Family Friendly Tips for Outer Banks Beaches


Nags Head offer some of the most family friendly beaches on the east coast. It is difficult to match the numerous beach accesses that offer free parking and the scenic views of our area. However, bringing your entire family down to the beach for the day can have its challenges too. Summer heat, crowds, and the potentially rough waves that reach our coast might have you second guessing your ability to execute the perfect beach day. Don’t be overwhelmed. Follow the tips below to put you and your loved ones on the fast track to fun in the sun!

Swim near a Lifeguard

No matter how experienced those in your family are in the water, always swim near a lifeguard. When deciding where to setup camp for your day on the beach, do yourself a favor and sit somewhere that is relatively close to a lifeguard stand. This will ensure that there will be an extra set of eyes looking out for your family’s well-being at all times. Even the most experienced watermen can’t deny the fact that they like someone keeping an eye on them while in the water. The town of Nags Head has some of the best lifeguards in the region, so take advantage of their amazing team of friendly ocean experts. Most Nags Head vacation rentals are within a mile of a beach access with a lifeguard on duty, so finding one should be easy!

Check for Rip Currents

Rips currents are the largest threat to those swimming in the ocean. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, rip currents account for over 80% of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards. While rip currents can be very dangerous, knowing how to spot them or checking with a life guard will ensure those in your group will stay safe in the water. To spot a rip current, look for a channel of churning water or an area that has a noticeable difference in the water color. Foam and seaweed or a break in the incoming wave pattern are also signs of a rip current. Rip currents are a serious matter but with a little ocean knowledge and a lifeguard on duty, your loved ones will be just fine. On your way down to the beach, check one of the lifeguard stands for any important updates regarding rip currents. Additionally, Nags Head Ocean Rescue puts yellow signal flags in areas where they have spotted rip currents. Be sure to pay attention and swim elsewhere if you see a yellow rip current flag.

Beware of the Incoming Tide

Nothing is worse than setting up your beach picnic and going for a walk only to find that the tide has come in and drenched your belongings when you return. With that said, check the tide charts or ask a lifeguard if the tide is coming in or going out. If it is coming in, give your belongings about an extra 10 yards between them and the waterline.

Stay Hydrated

Between the hot sun and the abundance of fun activities to enjoy at the beach, people often have a hard time staying hydrated. Be sure to bring plenty of water with you if you plan to spend an extended amount of time at the beach. In addition, wear sunscreen even on the most overcast beach days. Sunburn and dehydration go hand in hand so always wear your sunscreen and drink fluids while at the beach!

Arrive Early

Getting to the beach early has a variety of advantages. The sun is less intense, there is ample parking, and the waves are generally calmer in the morning during the summer months. Spend your mornings and early afternoons at the beach so after that you can stay cool while enjoying the shade!

Follow these tips while on your Outer Banks vacation to maximize the amount of fun you have at the beach.