Outer Banks Spotlight on the Town of Kill Devil Hills


Our OBX Spotlights have taken us from the northern Outer Banks southward, and the next stop along the way is the town of Kill Devil Kills. Let's take a look at what this equally historic and beautiful place has to offer.

Are you ready? Let's go!

If you missed any of the stops along the way during our tour of the Northern Beaches of the OBX, you can catch up at with the links at the end of this blog. Now, back to the road trip. KDH, here we come!

The History of the Town of Kill Devil Hills 

Kill Devil Hills is located near the geographic center of the Northern Beaches of the Outer Banks. It's also the largest municipality in Dare County, NC; receiving its municipal charter in 1953. It's one of the most populated towns of the OBX with approximately 7,000 residents year-round and tens of thousands of vacationers annually. Nestled between Kitty Hawk and Nags Head, there is a seamless transition to and from each of these towns, with no real recognizable borders.

Kill Devil Hills is just 5.5 square miles with .04 of that being water. Unlike some of the other OBX towns, Kill Devil Hills' businesses typically stay open year-round to cater to both its residents and tourists alike. 

As you probably already know from many of our previous posts, Kill Devil Hills is the "Birthplace of Flight" and site of the first heavier-than-air powered flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903. It is home to the Wright Brothers National Memorial and a lot of aviation history.

What you may not know, but wonder about, is the name. Kill Devil Hills? Exactly what does that mean and where did that come from? Good question. We have a few possible answers for you and it really depends on who you ask.

Legend #1: The pirates who once called these shores home are to blame. Apparently, one night while taking a "shore leave", a surly lot of buccaneers were sitting amongst the sand dunes that towered over the landscape, drinking moonshine that was "strong enough to kill the devil."

Legend #2: Lone lamp lights from travelers on the top of the hill would distract and disorient passing sailors, who would wind up shipwrecked along the treacherous inshore shoals, hence the area earning the moniker of "Kill Devil Hills."

Legend #3: In the 1700's William Byrd of Virginia, apparently no admirer of the Carolinas, wrote that "most of the rum they get in the country comes from New England, and is so bad and unwholesome that it is not improperly called "Kill Devil." 

Legend #4: The town received its moniker from an old brand of rum that washed ashore at the dunes here, the only surviving cargo from a nameless shipwreck.

As you can see, there is a lot of local lore and legend surrounding the name of Kill Devil Hills. We'll leave it to you to do some more research. Just let us know what you find...

The Beaches of Kill Devil Hills

The beach is always the main attraction in Kill Devil Hills, as it is in all of our Outer Banks towns. KDH has its own set of beach rules and regs, just like the other towns do. It's always best to visit the Town of Kill Devil Hills website for everything you need to know and what to expect before you visit. 

Dogs are not permitted on the beach in Kill Devil Hills from May 1 through September 30 during the hours of 9a.m. to 6p.m., unless they are service dogs. Glass containers, bonfires, fireworks and camping are not permitted on the beach. Metal detectors are allowed and driving on the beach is only permitted in the off-season of October through March. 

During your stay, may you see the occasional red flag blowing in the breeze. What does it mean? Red flags in Kill Devil Hills are precautionary. They alert swimmers to special hazard conditions, but it is up to the individual to heed the warning. 

There isn't a boardwalk in KDH, but right past the sand dunes you'll find the road that leads you to beachside shops where you can enjoy ice cream, a cold drink, a bite to eat, souvenir shopping, or whatever your heart desires.

Other than that, you can expect the usual pristine shorelines and sparkling Atlantic waters set among breathtaking scenery. You can fill your days with with sun, sand and surf and it never gets old. 


Things To Do in Kill Devil Hills

From on-the-beach activities to on-the-water adventures to shopping, restaurants and more, Kill Devils Hills and its centralized Outer Banks location put you right in the middle of the action. You're right on the border of miles of fun in whatever form you most enjoy it. 

Here are some recommendations for things to do in Kill Devil Hills: 

  • Biking 
  • Birding
  • Dining
  • Exploring
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Learn about the Age of Aviation
  • Stroll the parks
  • Shelling
  • Shopping
  • Swimming
  • Theatre
  • Visit the Little Red Mailbox
  • Watersports


Interested in what we have in store for you during your stay in KDH? Check out this link on OBX activities and things to do. Also read up on the restaurants in Kill Devil Hills to find the best places to satisfy your hunger while you're here.

Don't forget that the Hope Beach Access in Kill Devil Hills is home to The Little Red Mailbox. It's a must-see stop in the Outer Banks. Don't forget to leave a note of hope or get your daily dose of inspiration while you're there.


Attractions & Annual Events in Kill Devil Hills

Since Kill Devil Hills is home to the site of the "First Flight", you can expect to celebrate the occasion annually with the Wright Brothers First Flight Celebration held each December 17 at the memorial in commemoration of this epic event in aviation history. The Flying Pirate Marathon also happens annually here in KDH each April, where thousands of people come here to run from the Wright Brothers National Memorial, through the Nags Head Woods Maritime Forest and South to Nags Head.

Popular are some of the most popular, family-friendly attractions in Kill Devil Hills:








Where to Stay in Kill Devil Hills


Élan Vacations offers plenty of OBX vacation rentals in Kill Devil Hills to suit you and your family's needs. Peruse our KDH accommodations and choose the amenities that are important to you. You're only a few clicks away from your next Outer Banks beach vacation.

What are you waiting for? Let us know if we can be of any assistance to you. That's what we're here for!

In case you missed any of our other OBX Spotlight features, be sure to catch up here: 



Before we leave you for this week, we'd just like to suggest that anytime you need an Outer Banks beach fix that you visit the Kill Devil Hills beach cam for all beach all the time! OBX beach access 24/7, 365 days a year. How bad can that be?

Have you stayed in Kill Devil Hills during an Outer Banks beach vacation?

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