A 200-mile long series of splits and islands covering most of the North Carolina coastline, the Outer Banks draws tourists for its warm weather, gorgeous geography, and fantastic beaches. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore includes 70 miles of the OBX’s 100 miles of beaches, from Bodie Island in the north to Hatteras and Orcacoke Island in the South. The Outer Banks is a large geographic area, and not all sections of the 120-mile long Highway 12 are suitable for running — so use this guide to the best places for running in the Outer Banks! Some running highlights include:
Best Stretch of Highway 12: The 16 miles between Duck and Nags Head have a separated path and some great water views.
Beaches. A ‘renourishment’ program has helped make the beaches wider and flatter. Good beach running is always situational, but it can be great in the Outer Banks.
Best Off-Road Trails. We love the boardwalk in Duck, the oceanside trail in Corolla, and the trails in Nags Head Woods Preserve.
Best History. Great runs around the Wright Brothers Memorial, and the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.
Best Road Sections. Lovely running on the tip of Orcacoke Island, and around the towns of Southern Shores and Corolla.
Most Challenging: The dunes of Jockey’s State Park, and the sandy Open Ponds Trail in the Hatteras National Seashore.