What to Do in the Outer Banks in May

May we say, what a beautiful month it is!

While the countdown to summer continues, May ushers in the warm weather on the Outer Banks. And May we say, what a beautiful thing that is. The weather in May on the Outer Banks sees average high temperatures around 76° and average low temperatures around 61°. Although we love to see summer on the horizon, we savor everything spring has to offer. After all, May on the Outer Banks is filled with fun outdoor activities and events without the sweltering heat! And not only that, but this time of the year brings so many tasty seasonal dishes to the table. Take a look at what we’re doing (and eating) on the OBX in May.

what to do in may - surf fishing
soft shell crab shedding tank

Try A Soft Shell Crab

If there can only be one thing you do besides hitting the beach during your stay in May, it is enjoying a true OBX delicacy — the soft shell crab. May marks the beginning of the soft shell season. The warmer weather spawns a growth spurt in blue crabs, causing them to shed their shells. For a very brief time in this process, they are left soft…and delicious. Local crabbers and their families tirelessly work around the clock to harvest this unique fare. To see our behind-the-scenes look into soft shell crabbing and where you can try one yourself, check out Soft Shell Crabbing: A Labor of Love.

what to do in may - car show

Hooked On Surf Fishing

It’s no secret that the Outer Banks is home to world-class fishing year-round. Just check out our Guide to OBX Fishing. Although we boast the best all year, May is when things really start heating up! As the temperatures rise, so do your chances of a successful outing, particularly if you are surf fishing. With migratory fish, like red and black drum, moving along the North Carolina coastline, you have a good shot at bringing home a delicious dinner! But before you head to the beach, make sure you check off all the boxes: do the right research, get the gear, and most importantly, pin down that permit. Do these things, and you’ll be hooked on surf fishing.

obx car show

OBX Rod & Custom Festival

If the fish aren’t biting, head over to see some sweet custom rides at the OBX Rod & Custom Festival, happening May 3-4, 2024. Automobile enthusiasts and folks of all ages look forward to this fun event each spring. The event takes place at the Soundside Event Site in Nags Head and includes cruise-ins, static displays, food, and family-friendly fun. All proceeds from the event benefit the local Outer Banks community.

Fun Activities for Kids

Keep the kids busy on check-in day and beyond with fun Outer Banks kid-friendly events. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from April through September, the Elizabethan Gardens offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with butterflies as they take their first flight. The session is both educational and unique for kids and their grown-ups. The event takes place on Tuesdays at 1:00 pm and Thursdays at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit The Elizabethan Gardens website.

Artrageous is an annual art festival for kids that takes place on Saturday, May 11, 2024, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. This free event is held at Dowdy Park in Nags Head and includes kids’ art activities, live music, dance performances, an artisan market, and food vendors.

what to do in may - lighthouse climb

Go For A Climb

Perhaps you’re looking to step back in time for a glimpse into the rich history of the Outer Banks or maybe you simply want to walk off all that delicious seafood you’ve been eating all week! In any case, we recommend climbing one of our historic lighthouses. While only three out of the five lighthouses allow climbers, many visitors make it a challenge to visit every single one or add a daily climb to their routine. For more information, visit our Guide to OBX Lighthouses: Know Where and When to Go.

star wars - Top 6 Outer Banks Home Theater Rooms

Amazing Amenities

Although in May we’re one step closer to consistently sunny days, we still have the occasional dreary day…or even a few days. It’s times like these that indoor amenities take center stage, like media and game rooms. Continue celebrating May the Fourth by kicking back in your personal home theater with a Star Wars marathon. We have plenty of other suggestions for things to do on the Outer Banks when it’s raining if you happen to experience unfavorable weather during your stay. You’ll have so much fun, you’ll forget it was even raining!

Hang Gliding Spectacular

Just like the crabs, this warm weather has us coming out of our shells! May welcomes many exciting events back to the OBX, including the 52nd Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular! Experience the longest-running hang gliding competition in the world. Join professional hang gliders at Jockey’s Ridge State Park May 16-19, 2024, for this incredible long-standing tradition. Not around for the event but still want to check out hang gliding? Head over to Kitty Hawk Kites for a hang gliding lesson. Or keep your feet on the ground and fly one of their kites!

Looking for More Suggestions?

Many fun things are happening on the Outer Banks in May. You could take a self-guided tour of Outer Banks Breweries or groove to some live music. KC & The Sunshine Band will be performing at Roanoke Island Festival Park on May 25, 2024. Get tickets and more information here, and don’t forget to pack your Boogie Shoes. Also, check out what we did in April on the Outer Banks!

Laurel Burgam

Laurel Burgam

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