Vacationers will notice a handful of sailboats at every local Outer Banks port, either saddled up to the docks or breezing across the harbor, en route to the nearest sound for a cruise, or to the continent-spanning Intracoastal Waterway to continue a long coastal voyage. Some vacationers are even in it for the long haul, docking for a summer or a winter season at a number of local marinas that offer all the comforts of home. Clearly, sailing lovers of all varieties have plenty of options, but even newcomers to the sport can experiment with life on the water with a local sailing lesson, rental, or waterfront cruise.
You haven’t been to the Outer Banks if you haven’t been to a fishing pier, and Nags Head Fishing Pier is as authentic as they come. One of the oldest and longest surviving piers on the barrier islands, this is a great place to take the kids or less agile folks to hook a fish. But people of all ages and skill levels enjoy the great inshore fishing available here, thanks to the closeness of the warm Gulf Stream off the coast. There’s a full-service tackle shop with gear for rent, including rods, reels and other tackle. Bait is also for sale. One-day, three-day eight-day and season passes are available, and kids pay half. And if you catch a fish, you can have the pier's restaurant cook it for you! Even if you never fished a day in your life, it is worth paying the $1.50 to walk on the pier to enjoy the view and the wonderful social scene, and be entertained watching folks fish. The ocean looks awe-inspiring, and it’s fun to feel the sturdy pier sway as the waves crash under it.