Most people don’t associate the beach with wintertime. Even though it’s the beginning of winter on the Outer Banks, December is a great time to be here. Often, our first frost comes this month. The great fall fishing has tapered off and only rarely will there be a beach day where you will want to be in your bathing suit. Besides a few things that will help get you in the holiday spirit, this is the time of year to enjoy a few specific items here on the Outer Banks. Here’s our Outer Banks bucketlist for December.
Visit the 12 bars of Christmas
With fewer vacationers this time of year, many restaurants decide to take a well-deserved break. However, some local eating establishments make the most of this season and transform into Christmas themed restaurants and bars. For example, Lucky 12 becomes Jingle 12 and Goombays becomes Goombrrs. You can see this year’s restaurant participants here. It seems like each year these restaurants compete to see who has the most Christmas spirit. The décor and the name are not the only changes. They’ll also change the menu to celebrate the season. It’s worth going to at least a couple of these restaurants this time of year. Don’t wait because this is not something you can do in February or July.
View the Stars
With fewer people here there’s less light pollution and the weather is less humid. Both those things affect viewing the stars. Find a spot where most homes are not occupied is easier this time of year. The ocean front is a good place to start. The night sky views to the east can be amazing. If you really want to get the full effect, drive south of Oregon Inlet in the National Seashore or over to the mainland in the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge. From these locations you can get miles from the lights of OBX towns. In December, the Milky Way is in the southern sky. You can also see the Gemini, Orion and Taurus constellations this time of year. Besides stars, often rocket launches can be seen from the Outer Banks. NASA’s Wallops Island facility is about 150 miles away as the crow flies. Check out their launch schedule here.
Celebrate the Anniversary of Flight
The world changed forever as a result of an event here on December 17, 1903. That’s the day the Wright Brothers had their first heavier than air flight in what is now Kill Devil Hills. On that day every year there’s a celebration at the Wright Brother’s National Memorial. At the ceremony they honor at least one person who has had an impact on flight since that faithful day in 1903. My favorite part of the celebration is the fly over. Assuming the weather is good enough, they’ll be a flyover of different types of airplanes around 10 AM. This is an opportunity to see interesting aircraft closer than usual. You can go to the First Flight Society website for more details.
There are quite a few other fun things to do here on the Outer Banks in December. Santa shows up at many different locations including the Manteo Christmas Parade. The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo is decorated for the season and is a fun place to visit in the evenings of December. Don’t let the cooler weather keep you from enjoying this special place and making your own Outer Banks Bucketlist for December.