a man riding on a jet ski

You Need to Experience These 6 Outer Banks Water Sports

08/04/2021 | by Joseph Mitchell | Outer Banks Outdoor Recreation

Here along the North Carolina coast, there are so many different ways to enjoy your beach vacation. You can make your trip into an adventure, a relaxing getaway, and anything in between. We recommend adding at least one Outer Banks water sports activity to your itinerary to make the most of your vacation! Choose from kayaking, parasailing, surfing, and much more in our exciting world of water. 

For more ways to see and experience all that the Outer Banks has to offer, request access to our free Vacation Guide!

Water Sports and Activities in the Outer Banks


One of the most popular watersports in the Outer Banks is kayaking. Visitors of all ages can participate in this fun activity that allows you to explore the sounds, inlets, creeks, and streams along the coast of North Carolina. There are plenty of places on Manteo and in Nags Head to rent kayaks, and you can find them in our blog below!


You’ll find tons of kiteboarding enthusiasts flying up and down the coastline at many of the Outer Banks beaches. If you’re a tested kiteboarding enthusiast, then you can rent from Kitty Hawk Kites or one of the many watersport companies in the area, but if you’re a beginner, you can take a class with KHK at their kiteboarding school. 


Paddleboarding, like kayaking, is a fantastic family-friendly activity that offers a relaxing way to tour Roanoke Sound. You can rent paddleboards or take a tour through most of the rental companies like Outer Banks Adventures, Kitty Hawk Watersports, and Nags Head Watersports

Jet Skiing

There’s nothing like zipping across the water on a jet ski through the calm waters of Roanoke Sound. Rent a single or a double from Kitty Hawk Watersports for a pulse-pounding water sports adventure in the Outer Banks.


The Outer Banks is one of the best places to go surfing along the East Coast. This amazing water sports activity is a must if you’re in the area, especially with the wealth of surfing spots at many beaches in the area. Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills are all fantastic places to catch a wave. Check out the link below for more surfing information!


Kids and adults of all ages can enjoy a parasailing adventure in the morning or afternoon. This Outer Banks water sports experience lets you soar above the ocean with excellent views up and down the coast for miles!


Flyboarding is one of the newest water sports trends in the Outer Banks. This unique concept combines water-propelled jet packs with surfing for a fun and exciting acrobatic experience. You can flip and fly through the air and perform tricks in front of your family and friends as you hover over the water. Kitty Hawk Surf Co. offers lessons for beginners.

More On and Under the Water Fun to Experience Across the Outer Banks

While there are great options for travelers to enjoy water sports across the Outer Banks of the more traditional nature, here unexpected adventures provide just as much of a thrill. Every once in a while, the best water sports outings happen below the waves and when that’s the case, you’re in for unforgettable experiences from start to finish! 

Try Scuba Diving Tours to Shipwrecks

It may not be the first water adventure that comes to mind when you head to the Outer Banks, but scuba diving shouldn’t be something you leave off your must-do list! That’s because below the waves lie a plethora of stunning shipwrecks dating back hundreds of years that divers will find absolutely irresistible to explore. In fact, the area has a reputation as being a graveyard for ships in the Atlantic and there’s even a museum by the same name guests can visit on Hatteras Island. In total, it’s estimated about 3,000 shipwrecks lie under the water around the Outer Banks with some dating back all the way to the time of the first English settlers in the area. Many of the easiest to reach are located off Cape Hatteras where trading and exploring were prime when the area was first being settled. Many elements led to disastrous conditions for ships including weather, nighttime journeys, underwater shoals, and navigation errors too. 

Unfortunately, the stories leading to the shipwrecks are always unfortunate, but today, they also mean divers will find that they have a seemingly endless number of dive destinations to choose from.  Huron which is located off of Nags Head is a particularly popular dive site while the “Triangle Wrecks” near Kill Devil Hills are equally intriguing. It’s hard to overlook the appeal of diving to the German U-boats that sit off the Outer Banks shores as well.  

While independent dives are an option across the Outer Banks, many water sport enthusiasts choose to book a group or private diving tour here instead. Both the Roanoke Island Dive Center and Outer Banks Outdoor Ventures offer these excursions as well as certification courses when you’re looking to prepare for this time of underwater excursion. At the Roanoke Island Dive Center, adventurers can take advantage of varying levels of scuba classes as well as full dive charters upon request. Additionally, this dive center also provides guests with options to pair their scuba outings with spearfishing excursions, and freediving experiences and lessons as well. From start to finish, adding diving to your water sports lineup when you’re visiting the Outer Banks promises to be a thrilling experience.  

SUP Yoga

When you’re looking for a water sport to enjoy in the Outer Banks that’s a challenge but also lets you slow down and focus in for a while, there’s no better activity to enjoy on the waves than SUP yoga. There are several outdoor adventure companies in the area that offer options to book a place in an SUP yoga class with many happening in the early morning hours for the most tranquility possible enjoyed on the water. SUP yoga pairs the mindfulness and focus of a traditional yoga practice with the balance required to enjoy the practice on a stand-up paddleboard. These courses are led by knowledgeable instructors who guide the way to a peaceful moment that works towards strengthening, toning, and centering the mind at the same time. The team at Kitty Hawk Kayak & Surf School now offers Outer Banks SUP Yoga classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings throughout the summer beginning at 7:30 am. The class is designed as an introduction to yoga and all of the gear you’ll need to enjoy the morning session is included in the cost of booking a place. 

Give Free Diving a Try

Traditional water sports are often associated with plenty of gear, equipment, and motorized on-the-water vehicles to enhance the fun. However, some water sports require nothing more than the breath in your lungs and some serious practice to enjoy. An example is the sport of free diving. Those who participate in free diving hold their breath to dive underwater without breathing equipment like a scuba tank included. Free diving is a physically and mentally challenging water sport that is used to improve fitness, meditate, or simply have capabilities to take yourself to places underwater that are truly inspiring. These days, free diving is also a competitive sport that’s practiced on a global platform. When you make your way to the Outer Banks and you’re looking for options to add free diving to your itinerary, the team at Evolve Freediving is happy to help. This company manages its instruction and practice sessions at Roanoke Island Outfitters and Dive Shop while its open water sessions are hosted by Vicarious Charters. Oftentimes, the best places to free dive in the Outer Banks are the same as those places where you would enjoy scuba diving or snorkeling too. Experienced free divers will find the triangle area wrecks and the Huron satisfying spots to put their practice to work.  

Don’t Leave Boating of the List

For so many travelers making their way to the Outer Banks, time spent on the water is a highlight of their stay. Fortunately, if you’re looking to make the most of time on a boat while you’re here, there are plenty of options to do exactly that! Whether you’re looking to rent a pontoon boat for the day and explore at your own pace, or you’re committed to a day of fishing and need an angling vessel to make the most of the fun, you’ll find plenty of places that have quality gear and vessels in stock year-round. Fishing Unlimited Boating Center in Nags Head is a top option for renting fishing boats that are great for surf, pier, inshore, and offshore adventures too. Nor’Banks Sailing & Watersports in Duck is another great choice when you’re looking for top-of-the-line equipment and a friendly staff to help you choose just the right rental for on-the-water fun.  

Book Your Pirate’s Cove PropertyBuccaneer Village 411 porch overlooking a canal

Choose one of our Pirate’s Cove properties as the home base for all of your Outer Banks adventures! We offer a variety of homes and condos in multiple locations across Roanoke Island. You can pick between a quaint cottage in the heart of Manteo, a large family house bordering Roanoke Sound, or a single-family condo lying on one of the many canals in our gated community. Regardless of which property you choose, you’ll be close to all of the action on the Outer Banks. The beaches of Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills are only 10 minutes away in addition to countless activities!

What are you waiting for? Book one of our properties today and start planning your dream North Carolina beach trip! We look forward to welcoming you to the Pirate’s Cove family!

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