Outer Banks Kayak Tours

kayakerWhether you want to explore the salt marshes or surf oceans waves, kayaking is an excellent way to experience the beauty of the Outer Banks. Unlike the closed-cockpit kayaks used in whitewater river runs, most kayaks on the Outer Banks are a sit-on-top style from 7 to 10 feet long. They're molded in brightly colored plastic, are light to carry to a launch site, and are manufactured in one and two seat models. A double-blade paddle and a life jacket are the only other pieces of equipment needed, and these are included with rentals and lessons.

For visitors with their own kayaks, public launch sites are available at Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Manteo, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and Dare County Beaches. Several companies offer rentals, lessons and Outer Banks kayak tours.

College of the Albemarle in Manteo (252) 473-2264 Ext.221 offers a 1 day, 6 hour kayak paddling and safety lesson. Of those six hours, three are instruction; the other three are practice in Roanoke Sound. Classes are held each Thursday, beginning in June.

Coastal Kayak Touring Company in Duck offers Outer Banks kayak tours for all ages and skill levels. Tours are 2 to 3 hours in length and are conducted in four locations: Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Kitty Hawk Marsh and Forest, and The Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary Tour at Sanderling. Tour times vary throughout the year. For specific information call (252) 441-3393. Tours can also be booked at the North Beach Outfitters in Duck.

Duck Village Outfitters offer tours on both the ocean and on the sound. Tours, as well as rentals, can be in single or double person kayak models. For more information call (252) 261-7222.

Kitty Hawk Kayaks has been providing tours for over 20 years and is one of the most respected kayak tour operators on the Outer Banks. Over a dozen kayak tours are offered, including overnight tours, full moon tours and tours along the reserves and wildlife preserves of Kitty Hawk, Pea Island and Alligator River. Tour times vary. For more information, call (252) 261-0145 or (866) 702-5061.

Kitty Hawk Kites/Carolina Outdoors offers guided Outer Banks kayak tours on the sound. Kayak experience isn’t required, and tours are available for all ages. Carolina Outdoors provides kayak tours from 8 different locations in the Outer Banks, including bioluminescence kayak tours and guided kayak fishing charters

The Outdoors Outfitters offers kayak tours and lessons through the Outdoors Inn Bed and Breakfast in Manteo. Tours operate year round, weather permitting, and include Wildlife eco-tours, Full Moon tours, Children’s tours, and a special tour to the Everglades in Florida. For tour information, call (252) 473-1356.

Many of the tour operators rent kayaks for those who want to paddle on their own. In addition, several rental agencies all along the Outer Banks offer kayaks and other water craft for personal use.

Public Kayak Launch Sites:

- Public boat ramp at the Whalehead Club

Kitty Hawk
- Ramp at the end of Bob Perry Road

Kill Devil Hills
- Bay Drive Ramp at Dock Street
- Parking area at Second Bridge on Colington Island

Nags Head
- Behind Jockey's Ridge State Park at the end of Soundside Road West
- Town of Nags Head, Public Sound Access

- Manteo/Nags Head causeway, base of the Washington Baum Bridge
- Base of the bridge leading over to Roanoke Island Festival Park

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
- Milltail Creek and Sawyer Lake marked kayak routes

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
- Check with Pea Island NWR Visitor's Center

Kayakers may also use any public beach access.

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