There are benefits to visiting OBX in any season, but when choosing between busy touristy beaches and the much quieter towns from Corolla to Manteo, we have often opted for OBX.
In 2017 we chose a long weekend for our OBX Spring Break and in 2021 we opted for an entire week during the public school holiday.
Few Partying Spring Breakers & Quiet Beaches
First and foremost, by going to OBX, you’ll almost entirely avoid the rowdy High School & College-age revelers that frequent the more party-oriented destinations.
It is here that I share my photos of Spring Break in Panama City, Florida and my Cancun, Mexico blog from the turn of the 21st Century to highlight why we chose OBX for our family spring breaks. I respect that there is a time and a place (i.e. “Panama City Florida or Bust”) for these shenanigans, and OBX is not that spring break scene. There are very few jello shots on restaurant menus and night clubs are hard to come by.
In 2021, I walked the entire stretch of beach from Corolla Lighthouse to South Point on Ocracoke Island. During Spring Break I walked walked along the coastline from the Inlet Peninsula point to (almost) Hatteras Light. While the Atlantic waters in NC weren’t yet comfortably swimmable, many of the stretches of beaches were nearly empty.
I saw many of the ORV areas still lined with fisherman, but it was not as crowded as when families drive onto the beach to set up camp for a day of swimming.
March and April are still the “off season” for most of OBX, so we were able to get great rates at hotels and rentals. We “hotel hopped” up the coast, starting on Ocracoke Island at The Castle B&B in a Villa Room, then moved to the Lighthouse Suite in the B&B. From there, we stayed just on the other side of the Ferry Route at the Hatteras Landing Villas. We ended our trip in Nags Head at our favorite OBX destination, the First Colony Inn.
Great Local Restaurants, Shops & Excursions
We never go hungry in OBX, but in the summer restaurants are packed with long waits. In Spring most of the locally-owned restaurants are waking up from their winter hiatus. Dining outdoors is much more pleasant in spring than in the balmy summer. Shops with incredible books, crafts, clothing and art are less crowded and many still have off season sales.
Attractions, like Corolla Lighthouse, will also have far fewer visitors than during the high season.
Also, you don’t have to wait as long to take your turn on the Mini-golf courses in the spring.
Fewer Intrusive Flying Insects
Reviews of trips to Portsmouth Island include yarns of swarms of mosquitos that can carry away a small child. We can attest to the Ocracoke Island summer insect woes; a trip to the beach at night is nearly impossible due to small biting midges. In the spring, the mosquitoes and flies have yet to emerge in full force, making a trip to Portsmouth Island much more of a pleasant adventure.
OBX offers some of the best sunsets o the East Coast over the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. Visiting during the spring gives you an early sunset without having to trek over the hot sands at Jockey’s Ridge, or a sunset followed by a moonlit campfire on the beach in Ocracoke with time to be in your PJs at a reasonable hour. With young children, sometimes summer bedtime falls before everyone can enjoy nightlife, so the spring schedule is ideal.
(OBX Spring Break Bonus; during this nightlife we are far less likely to hear anyone playing beer pong outside until 4am.)