By Dave Fairbank | Correspondent
Whether you’re on the Outer Banks for the Fourth of July due to shrewd planning or a happy accident, there are ample activities and outlets for a festive Independence Day at the beach. Surf, sand, food, nature and, of course, fireworks provide a festive backdrop for visitors and residents for a day full of fun or pure relaxation.
Beach day essentials
Say you forgot beach gear at home or simply didn’t feel like cramming your entire garage into the vehicle for a beach trip. No sweat. Plenty of places have you covered for renting chairs, umbrellas, canopies, boards, bikes, you name it. Most deliver.
Just For The Beach Rentals | Beach chairs, beach wheelchairs, watersports, outdoor games, coolers
Ocean Atlantic Rentals | Beach gear, bikes, watersports, baby items and grills
Moneysworth Beach Equipment and Linens | Beach chairs, umbrellas, utility carts and coolers
OBX Beach Cabana Services | Tents, cabanas, umbrellas, set-up service offered
Beach Masters | Tents, beach chairs, coolers, Bluetooth speakers
Whether you pack light for the beach or carry enough to equip a platoon, remember water and sunscreen and a wide-brim hat. Have aloe or Solar Recover on hand for the inevitable sunburn (seriously, you’ll thank me later). And if you plan on taking your pooch to the beach, be mindful of the temperature. If the sand is too hot for your feet, it’s likely scorching Rover’s paw pads, as well.
Lifeguard-attended beaches are along the entire expanse. Here’s where to find their stands at each town:
Corolla: Ocean Hill, Bismark Street, Corolla Village Road, Shad Street, Stergeon Street, Herring Street, Bonito Street, Sailfish Street, Buck Island, Crown Point, Ocean Sands (Sections P, O, F, D and B), Currituck County Beach Access, Hampton Inn.
Duck: Ocean Pines Drive, Carrol Drive, Sprigtail Drive, Widgeon Drive, Snow Geese Drive, Barrier Island Station Duck, Dune Road, Schooner Ridge Drive, Christopher Drive, Scarborough Drive, Four Seasons Lane, Plover Drive
Southern Shores: Hillcrest Drive, Dogwood Trail, Triangle, Chicahauk Trail.
Kitty Hawk: Byrd Street, Eckner Street and at the Kitty Hawk Bathhouse near Kitty Hawk Road, as well as roving lifeguards on ATVs.
Kill Devil Hills: Helga Street, Hayman Street, Eden Street, Avalon Drive, 5th Street, 3rd Street, 2nd Street, 1st Street, Coral Drive, Asheville Drive, Woodmere Ave., Carlow Ave., Ocean Bay Blvd., Oregon Ave., Baum Street, Clark Street, Martin Street, Atlantic Street, Neptune Drive, Lake Drive, Eighth Street
Nags Head: Albatross Street, Abalone Beach Access, Bonnet Street, Hollowell Street, Enterprise Street, Loggerhead Street, Nags Head Town Hall Public Beach Access, Epstein Street, Gray Eagle Street, Jennette’s Pier, Gulfstream Street, Hargrove Street, Ida Street, Indigo Street, Juncos Street, Limulus Drive
Hatteras: Coquina Beach, Frisco, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Beach
Ocracoke’s Lifeguard Beach near the airport is the island’s only beach patrolled by a lifeguard.
Bike ride essentials
Cycling is a leisurely, and sometimes more effective, method for exploring and getting around crowded streets and paths.
Outer Banks Bicycle on the Beach Road or Bike Barn on Wrightsville Boulevard in Kill Devil Hills.
Kitty Hawk Cycle on Poor Ridge Road in Kitty Hawk.
Manteo Cyclery on U.S. Route 64 in Manteo.
Duck Cycle on N.C. Highway 12 in Duck.
Island Cycle and Beach Gear Rentals on N.C. Highway 12 in Avon.
Everybody’s hungry after a day at the beach or cycling around the towns. And you need to be well stocked if you’re hosting the holiday’s cookout!
It’s a special occasion so make grocery shopping special, too. Support the local economy and small businesses by visiting the local merchants and purveyors. These mom-and-pop businesses help bring fresh-caught fish, seasonal produce and other island delicacies to the table (and grill) in time for a delicious meal before the fireworks begin.
Austin’s Fish Company, Sugar Shack Fish Market and Whalebone Seafood Market in Nags Head.
Billy’s Seafood on Colington Road.
O’Neal’s Sea Harvest at the Seafood Industrial Park in Wanchese.
Dockside ‘N Duck and Tommy’s Natural Foods Market & Wine Shop in Duck.
Bluewater Seafood, Dockside North and Seaside Farm Market in Corolla.
Surf’s Up Seafood Market in Avon, Buxton Seafood on Highway 12, Austin’s South Island in Rodanthe, and Harbor House Seafood in Hatteras Village.
Tar Heel Too in the Seagate North Shopping Center in Kill Devil Hills.
Nags Head Produce, next to Austin’s Seafood Company.
Manteo Farmers Market, on Saturday mornings at the Manteo waterfront.
Tomato Shack in Duck.
Dawn’s Harvest Mart or Seaside Farm Mart in Corolla.
Village Red and White Market in Hatteras.
Steamer pots are an option if you’d rather simply heat and not go full-on Martha Stewart. Remember to call early.
Outer Banks Boil Co., on the Bypass in Kitty Hawk.
Dockside ‘N Duck and Coastal Cravings in Duck.
Sugar Shack, next to Sugar Creek Seafood at the bend near the Nags Head Causeway.
Steamers in Southern Shores Crossing Shopping Center.
Fat Crabs Rib Co., in Corolla.
Austin’s South Island in Rodanthe.
Nothing better captures a Fourth of July at the beach than fireworks over the ocean. Here are six spots between Corolla and Ocracoke to catch the explosion of colors across the night sky.
Nags Head: Nags Head Fishing Pier | 9:25 p.m. | July 4
Kill Devil Hills: Avalon Pier | 9 p.m. | July 4
Manteo: Roanoke Sound and Shallowbag Bay | 9 p.m. | July 4
Ample viewing spots along the waterfront, and Roanoke Island Festival Park will be open with music in the evening before the fireworks.
Hatteras: Avon Fishing Pier | 9 p.m. | July 4
Ocracoke: Silver Lake Harbor | 9 p.m. | July 3.
The island’s two-day celebration continues July 4 with a parade through town, a sand sculpture contest at the beach, a scavenger hunt and a community bonfire that evening.
Corolla: Festivities will take place July 5, based at Historic Corolla Park near the Whalehead Club. Activities begin at 5 p.m. with live music, games and food trucks. Fireworks will be launched over the Currituck Sound shortly after sunset.