renting cars, and checking the weather. Recreational opportunities include a fitness center and an indoor pool. Sand and sun are steps from the hotel. Free breakfast includes eggs, bacon, omelets, sausage, and the chain's signature cinnamon rolls.
Best Value Hotel
For a great beachside room for a fantastic price, check out Comfort Inn on the Ocean in Kill Devil Hills. Double queen rooms or single king rooms include free Wi-Fi, cable channels, fridges, and microwaves. Enjoy a drink under the gazebo by the outdoor pool or step onto the beach from the hotel's private access. Kids stay free with parents and the dog can come along too. Start your day with breakfast that include bacon, sausage, grits, waffles, fruit, yogurt, cereal, and drinks.
Things to Do Near Nags Head, NC
It wouldn't be a trip to the Outer Banks without seeing some lighthouses. At Cape Hatteras National Seashore, take in one of the most iconic lighthouses in the country. Stroll through the nature preserve before setting out for a sandy adventure on an off-road vehicle. Take a short jaunt to Bodie Island Lighthouse for stunning views of a notable landmark.
One of the area's hottest summer events is the Outer Banks Watermelon Festival in August. Celebrate summer with activities including face painting, tie-dyeing, and more arts and crafts. There's loads of food and drink vendors, games, and an inflatable waterslide. Watermelon competitions like seed spitting and eating contests make the day. Also in August, the Outer Banks Pirate Festival brings out your inner Blackbeard for a weekend. Actors bring the area's pirating history to life in a fun way that highlights history and pirate code. The kids will love the Pirate Scalawag School where they'll see if they pass the pirate tests.
Shopping opportunities abound in Nags Head, from Tanger Outlets to local shops selling handmade jewelry, eclectic clothing and accessories, surfboards, and designer clothes. You could spend a day perusing the quaint shops and charming boutiques in Nags Head for souvenirs and fun gifts for everyone.
The Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular draws gliding enthusiasts from around the world. The towering dunes offer a perfect launch point for flyers to show off their skills. Over an extended weekend in May, you'll enjoy demonstrations, competitions, and live music.
Just a few minutes from Nags Head, in Duck, savor tasty duck-themed dishes and wine samples at the Duck & Wine Festival. Peruse the Duck waterfront sampling delectable treats crafted from local ingredients and, of course, duck.
It's not a trip to the seaside without dining on fresh seafood. In Nags Head, restaurants use seafood caught fresh from the ocean just outside their doors. Classic seafood favorites like fish and chips are around, but more fashionable eateries offer contemporary or Southern coastal cuisines. There are many places offering plates ranging from Thai and Japanese to Italian and Mexican fare. Enjoy the delis, taverns, pubs, diners, and fine dining choices throughout the city.
Make family memories at First Flight Adventure Park and Destination Fun Laser Tag and 3D for a raucous good time.
The Outer Banks has so much more to offer. There's nearly limitless excursions, tours, natural and historic sights, and, of course, the beaches. Let HotelPlanner help you save on your Nags Head vacation today!
Verified reviews of the city: Nags Head, NC
Below are reviews of the city of Nags Head, NC from an actual visitor's perspective.
Score 5.0 / 5
Have been coming to Nags Head for 40 years and staying in beachfront cottage until this short stay while we were in town for a wedding. We love EVERYTHING about Nags Head, except those pesky hurricanes of course.
The average traveler rating of the city of Nags Head, NC shown above is 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 reviews