Category Archives: Outer Banks Travel Information

Shark safety tips

Shark safety tipsMany OBX visitors would agree that relaxing days at the beach are the best part of an Outer Banks vacation. Our beautiful beaches draw millions of tourists every year, but some vacationers stay out of the water due to their fear of sharks. Take a look at the shark attack statistics I am sharing below – it’s not as bad as you might think. In general, if you follow simple shark safety tips, you will have little to worry about.

It may be comforting to know that shark attacks on the Outer Banks, and in the world in general, are very rare. According to International Shark attack file, in 2012, there were a total of 80 unprovoked attacks in the entire world (78 in 2011, 82 in 2010) with a total of 7 fatal outcomes. About half of the unprovoked attacks happened in the North American waters (42), with the majority of them in Florida, Hawaii, and California. North Carolina had 2 recorded shark bites in 2012. According to the same source, the majority of shark attacks involve surfers and others participating in board sports, and only about 22% of recreational swimmers.

If you look at accident statistics for the Outer Banks, the chances of getting severely hurt by a shark are very slim when compared to the danger of riding a bicycle along the side of the highway 158 or crossing the road in unmarked crosswalks. Don’t let the fear of sharks stop you from enjoying the water, but do follow shark safety tips below.

    1. Sharks feed at dawn and at dusk, so swimming in the Ocean early in the morning or late in the afternoon is not recommended. I suggest the swimming time-frame of 10 am to 4 pm, to be on the safe side. 
    2. Some types of sharks are more aggressive than others, but, generally, they are not very interested in humans. However, sharks can mistaken shiny jewelry and swimming suit buckles for fish scales, especially in cloudy or murky water, so, it’s a good idea to leave all jewelry (including rings, bracelets, ear rings, necklaces, and watches) at home and save the shiny and reflective bathing suits for a pool. Same goes for bright colored swimwear as sharks are drawn to bright and contrasting colors, especially yellow.

3. Sharks are very attracted to bodily fluids, especially blood, so menstruating women and everyone with an open wound should avoid swimming in the Ocean. Urinating in the water may also be a bad idea.

4. Steer clear of fishermen fishing at the beach – you never know what might be after the smaller fish they are trying to catch. I also would suggest that you don’t swim too close to Fishing piers - sharks may be attracted to bait and discarded fish.

5. Splashing resembles the behavior of wounded prey, so swim smoothly and avoid erratic movements to avoid drawing shark’s attention.

6. Avoid sandbars and steep drop-offs.

7. Never swim alone. Although shark attacks are extremely rare, it’s always a good idea to swim with a group, just in case.

Related posts:

Outer Banks Mileposts

Outer Banks MilepostsIf you ask an Outer Banks local for directions, you are likely to hear a reference to Outer Banks Mileposts. Since the OBX consists of narrow islands that stretch for miles and miles, milepost system is very convenient, when it comes to giving directions. At the same time, mileposts can be somewhat confusing, if you are not familiar with the mile-tracking system. Here is how it works.

In Dare County, milepost (MP) count starts at Dare County/ Currituck County border line (on Wright Memorial Bridge) and runs south, along Hwy 158 and then along Highway 12 towards Cape Hatteras. Ocracoke also has milepost markers, but they are part of Hyde county mile-tracking system. Wright Memorial Bridge connects the Currituck mainland to Kitty Hawk and Southern Shores, and shortly after you get off the bridge coming into the Outer Banks from Currituck and Virginia, you will see the MILE 1 green and white sign.

Here is a list of approximate locations of Outer Banks Mileposts, from Kitty Hawk to Hatteras:

Milepost 1: Wal-Mart, ABC store, Starbucks Coffee shop, Food Lion

Milepost 2: Outer Banks Welcome Center, Highway 158 and Highway 12 intersection (that’s the road leading to Southern Shores, Corolla, and Duck)

Milepost 3: Brew Thru drive-through shop, Bank of America

Milepost 4: Kitty Hawk post office, Seven Eleven

Milepost 5: Henry’s Restaurant, right before the Outer Banks Paradise Fun Park

Milepost 6: Milepost 6 Shopping Center (look for Chip’s Wine & Beer Market and Chip’s Tasting lounge signs), less than 1/2 mile past Wells Fargo bank

Milepost 7: Kmart, R/C Movie theater, Belk, Food Lion

Milepost 8: Wright Brothers National Memorial and Kill Devil Hills Airport

Milepost 9: Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonalds, Pizza Hut – area also known as “French Fry Alley”

Milepost 10: Harris Teeter, Ben Franklin, Rite Aid

Milepost 11: Outer Banks YMCA

Milepost 12: Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Milepost 13: Surf Side Plaza, Nags Head Post office

Milepost 14: OBX Hospital, Applebee’s, Outback

Milepost 15: Nags Head Links golf course, Salt Water Taffy Store “Forbes Candies, Inc” (closer to MP 15.5)

Milepost 16: Tanger Outlet, The Dunes Restaurant, Owens Restaurant, Jennette’s Pier

Milepost 17: go on to causeway towards Pirates Cove Marina and Manteo attractions or go South towards Rodanthe (approx. MP 45), Waves (approx. MP 47), Salvo (approx. MP 49), Avon (approx. MP 63), Buxton(approx. MP 70), and Hatteras (approx. MP 79).

Next time, when you ask an OBX local for directions, you should be well prepared to hear: “It’s at Milepost _, next to _.” The Outer Banks Mileposts system has been working well for us, and we hope it will make it a little easier for you to find your way around the Outer Banks.

As always, please feel free to ask any questions about Outer Banks, we would love to hear back from you :) Enjoy your Outer Banks visit!

 

Related posts:

Weather in the Outer Banks

Weather in the Outer BanksWhat is the weather in the Outer Banks like? Generally, we get hot summers and pretty mild winters, with July and August being the hottest months and December, January, and February the coldest. In July and August, temperatures will sometimes go above 100°F, with the average temperatures in the 85-90°F range. In the winter, we can occassionally get 25°F to 32°F temperatures, but the average is usually around 50°F in December through late February. If you do come to the Outer Banks in the winter time, you may be pleasantly surprised with 65°F – 70°F days. In fact, this winter of 2012 – 2013, we have had quite a few warm days with temperatures in the high 60′s.

Does it snow on the Outer Banks? Snow on the Outer Banks is very rare. With the huge temperature hikes (low 30’s one day and high 60’s the next day), the combination of cold temperature and precipitation is a rare occassion. This year (2013) we got very lucky and had a snow day on January 25th. The snow actually did stick to the ground for a day, which was a major reason to celebrate for the Outer Banks kids. Generally, if you are coming to visit Outer Banks from a cold state and would prefer some warm weather, January and February are probably the two months you would be taking a chance with. I have lived on the Outer Banks for over ten years, and I can recall a few years when we had snow storms in late January. If snow sticks to the ground and the roads get icy, most businesses on the Outer Banks shut down, and there is very little to do. Sorry, our cars are not equipped with snow tires, so people can’t get to work. The good news is that, like I mentioned earlier, the snow is very rare on the Outer Banks and it usually melts within just a day or two.

In March, April, and November, temperatures on the Outer Banks are usually in the high 50’s to low 60’s. Outer Banks Tourist Season officially starts around Memorial Day and ends after Labor Day. In June it warms up to high 70’s – low 80’s, but water temperatures are usually still pretty low until mid to late June. September and October are the two months that are very much favored by OBX locals. Air temperatures are still pretty high – often in the high 70’s to low 80’s – and the water temperature is perfect for swimming through late September – early October.

It’s also worth mentioning, that we often get some High Winds on the Outer Banks, and they greatly contribute to chilly weather in the winter. As I am writing this on February 1, 2013, air temperature is 38°F, with WNW 17 mph winds.

Need more information on average monthly tempeartures? Be sure to checkout the weather in the Outer Banks. Enjoy your Outer Banks vacation! Hope the weather is just fine.

Related posts:

Post Office Outer Banks NC

Post Office Outer Banks NCLooking for Post Office on Outer Banks NC? Here you will find information on OBX post offices locations, operation hours, and phone numbers. If you are in Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills area, I highly recommend Kitty Hawk post office at Mile Post 4.5 featured in the photo. That’s the post office we have been using for years and we’ve always been happy with the friendly, helpful, and very knowledgeable staff of the KH post office.

Outer Banks Post Office Locations – OBX NC

KITTY HAWK › Post Office
Phone: 252-261-2211
3841 N Croatan Hwy
KITTY HAWK, NC 27949-9238
Retail Hours
Mon-Fri 9:00am – 4:30pm
Sat 10:00am – 12:00pm
Sun Closed
Phone: 252-441-5666
302 S Croatan Hwy
KILL DEVIL HILLS, NC 27948-9998
Retail Hours
Mon-Fri 9:00am – 4:30pm
Sat 10:00am – 12:00pm
Sun Closed
DUCK › Post Office
Phone: 252-261-8555
1245 Duck Rd
KITTY HAWK, NC 27949-9997
Retail Hours
Mon-Fri 10:15am – 3:15pm
Sat 10:15am – 12:15pm
Sun Closed
NAGS HEAD › Post Office
Phone: 252-441-7387
100 Deering St
NAGS HEAD, NC 27959-9998
Retail Hours
Mon-Fri 9:00am – 12:30pm & 2:00pm – 4:30pm
Sat 10:00am – 12:00pm
Sun Closed
COROLLA › Post Office
Phone: 252-453-2552
1150 Ocean Trail
Corolla, NC 27927-9703
Retail Hours
Mon-Fri 9:30am – 12:00pm & 1:00pm – 3:30pm
Sat 10:00am – 12:00pm
Sun Closed
RODANTHE › Post Office
Phone: 252-987-2273
25969 NC Highway 12
Rodanthe, NC 27968-9995
Retail Hours
Mon-Fri 8:15am – 12:00pm & 1:00pm -4:00pm
Sat 10:00am – 12:00pm
Sun Closed
Other Outer Banks Post office Locations: Frisco, Hatteras, Buxton, Avon, Ocracoke
Looking for things to do on the OBX, NC? Visit the Island Farm in Manteo, NC & check out this video about Outer Banks to get some ideas.

Related posts:

Outer Banks Airport

Outer Banks Airport

Outer Banks Airport

What Airport should I use when flying to the Outer Banks, NC?

If you are flying on a commercial airplane (vs. private airplane), the closest Airport to fly in is Norfolk International Airport (ORF) in Norfolk, VA or Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport (PHF). Estimated travel time from Norfolk International Airport to Kitty Hawk, NC is 1 hr 45 mins (around 80 miles), according to Mapquest; from Newport News-Williamsburg Airport to Kitty Hawk, NC travel time is 2 hrs 12 mins (106 miles). The best way to get from the Airports to the Outer Banks is by renting a car (car rentals are offered at the airports), taxi (pricey option), or, for big groups, I can suggest The Connection Transportation Services that offer to pick you up and drop you off on a shuttle bus. If you can find a great deal on airfare tickets, it may be worth flying into Raleigh, NC (3.5 t 4 hr drive) or Richmond, VA (3-3.5 hr drive) and renting a car at the Airport.

For private planes, First Flight Airport in Kill Devil Hills and Dare County Airport in Manteo, NC are the best options.

If you are looking to hire a private jet for the trip, Stratos Jet Charter Services offers Private Jet Charter Flights and Aircraft Rental.

Airport Locations on Google Map:

Please feel free to comment and ask any questions you may have about your Outer Banks visit.

Related posts: