One of my favorite times of the year is the week of 4th of July. This is a patriotic time of the year and the towns throughout the Outer Banks are lively. I have been going down to the Outer Banks for over 30 years now and one of my favorite things to do is watch the fireworks over the water. The wonderful thing about OBX is whether you are looking to have your feet in the sand overlooking the ocean or watching a fireworks show over a marina this place has it all. You will see fireworks all over the beach this time of the year and official scheduled evens from Ocracoke to Manteo and up the strip to Corolla.
I can't stress enough of what a spectacular site this is to see. The biggest struggle you can run into is to decide exactly where you want to watch them. To start, there are a few different areas you can experience the open air and Waterview shows. Each has its own character so its good to figure out what appeals to you before deciding to make the trip.
One of the more popular events is hosted over the Manteo Waterfront. Fireworks are launched over the Roanoke Sound and Shallowbag Bay. People have a direct view from the downtown docks or anywhere along Roanoke Island Festival Park. This quaint town has a old-time feel with many little shops, restaurants and a brewery. Arguably this area is one of the more exciting places to watch fireworks with a stunning background over a beautiful marina. You want to show up early as you can park throughout the town but it can fill up quickly. People tend to bring chairs and blankets and spend time enjoying the area before the show. The town typically has live music from local bands and many out door activities leading up to the event. The local old time feel, food and shops really add to the overall experience.
If you are staying down on Hatteras Island you can view the fireworks directly over the ocean as they launch them at the end of the Avon Pier. Now owned by Koru Village this area is perfect for RV's as they have a resort area specifically designed for that as well as Pangea Tavern which hosts a fun lively atmosphere right in the heart of Avon. Looking for a fun outdoor time their guests can visit their Beach Klub where you can partake in a full service bar and dance floor with a variety of different types of music. During firework show though, people sit on the adjacent open grass area facing the pier as well as along the Avon beach area. I have gone to this showing for years as we stayed in Waves N.C. and they never disappoint. If you don't mind walking you can park along the highway but it can sometime be pretty busy so expect to get there early. One of the hints I would recommend is many locals rent our their driveways for a small fee, so if you don't mind spending a few dollars you can park nice and close especially if your carrying chairs or coolers. The small added cost in my opinion is defiantly worth it. I come from New Jersey so we typically get used to paying to go on the beach and having a cost to park each time you want to visit the beach. One of the appeals to OBX are the beaches are free so take the one day a year and splurge it defiantly helps with traffic after and the overall experience. There is something to say for hearing the ocean in the background and having the ability to stick your feet in the sand on independence day.
If you want a truly unique experience that will probably need to be a day trip, you can take a trip to Ocracoke Island. This is only accessible by ferry through the Cape Hatteras ferry terminal, they have passenger or take your car right to the Island. They also have a nice grouping of shops and restaurants while your waiting at the terminal. This island hosts live music right up to the show, as well as you can experience the community beach bonfire. This island even though a bit of a trip will defiantly be a day to remember. Get there early and take in all the local sites. Grab a drink at Howards Pub a local favorite and check out their roof top sitting area or stop by one of the local shops to grab an ice cream. Ocracoke is famous for its 25 kilometers of pristine beaches. In 2007 it was named the number one beach in America.
Closer to our rental "Stress Less" in Kitty Hawk there are a couple of great places to see the fireworks. The Town of Kill Devil Hills hosts a showing on the Avalon Pier. Located at milepost 7 grab a seat anywhere on the surrounding beaches and pull up a chair to enjoy the show. They don't allow spectators on the pier but the view doesn't disappoint anywhere you can grab a seat. Parking is usually limited as it is the heart of the season so get there early to be able to find a good spot and watch the show over the Atlantic Ocean.
A similar event is held in Nags head at M.P. 11.5 off of the ocean pier on S. Virginia Dare Trail. Bring along beach chairs and towels but typically you have to avoid staying on the dunes. A little more unknown show that isn't sponsored by any town is over by the Hilton in Kitty Hawk. There have been fireworks set off there for the last several years from one of the homes. I am not exactly sure where or who as you can see them clearly from the Kitty Hawk pier area but they do rival many shows I have seen over the years. If you happen to be passing by its worth a look.
The final area covering the Northern most part of the Outer Banks just below Corova is in the historic Corolla Park. With limited parking and a first come, first serve basis get there early to take in the beautiful scenic views. This event usually has food trucks, live music and many contests and additional activities such as watermelon eating contest and kids dance contest until the fireworks show begins. Click here to see a video of past events.
So in wrapping up, there typically isn't a bad time to go to the Outer Banks as it unique not overly developed area as well as historic surrounding and friendly locals make your experience one to remember. If I could recommend a time to visit the week of the 4th of July is always going to be on the top of my list for wonderful memories and an experience that you soon wont forget.
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