The beach comes first on the Outer Banks. Everyone comes to these islands for the beach. We all want to set up a spot on the sand and watch the ocean for hours or swim, surf, snorkel, build sandcastles, take a walk or have a picnic. The options are endless for enjoying the sun and surf. See Kill Devil Hills Recreation for some businesses that can help you enjoy your time better (places that rent beach chairs, surfboards and fishing rods, for example). We've also listed a few fun activities for those times that you can't enjoy the beach. But before getting started, here is some helpful information about the beaches of Kill Devil Hills.
Kill Devil Hills has more public beach accesses than we can list here, though we do provide information on the ones that have full amenities, below. In most areas there is a public access every few streets; look for signs posted along the Beach Road. Most have ample off-street parking and showers for rinsing sandy bodies. Many beach accesses have wooden walkways that make trekking over the dunes much easier. Lifeguards are posted along the beach from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Memorial to Labor Day. Roving lifeguards also patrol the beaches. It is good practice to always swim in front of a lifeguard. Not every access has a lifeguard, so this may require seeking a different beach access or walking down the beach to position yourself in front of the lifeguard stand. Look at signs posted on the lifeguard stand for important information about the ocean conditions such as the water temperature and the danger of rip currents.
A word on rip currents: They occur along the Outer Banks with regularity. A rip current forms when water rushes out to sea in a narrow path. They often occur around sandbars; look for differences in the water's color or surface and an area of water that streams away from shore. Rip currents can pull you out toward sea for a short way, and where most inexperienced swimmers get in trouble is that they panic and try to swim straight back toward shore. Don't do this; the current is too strong to swim directly against it. Instead, float for a minute to calm yourself then swim diagonally to shore to move out of the rip current, then you can swim back to the beach or catch a wave in.
On days when ocean conditions make swimming too dangerous, red flags will be flying at beach accesses. This means all swimming is prohibited. Please respect the lifeguards' decision and do not attempt to swim or let children wade in the water. Enjoy other beach activities instead - take a long walk, play games or hunt shells. Or, head to the soundside to a watersports headquarters for kayaking, parasailing or Jet skiing.
A few beach accesses with wooden walkways, handicapped parking, lifeguard and showers are:
- Asheville Street MP 7.5
- Woodmere Avenue MP 8
- Carlow Avenue MP 8.5
- Ocean Bay Blvd. MP 8.5 (this location also includes a bath house with restrooms)
Dogs are allowed on the beach in Kill Devil Hills year round, though from mid-September to mid-May they are only allowed from 6 p.m. until 9 a.m. They must always be on a leash, and owners must clean up after pets and dispose of waste properly (meaning in a trash can, not buried in the sand). Bringing a dog to the beach in the summer could result in fines. Dogs aiding the handicapped are allowed year round.
Personal Watercraft like Jet skis or Waverunners are allowed within town limits, but they cannot be operated within 300 feet of the shoreline or within 75 yards of the fishing piers.
Glass and Bonfires are not allowed on the beach in Kill Devil Hills.
Driving on the beach is allowed from October 1 to April 30. The suggested speed limit is 15 m.p.h. Stay off the dunes. The vehicle must have valid registration and license plate, and the driver must have a valid license. Keep in mind where you are while on the beach because beach driving is not allowed in Kitty Hawk, the neighboring town to the north. Nags Head, the neighboring town to the south, requires a beach driving permit.
Fireworks are often tempting to vacationers. In Kill Devil Hills, fireworks that explode or fly through the air are illegal. These types of fireworks include bottle rockets and Roman Candles. Legal fireworks include sparklers and cone fountains, but these can still be dangerous. Never use fireworks in a crowd or without a responsible adult present. Use fireworks away from buildings and dune grasses. Always dispose of litter caused by fireworks. Dispose of used fireworks only after first soaking them in water. For any questions regarding fireworks, contact the Kill Devil Hills Fire Department at (252) 480-4060.
Trash One last thing to remember: Whatever you bring to the beach, take home from the beach. That includes all trash. We all come to the Outer Banks for the beach. If we all do our part in taking care of the beach, everyone's experience will be great.