Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Waves, NC

  • Published 2022/08/01

Living life near the ocean is the dream of many.

If you didn’t know, this dream life is the everyday life of the warmhearted residents of Waves, North Carolina.

Waves is a small but lively community in Hatteras Island in Dare County, North Carolina.

It’s also a part of the famous Outer Banks.

However, Waves isn’t only about the long and breezy beaches.

Waves is also well-known for its vibrant culture and arts, rich history, delicious cuisine, and scenic views.

All these things draw tourists and visitors from all over the country and the world.

Its unparalleled beauty draws people who consider this superb location to be their refuge and home away from home.

If you want to know more, here are the best things to do in Waves, NC.

Get an Adrenaline Rush with REAL Watersports

Do you fancy an escapade where fun and thrills meet?

Then, go to REAL Watersports to try different fun water activities.

From kiteboarding and surfboarding to jet skiing, visitors can enjoy various watersports without having to worry about learning them alone.

REAL Watersports also provides lessons, a coach, and a guide to ensure you enjoy the most exhilarating experience.

The location will take your breath away as it is known as one of the country’s best kiteboarding and surfing sites.

What if you don’t have the right gear?

That’s not a problem because they also sell ready-to-wear wetsuits and accessories for your chosen water activity.

You can also rent gear there.

The beautiful beach is more fun with these water activities, which will surely become a highlight of your trip.

Dine amid the Sea Breeze at Watermen’s Bar and Grill

The Watermen’s Bar and Grill offers its guests a unique dining experience.

This cozy bar and grill lets you try waterfront dining with outstanding beach views.

The fantastic scenery isn’t the only great thing here, because the view compliments the great food.

For instance, they serve mouthwatering sandwiches and wraps.

Then, you can order meat grills that taste like they were made in heaven.

Likewise, you can try the amazing seafood platters that will surely make you want to order more.

This place is also perfect for hanging out and chilling.

Enjoy their heartwarming cocktails and beer and listen to live music and shows.

Bring your family and friends for a must-try meal at Watermen’s Bar and Grill.

Join the Hatteras Island Surf Fishing Challenge

If you want to test your fishing skills, you should participate in the annual Hatteras Island Surf Fishing Challenge.

This fishing competition celebrated every year on Hatteras Island honors fisherfolk and anglers.

Contestants who can net a big haul will win big prizes.

Fishing does fuel the friendly competitive spirit among the challengers.

This affair becomes an excellent opportunity for residents and visiting anglers to socialize.

Anyone can join the tournament, and there are four divisions: Bluefish, Sea Mullet, Spanish, and Pompano.

Just follow these important rules: catch fish only with a rod and a reel, and don’t fish from a boat or on the pier.

Join the Hatteras Island Surf Fishing Challenge!

Pick your favorite fishing spot, reel in your biggest catch, and win fabulous prizes.

Enjoy Sweet Comfort Food at Waves Market

Who doesn’t crave comfort snacks and deli products that remind you of home and childhood?

In St. Waves Plaza, you will find Waves Market, where you can see a wide variety of affordable snack selections to eat or bring on the road.

This hidden gem in Waves sells amazing burritos, filling sandwiches, hearty meals, and tasty snacks that will never disappoint your taste buds.

The place also sells different alcoholic beverages like craft beers, wine, cider, hard seltzer, and rum to spice up your trip to the island.

Whether you are just visiting Waves Market for a quick grocery run or a curbside pickup, this market should satisfy your cravings.

Catch Fish at Rodanthe Pier Place

Aerial view of Rodanthe Pier Place

Genus photog /

Fishing at Rodanthe Pier Place should be the right activity for those looking to relax by the sea.

Located on Atlantic Drive, the pier is ideal for catching different kinds of fish.

You can also get an amazing view of the beach; the pier is also a fantastic place to witness the sunrise.

Daytime view of Rodanthe Pier Place

Bram Reusen /

You can rent a pole or rod and start catching fish right away.

Spend the day fishing at Rodanthe Pier Place.

Whether with family or friends, your time here is worth it because you can bring home your hard-earned catch.

This place is four minutes from Waves.

Other Things To Do Nearby

Walk on the Beautiful Dunes of Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Welcome sign of Jockey's Ridge State Park

refrina /

The well-known Jockey’s Ridge State Park is home to the tallest living dunes on the east coast.

This park is an excellent location for hang-gliding, kite flying, hiking, and sightseeing amid the beautiful dunes.

Scenic view of Jockey's Ridge State Park

Chansak Joe /

You can also enjoy the trail, have a picnic, and fall in love with the unique desert-like place beside the beach.

People visiting the Outer Banks should never skip Jockey’s Ridge State Park.

Bring your family and friends, and do not forget to wear proper sun protection to guard against intense heat.

This place is in Nags Head, North Carolina, 35 minutes from Waves.

Coin-operated binoculars at Jockey's Ridge State Park

Jay Yuan /

Conquer the First Flight Adventure Park

The First Flight Adventure Park houses several aerial obstacle courses that range in difficulty.

You will never get bored here because the amusement facility has over 50 obstacles and 14 ziplines available for guests of all ages.

Everyone can get the thrill of a lifetime.

Likewise, you can hold special gatherings there, like birthday parties, team-building sessions, or corporate outings.

Go home with a fun experience you will never forget.

Any day is a good day to challenge yourself at the park’s aerial courses, so add First Flight Adventure Park to your itinerary.

This place is in Nags Head, 29 minutes from Waves.

Visit the Historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Gorgeous sunset over Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Jay Yuan /

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse holds so much history and so many stories that they deserve the fame they have gained over the years.

This landmark in Buxton, North Carolina, can tell you various stories from centuries ago.

Today, it continues to shine a light on Atlantic coast travelers.

Built from 1799 to 1803, the first lighthouse stood 90 feet tall.

Entryway of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Tom Worsley /

However, people thought it was too short, so they extended it to 150 feet.

During the 1870s, they eventually replaced the entire tower.

Beach erosion forced the community to relocate the lighthouse several times.

Modern upgrades and renovations have made sure the building remains in excellent condition.

Let the rich history of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and its years of service amaze you and your companions.

You can find this place 28 minutes from Waves.

The lamp of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Jason Schronce /

Enjoy a Day at the Beach at Salvo Day Use Area

The sound of the ocean waves as they kiss the soft sand and the sun’s warmth must have magic because it captivates every visiting soul.

The Salvo Day Use Area is an oceanside park where beachgoers can camp, grill, and have a picnic while enjoying the clear waters.

Families flock here to spend a day since the shallow water is perfect for the kids to have fun while you see a glorious sunset view from the beach.

It is also a famous spot for thrill seekers to enjoy water sports such as kayaking and kitesurfing.

Undoubtedly, the beach in the Salvo Day Use Area is where everyone can indeed have fun with all the activities to do.

You can find this place in Salvo, North Carolina, six minutes from Waves.

Marvel at Local Art at Pea Island Art Gallery

You won’t have difficulty finding creative and talented artists and notable works around the Outer Banks.


You can find them all at Pea Island Art Gallery.

The gallery houses a wide selection of artworks from artists within the region, including home decorations, paintings, and jewelry.

You can even check out pottery and glassware that will beautify any home.

You can see works in varying styles and mediums, from artworks depicting the beach lifestyle to local ornaments for a country accent.

Artists here love sharing their creativity and showcasing their works for others to enjoy and buy.

These items sell for just the right price.

This place deserves a spot on your itinerary because there is something for everyone here.

You can find the Pea Island Art Gallery in Salvo, North Carolina, three minutes from Waves.

Commune with Nature at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

View of a pier at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you prefer a more laidback destination on your trip, visit the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Established in 1938, this wildlife refuge provides a safe home for several endangered, migratory, and local birds.

The refuge has recorded over 370 bird species and various other animals that live in the scenic dunes, marshes, brackish ponds, and beaches around the area.

The place protects the wildlife and ensures that the species residing at the refuge receive correct care.

The wildlife refuge’s tranquility is something you should appreciate.

Visit Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to unwind and learn more about the various species that live there.

Find the refuge in Rodanthe, North Carolina, 15 minutes from Waves.

Go Camping at Camp Hatteras RV Resort & Campground

Whether traveling to Waves in an RV or bringing a tent, the Camp Hatteras RV Resort & Campground in Rodanthe is the perfect place.

Set up camp and enjoy your RV-style vacation trip beside the beach.

The RV resort boasts 400 camping sites with concrete pads and convenient facilities.

Campers enjoy the fun amenities of the campground, such as the kid’s playground, bathhouses, a community room, and game rooms.

You can also enjoy indoor and outdoor pools, a jacuzzi, and courts for tennis and other sports.

The campground is excellent for relaxing and enjoying a fun vacation with family and friends.

Socialize and meet new people as you do activities and games with other campers.

With festive activities every day for all ages and decent access to the beach, it is impossible not to fall in love with the place.

Camp Hatteras RV Resort & Campground is three minutes from Waves in Rodanthe.

Visit the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site

Your trip around the Outer Banks of North Carolina would not be complete without a visit to the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site.

This place is North Carolina’s biggest existing life-saving station and one of the best full sites in the country.

This life-saving station-turned-museum houses information and artifacts about the brave men that make up the US Life-Saving Services.

These brave people rescue sea travelers along the coast of North Carolina.

Visiting this station is educational, empowering, and inspiring.

Learn how the coast guard has served the people and saved countless lives.

Every corner of the two stations and five outbuildings holds a remarkable story everyone can learn from.

The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site is a must-visit.

Find the station in Rodanthe, four minutes from Waves.

Grab Cold Treats at the Village Conery Ice Cream & Yogurt

If exploring Waves and Hatteras Island has exhausted you, grab a delicious cold dessert at Village Conery Ice Cream & Yogurt.

This ice cream and yogurt shop serves all kinds of cold desserts to refresh you on a hot day.

They serve Hershey’s hand-dipped ice cream and yogurt, milkshakes, delicious sundaes, banana splits, ice cream cakes, and a whole lot more.

Nobody would argue that this ice cream shop is the best on the island with its wide selection of unique and creamy flavors.

Bring the whole family to the Village Conery Ice Cream & Yogurt for the best sweet and cold treats on the island.

You can find them in Salvo, two minutes from Waves.

Become a Master Kiteboarder at Kitty Hawk Kites Kiteboarding School

Whether a complete newbie or an experienced kiteboarder, you will surely enjoy Kitty Hawk Kites Kiteboarding School.

This adventure sports center in Rodanthe offers kiteboarding lessons from skilled instructors.

Even total rookies can learn and eventually master the sport.

However, you can also enjoy parasailing, jet skiing, surfing, kayak tours, and more.

Guests can rent or buy equipment and gear and purchase souvenirs and gifts to remember this memorable experience.

You will jump high, cruise through the seas, and drop into the waves in no time.

Book a kiteboarding lesson and session at Kitty Hawk Kites Kiteboarding School.

It’s just two minutes from Waves!

Final Thoughts

People who need to run from the busy city life should find Waves the perfect place to rest and have fun.

Nothing could go wrong with the town’s picturesque beaches, all the watersports you can enjoy, and all the stops to satisfy your senses.

While visiting North Carolina, you will surely make your first experiences a lasting memory.

Book your trip today!

You might even find more things to do in Waves, NC after you arrive.

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