The Outer Banks is known for its wild landscape and miles of water, so it’s no surprise that kayaking enthusiasts love heading to Hatteras Island for some of the best paddling in North Carolina. Whether you’re taking a guided sunset tour through the Pamlico Sound, or attacking the Atlantic waves in an ocean kayak, there are plenty of kayaking rentals and tour companies, and beautiful saltwater locales to get you paddle wet.
Many of the country’s most respected water sports centers call the Outer Banks their home port, and this gives beginner kayakers ample room to explore their options. Kitty Hawk Kites, with locations in Rodanthe, Avon, Hatteras and Ocracoke Island, offer guided kayak tours through the Pamlico Sound. Enjoy bird and animal watching at a leisurely pace, or for a real treat, book an evening sound sunset tour, and watch a gorgeous waterfront sunset from a front row seat. Be sure and bring a camera, as you can’t ask for a Pamlico Sound sunset from a better vantage point.
To explore at your own pace, Kitty Hawk Kites, along with rental companies such as Ocean Atlantic Rentals, can provide you with a kayak rental for a few hours, or for an entire vacation. Many soundfront and canalfront vacation rental homes have small boat docks or launching points, ideal for kayakers.
If you’re staying along the oceanfront, there are public sound beach accesses all along NC Highway 12. Just look for the small sandy roads leading to the sound, or pick a public parking area like the Salvo Day Use area on the southern side of Salvo, or Canadian Hole in between Avon and Buxton. Anywhere along the Pamlico Sound can serve as a launching point since the sound waters are shallow enough to wade out a little bit and then climb into the kayak and start paddling.
For those who want a challenge, ocean kayaking delivers. Be sure to rent a kayak specifically designed for ocean kayaking, as they are designed for channeling through a breaking wave. Borrowing principals from surfing, ocean kayakers paddle out just past where the waves are breaking, and “catch” them, paddling just hard enough to speed them along, and effectively ride towards shore.
For beginners, be sure to start out near a smaller break. Even smaller waves can pack a punch and provide enough momentum for a kayak, and it’s much easier to topple overboard with a larger, choppy wave.
Of course, you can enjoy a leisurely paddle along the ocean as well. Maneuver yourself past the breakers, or pick a south facing beach when the waves are generally much smaller, like South Beach bordering Cape Point in Buxton, or neighboring Frisco. Some folks even bring a small fishing rod and a little bait along, in case a tasty school of Sheapshead or Sea Mullet happen to pass by while paddling through the ocean waters.Picture of the Week Picture of the Week Hatteras Island Sports