Updated 7/7/23 by Lori

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If you’re a fellow adventure-seeker and relaxation enthusiast, you’re probably looking to dive into a place that’ll transport you to a world of fun and breathtaking beauty. Hold on tight because I’ve got a little something for you: Rodanthe, North Carolina.

Rodanthe NC has a secret power— the ability to lull your worries to sleep with the gentle rhythm of crashing waves. Picture yourself strolling along pristine beaches, the salty breeze blowing away your cares. Or maybe you prefer to lose yourself in the adventure of deep sea fishing and wind sailing. Rodanthe is here to deliver.

So, my friend, let’s embark on this adventure together. Let’s discover the unspoiled beauty of Rodanthe, where relaxation and serenity await. Get ready to indulge in the calming embrace of nature, embrace your adventurous spirit, and let the world’s worries melt away. Are you in? Let the journey begin. Here are my 20 favorite things to do in Rodanthe, NC.

Map of the North Carolina Coastline with a cut out showing a closer up view of Rodanthe.
Besides the 20 best things to do in Rodanthe, NC, a bonus bit of fun are the views you’ll see while driving there.

Things to do in Rodanthe, North Carolina

woman sitting close to the camera on Rodanthe Beach with the ocean in the background and beach homes along the shoreline
Relaxing on Rodanthe Beach, one of the 20 Best Things to do in Rodanthe, NC!

Hit the Beach: Sun, Sand, and Fun! 

Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo have miles of beach for sunning, swimming, and water sports.

The beach near Rodanthe is a great place to walk, swim or sunbathe. I love the soft sand, basking in the sun, and enjoying the breathtaking ocean views. 

Waves, a stone’s throw away, is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, with kiteboarders and windsurfers dotting the horizon.

Salvo is a bit further south and has everything you need for a beautiful day at the beach. 

I love Pea Island Beach, just north of Rodanthe. It’s primitive, uncrowded, with majestic views of the Atlantic. 

The North Beach Campground General Store and Reef Beachwear can help you with any beach supplies to make your day in the sand the best.

Boating: Bring or Rent a Boat

Family on a boat
Enjoy boating on the Ocean or the Sound.

The Rodanthe area offers an incredible water exploration experience. Let me introduce you to the newer boat ramp at the sound side launch area on Myrna Peters Road. This public ramp provides easy access to the sound, allowing you to set sail effortlessly. With ample parking and accommodation for various boat sizes, it’s a hassle-free launch experience. 

Prepare to be greeted by stunning views and calm waters, perfect for fishing, leisurely cruising, or sun-soaked relaxation. And if you don’t have your own boat, nearby rental services offer a range of options. OBX Pontoon Man and Charlie’s Boat Rentals have a variety of bots to choose from. 

Deep Sea Fishing: World Class Fishing is Here

Cape Point is the go-to spot for unforgettable deep-sea fishing in the Rodanthe, NC, area. Located south of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island, Cape Point is renowned as the pinnacle of fishing on the Outer Banks. 

Its prime conditions for surf fishing attract various fish species, including trophy-sized drum, redfish, and cobia. The rolling waves and powerful surf provide an adrenaline-pumping challenge for skilled anglers. 

Beyond the exceptional fishing opportunities, Cape Point offers breathtaking sunrises, sunsets, and a rugged coastal landscape that adds to the experience. If you don’t have a boat, nearby rental services provide a range of fishing boats, ensuring you have all the tools for a successful fishing adventure. 

Fishing charters are available at The Hook Up, Reel Em In Charters LLC, and In Debt Charters.

Include Cape Point in your fishing itinerary for an unforgettable Rodanthe sportfishing experience. Get ready to reel in incredible memories!

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Rodanthe Pier: Fishing and Views

Sunset on Rodanthe Pier
The piers in the area offer beautiful views and fishing.

While in Rodanthe, visiting the iconic Rodanthe Pier is a must. Enjoy the breathtaking ocean views as you stroll along the pier. Fishing enthusiasts will be delighted by the fantastic angling opportunities, while even non-fishers can enjoy the atmosphere. 

But remember, there are a few rules to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment. While there is no need for a fishing license on the pier, keep your gear tidy, and respect marine life and the environment. 

The Rodanthe pier offers something for everyone, whether you’re angling or simply soaking up the coastal vibes.

Day rates for visiting the Rodanthe Pier.

  • Fishing 10 years and under  – $10.00
  • Fishing 11 years and up – $15.00
  • Live Bait Fishing – $15.00
  • Fishing Pole Rental- $12.00
  • Sightseeing – $2.00

Avon Fishing Pier: See Dolphins

The Avon Fishing Pier invites you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the ocean. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a curious beginner, the pier offers a rewarding fishing experience with abundant species to be caught. 

Stroll along the wooden planks, relishing panoramic views of the coastline and the possibility of spotting playful dolphins. The pier also features a well-stocked tackle shop for all your fishing needs and a chance to browse through beachwear and souvenirs. 

Remember to obtain a fishing license, keep your gear attended, and respect the marine environment by properly disposing of trash.

Day rates for visiting the Avon Fishing Pier.

  • Adults $12.00  
  • Children $8.00 
  • Sightseers $1.00 each 

Bonner Bridge Pier: Go!

Tan marsh grasses in the foreground with the rising Bonner Bridge in the background.
Located just north of Rodanthe is the Bonner Bridge.  Amazing ocean views and a fishing pier are here.

 

Discover the coastal paradise of Bonner Bridge Pier just north of Rodanthe. This pier offers fantastic views of the coastline and the Atlantic Ocean. Anglers of all levels can enjoy a variety of fish species, including flounder, drum, and trout. 

Don’t worry if fishing isn’t your thing; the pier is perfect for leisurely strolls, dolphin spotting, and capturing stunning sunsets. The pier also features a well-stocked bait and tackle shop.

Check for seasonal hours and weather-related closures before your visit.

There are no day rates at the Bonner Bridge Pier since access is free 24hrs a day.

Some rules to consider.

  • Must have a coastal North Carolina Fishing License
  • No jumping from or climbing the bridge pilings
  • No tying off boats to the mooring or bridge structure
  • No pin-rig or spearfishing
  • No pets, drones, or glass containers

Hiking: Amazing Views of Nature

Hiking gear on a porch near the beach.
There are plenty of beautiful places for a hike in Rodanthe, NC

There are plenty of places to hike near Rodanthe, NC. Walking in the summer can be challenging with the heat, humidity, and bugs.  It’s best to head out early in the summer or go in fall, winter, or spring. 

North Pond Wildlife Trail 

Surround yourself with the abundant wildlife on the enchanting North Pond Wildlife Trail in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.  Spanning 1.23 miles, this hidden gem offers a tranquil setting to observe diverse bird species, such as herons and egrets. The well-maintained path caters to all fitness levels, guiding you through stunning marshes, dunes, and the Atlantic Ocean ecosystem. Dogs are not allowed in the wildlife refuge. 

Cape Hatteras Beach Wayside

Experience the beautiful Cape Hatteras Beach Wayside trail near Rodanthe. This 1.2-mile out-and-back trail offers easy terrain for leisurely walks and birding enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the surrounding natural beauty in just 21 minutes of exploration.

Open year-round, each season brings its unique charm to the trail, from vibrant blooms in spring to the refreshing coastal air of autumn. Dogs are not allowed on this trial. 

Biking: Make Sure to Bring Your Bike

Woman and a bike on the beach in Rodanthe NC
Bring your bike to Rodanthe!

The Rodanthe area boasts many breathtaking trails and scenic routes for those who like to bike. Start at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, where pristine beaches and ocean views await. Explore the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse area with its mix of paved and unpaved trails for all skill levels.

 

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For a wildlife immersion, head to the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Pedal along the North Pond Wildlife Trail, surrounded by marshes, dunes, and ponds teeming with diverse bird species. 

If you’re up for a longer ride, the 138-mile Outer Banks Scenic Byway offers ocean vistas, charming towns, and historical landmarks. 

Seeking adventure? Try the Pea Island Cookhouse Trail, where off-road paths wind through salt marshes and maritime forests, providing glimpses of herons, turtles, and maybe even an alligator. 

Didn’t bring your bike, not a problem. Island Cycles & Beach Gear Rentals and Rodanthe Rides LLC cover you from mountain to e-bikes.

Hang Gliding: Not for the Faint of Heart!

Man hang gliding
Hang glide near Rodanthe.

With two convenient locations in Rodanthe (Kitty Hawk Kites) and one just up the road in Nags Head (Kitty Hawk Kites Hang Gliding School), Kitty Hawk Kites has everything you need to take to the skies. You can find it all with Kitty Hawk Kites, from lessons on the ground to taking flight. They have plenty of other adventures you can choose from.

Chicamacomico Life Saving Station

Wooden Life Saving Station against a blue sky in Rodanthe NC
Chicamaconico Life Saving Station near Rodanthe. Credit Elizabeth from Burlington

If it’s your first or 50th trip to Rodanthe, you can’t miss spending an hour or so visiting the Chicamacomico Life Saving Station. Established in 1874, this historic site was crucial in saving lives along the treacherous Outer Banks coast. 

Step back in time as you explore the well-preserved buildings and artifacts, and hear captivating stories from knowledgeable guides. Don’t forget to catch the live reenactments of daring rescues, where talented actors simulate vintage rescues in wooden boats. 

Remember to check their seasonal operational hours, typically from April to November, so you don’t miss out on this awe-inspiring experience. Get ready to be immersed in the bravery of the surfmen who risked it all to save lives.

Endless Possibilities

Shopping

Calling all shopaholics! Rodanthe NC offers not only stunning natural beauty but also a plethora of shops to satisfy your retail cravings. You’ll find a variety of charming boutiques, local stores, and specialty shops that will keep you happily browsing for hours. 

And the best part? You don’t have to sacrifice the fun and beauty of being seaside. Whether you’re hunting for coastal-themed décor, souvenirs, stylish apparel, or one-of-a-kind treasures, Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo have it. 

Here are some of my favorite places to shop.

Get a Cocktail on the Water

A bright yellow sun begins its rise in the distance while boats are parked at the marina in Waves, NC.
Waves Beach is a great place to soak up some rays and get a cocktail on the water.

The Rodanthe boasts a handful of waterfront bars where you can unwind and enjoy a refreshing beverage. Picture yourself sipping a delicious cocktail or enjoying a cold brew while basking in the laid-back beach vibes.

So raise your glass, soak up the coastal atmosphere, and toast to good times in these great watering holes. Cheers, my fellow libation lovers!

My favorites include:

  • Good Winds Restaurant– Directly sound side, this bar and restaurant overlooks the best kiteboarding site in OBX. Go at sunset for a fantastic photo op.    
  • Neptune’s Kitchen and Dive Bar– This is an excellent place for live music, cocktails, and seafood. Enjoy the picnic tables in the back at sunset. 
  • Waterman’s Bar & Grill– This place is just the best. The drinks are strong, the views are incredible, and the live music is always good. You can’t go wrong here!

North Carolina Aquarium: See Sharks Safely

The North Carolina Aquarium is the real deal! As soon as you step through the doors, you’ll be immersed in a world of fascinating marine life. The massive shark tank is a definite highlight, where you can witness these majestic creatures gliding above you—an unforgettable experience! But that’s just the beginning. 

The aquarium offers interactive touch tanks where you can feel the slimy skin of stingrays and the rough shells of sea turtles. Don’t miss the adorable penguins waddling around or the mesmerizing jellyfish exhibit with their ethereal movements. 

Additionally, the aquarium boasts nature trails and gardens for a stroll, where you can learn about local flora and fauna. It’s an adventure that combines learning with fun, leaving you with a newfound appreciation for the oceanic world. Dive in and have a fin-tastic time with family and friends!

My kids have always loved this place.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

A shy filled with puffy white clouds hangs over the marshland in the foreground.
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is a fantastic place to kayak!

The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is an absolute paradise for those seeking natural beauty. Imagine endless pristine beaches, towering sand dunes, and vibrant salt marshes teeming with wildlife. Birdwatching is a definite highlight, with colorful herons, egrets, pelicans, and rare species like the piping plover. 

Kayaking through tranquil waters offers a peaceful experience, where you might encounter turtles, dolphins, and majestic ospreys. And don’t miss the incredible sunsets—find a cozy spot, watch the sky come alive with vibrant hues, and let your worries drift away. Pea Island is a slice of heaven if you’re yearning for a nature escape. Dogs are not allowed in the refuge. 

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

a striped lighthouse stands in the distance with sand hills with grasses on them in the foreground
Cape Hatteras National Seashore offers plenty to explore, including its renowned lighthouse.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a coastal oasis that will steal your heart. Imagine miles of pristine sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and gentle ocean breezes. The iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a must-visit, offering breathtaking panoramic views from the top. 

Fishing, surfing, and wildlife spotting are popular activities, with dolphins and sea turtles appearing. And let’s not forget the awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets that paint the sky in vibrant colors. Cape Hatteras is a haven for adventure and relaxation, where sandy toes and salty kisses are the norm. Pack your beach essentials, gather your loved ones, and prepare for an unforgettable beachcombing experience. Happy beach days!

Airboat Rides: Not Just For Florida

The Ultimate Guide to Cape Canaveral in Florida for Visitors Captain Duke's Airboat Rides
How about an airboat ride for thrills?

When most people hear “airboat rides,” they are immediately transported to the Everglades of Florida. An airboat ride is like strapping yourself onto a turbocharged hovercraft and zooming across the water with an exhilarating rush. But this thrill isn’t solely a deep south activity; you can have the wind in your hair, the joy of gliding over marshes and swamps, and the occasional splash of water in Rodanthe, NC.

This is tons of fun, and you can get the whole family together on this outing with some boats accommodating up to 10 guests. You’ll get the full hook-up with Outer Banks Adventures

Kiteboarding, Windsurfing, and Stand Up Paddleboarding

windsurfer moving fast across the water on a sunny day
Plenty of winds to keep windsurfing enthusiasts speeding across the water!

Looking to get out onto the waters in an exciting fashion? Some newer sports for adrenaline junkies are kiteboarding and windsurfing, both available in Rodanthe. For those who like a slower pace, paddleboarding may suit you better. 

Whatever your pleasure, seeing the Rodanthe coastline from the water is fantastic. Get squared away with all your equipment needs rental from OceanAir Sports in Hatteras.

Kayak the Pamlico Sound

Sunset somewhat obscured by clouds with a pier and post in the foreground and couple seagulls flying nearby
It looks like the ocean, but it’s the more tranquil waters of Pamlico Sound.

Kayaking in calm coastal waters is like gliding through a serene paradise. The gentle lapping of the water against your kayak, the warm sun kissing your skin, and the stunning coastline views create a tranquil and soothing experience. You can get that experience right there in Rodanthe in the Pamlico Sound.

Encounter playful dolphins leaping and majestic ospreys soaring above, creating a front-row seat to a magnificent wildlife show. Discover hidden coves and teeming marshes, with colorful birds and curious turtles adding to the excitement. 

Check out Island Cycles & Beach Gear Rentals or Charlie’s Tri-Village Watersports to set you up with the required gear if you need a rental. Happy kayaking!

Fun/ Gaming Center

Boys on video game machine
There’s an arcade and gaming center for rainy days.

Looking for some fun on those days when something indoors might be better? HWY 12 Amusements has plenty of indoor and outdoor fun for the entire family. At this well-rounded, kid-oriented haven, you’ll find rock climbing, laser tag, bowling, and arcade games to keep you busy. It’s like a mash-up of Chuck E Cheese and some adult fun…minus the mouse. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am – 8 pm.

 

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Nights in Rodanthe House

Old four-story wooden inn stands tall among the willowing grasses on the beach.
The famed house from Nicholas Sparks’ book and movie “Nights in Rodanthe” stands proudly near the beach.

Drive by the iconic Inn from Nicholas Sparks’ book and movie “Nights in Rodanthe.”  Stepping into this charming coastal retreat feels like stepping into the heartwarming story itself. Guests can experience the magic by staying in the same rooms where the characters find love and healing. 

The Inn offers breathtaking ocean views, inviting rooms, and a peaceful atmosphere that allows you to immerse yourself in the romance and tranquility of the film. From walking along the pristine beaches to indulging in delicious coastal cuisine, every moment spent at the Inn from “Nights in Rodanthe” is filled with nostalgia and a sense of connection to the beloved story. It’s a dream come true for fans of the book and movie and a delightful escape for anyone seeking a memorable coastal getaway.

NOTE: This is a single-family home available for weekly rental.  You may take outside pictures but not go inside unless you rent it. 

 

 

Key Info You Need 

A rolling beach with tufts of grass poking through the sand gives way to waves breaking on the shoreline.

What is Rodanthe known for?

Rodanthe offers an unparalleled coastline with pristine beaches that cater to outdoor enthusiasts and beach lovers. The town has become a mecca for thrilling water activities like surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, and kayaking, providing an exhilarating experience for adventure seekers. 

If you prefer a more relaxed beach outing, there’s ample space for swimming, fishing, and enjoying the sun. Rodanthe truly has something for everyone, making it an ideal destination to create unforgettable memories while immersing yourself in the coastal beauty.

How to get to Rodanthe

Although there are no direct connections from nearby airports to Rodanthe, there is a scenic route to reach this coastal haven. 

If coming from the south, drive to Cedar Island, NC, and hop on the car ferry to Ocracoke, NC. Enjoy another picturesque drive to Ocracoke and catch the car ferry to Hatteras Island, NC. Finally, drive to Rodanthe, where your beachside adventure awaits. 

From the north, you’ll take route 168, which turns into 158 until you get to coastal route 12, then keep going south until you reach Rodanthe.

Are Rodanthe Beaches crowded?

Rodanthe offers a charming, narrow beach that provides a peaceful and uncrowded experience. If you’re used to the bustling traffic in Corolla, you’ll find Rodanthe a refreshing treat. It’s important to note that Rodanthe is located at the northern end of the island, and while Corolla to Nags Head may give the illusion of an island, it is not an island.

Can you walk to the beach?

Yes, there are plenty of places to stay in Rodanthe from which you can find your way by foot to the water’s edge.

Do you have to pay to go to the beach?

The beach is free, but you must pay to access the pier. Additionally, visitors will have free access to a bathhouse, outdoor showers, picnic tables, and a first come, first serve parking lot with 97 spaces.

Ready, Set, Go!

Rodanthe, NC, is a paradise that keeps calling me back for more. Its stunning beaches, thrilling water sports, charming town, and rich coastal heritage make it the perfect destination for an unforgettable vacation. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Rodanthe has something for everyone.

But Rodanthe isn’t just about outdoor thrills. It’s a town brimming with charm and warmth, inviting you to discover local shops, savor fresh seafood, and immerse yourself in the rich coastal culture. Whether exploring historical landmarks or taking strolls through picturesque streets, you’ll feel the sense of community and hospitality that define this coastal wonder.

So, follow the sun-kissed path, and let Rodanthe work magic on you. This is just my list of favorite things to do in Rodanthe. Let me know your favorite things to do in Rodanthe, NC. 

For more exciting towns and beaches to explore in neighboring Virginia, check out my blog 36 Breathtaking Virginia Beaches to Visit: Your Ultimate Guide.

 

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4 thoughts on “20 Best Things to Do in Rodanthe NC”

  1. I would certainly plan to visit a place like Rodanthe with a secret power to lull me to sleep with the sound of crashing waves. We would certainly want to head out on the water. And sure hope that we see the dolphins. Lots to see in Rodanthe. Thanks for the comprehensive post.

  2. Rodanthe looks so pretty! I love the views from the pier and from those different trails, it must be great to explore from a boat or kayak too!

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