Nags Head Fun Facts

  • Though just one town, Nags Head is often referred to as two different communities - "Nags Head" and "South Nags Head."
  • South Nags Head begins at the end of US Highway 158, and comprises of a small community of vacation homes that are located 1-5 lots away from the beach.
  • Nags Head is bordered to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and is bordered to the west by the Albemarle Sound. South Nags Head is bordered to the west by the Roanoke Sound, and subsequently Roanoke Island.
  • There are no alligators in the Albemarle Sound, but the region is home to thousands of seasonally migrating birds, as well as plenty of fish, reptiles, and even the occasional nutria and otter.
  • Along with Currituck County, Nags Head was one of the first areas of the Outer Banks that attracted visitors, thanks to its locale that was just a day's boat ride across the Albemarle Sound for mainland residents.
  • The first "beach homes" along the Nags Head oceanfront were established in the 1880s, and were comprised of salvaged materials.
  • In 1970, the town's year-round population was 414. Today, the year-round population hovers around 2,800, making it one of the most populated beach towns along the Outer Banks.
  • This population swells to 40-50K in the summer months when the town is filled with beach vacationers
  • Nags Head is 6.6 square miles in area, which includes just 0.1 square miles of water.
  • Nags Head is home to a big portion of the Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve, which is a whopping 1,092 acres.
  • Jockey's Ridge State Park, one of Nags Head's most visited attractions, is just 426 acres in area, but features the tallest active sand dune system in the Eastern United States.
  • Scientists estimate that the famed sand dunes of Jockey's Ridge were established roughly 7,000 years ago.
  • Jockey's Ridge is known as one of the best hang gliding destinations on the Eastern Seaboard.
  • Nags Head is home to one of the oldest fishing piers, Jennette's Pier, and one of the oldest restaurants in the Outer Banks.
  • Nags Head has its own beach cottage historic district, with homes that date back to the early 1900s, which is known as "Millionaires Row."
  • Nags Head was devastated by 2003's Hurricane Isabel, which destroyed a number of beach homes as well as the historic Jennette's Pier.
  • The pier was subsequently rebuilt after Hurricane Isabel to become one of the longest piers in NC at 1,000' feet long.

 

Kitty Hawk Surf Co.
Taiko Japanese Restaurant
Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin

Stop by Nags Head's Ben Franklin at Mile Post 10 on the Bypass where you will find everything you need for the beach! From Clothing, T-shirts and Swimwear to Boards, Chairs, Umbrellas and Tackle. You'll find it all…and of course, we have the best selection of Souvenirs anywhere on the Outer Banks. Enjoy your vacation! Independently owned by a member of one of the Outer Banks’ oldest families, the Ben Franklin store is stocked with just about everything a visitor would need to go to the beach.

 

Ben Franklin stores were once part of a five-and-dime retail empire, with about 2,500 locations across the country in its heyday. As decades passed and the times and customers began to change, many closed their doors, leading to fewer than 150 of these nostalgic shops. Nags Head Ben Franklin, however, has withstood the test of time and adapted to the needs of its customers to provide a memorable shopping experience on the Outer Banks.

 

Debbie Terry Tolson, manager of the Ben Franklin location in Nags Head, recalls working with former owner Tommie Daniels. Daniels’ father, Moncie Daniels, started the business in downtown Manteo in the early 1900s. The Daniels family has been a longstanding fixture in the Outer Banks business community—Moncie even sold gas to the Wright brothers in 1903.

 

Tommie, with an excellent business mind, saw the opportunity the new Bypass presented and, in 1977, he opened the Nags Head location of Ben Franklin. He was one of the first businesses on the Bypass,” Tolson says.In addition to a new location, the Ben Franklin store saw a new group of customers.

 

“People would come from all around because Tommie had a little bit of everything—it was more like a five and 10 then,” Tolson explains. “As he went to the beach, he began to get more tourists, so he started catering more and more to visitors.”

 

Today, the 21,000-square-foot souvenir shop quickly catches the attention of anyone driving by thanks to the ocean-themed mural that decorates the façade of the building, painted by local artist Rob Snyder. This Ben Franklin location has become the must-stop shop for both first-time visitors to the area and generations of families who escape to the Outer Banks annually.

 

Tolson credits the great prices and friendly customer service to the success of the location, which keeps families returning.“People come in all the time and tell me, ‘my grandmother or my grandfather used to bring me here and now I’m bringing my children,’” she shares. “One of my favorite parts about working here is seeing the people come back year after year.”

Cookshak Fried Chicken