How to Celebrate an Outer Banks 4th of July

By Molly Harrison | Wednesday, June 26, 2024

If you want a taste of a small-town celebration (because the Outer Banks towns are really just small communities that welcome a ton of summer visitors), come to the Outer Banks on the 4th of July. From Corolla to Ocracoke there will be six fireworks shows, live music, three parades, a sand sculpture contest, an apple pie contest, a road race, a race over the sand dunes, community suppers and so much more. The Outer Banks locals go all out for the Fourth of July, and there's a ton of fun to be had, so get ready!

Be sure to keep safety in mind as you celebrate. Keep an eye on kids when they’re near the water or around traffic, stay hydrated, reapply your sunscreen, be extra cautious crossing the roads and designate a sober driver for all vehicles and boats. And remember: Personal fireworks are illegal in North Carolina, so leave them to the professionals.

2024 Fourth of July Fireworks Displays

If you plan to head out to watch the fireworks, keep in mind that you can see them for miles, so you don’t necessarily have to be right at the launching site to enjoy them. Go to the beach a few accesses away to avoid the crowds or watch from your house if possible. Walk or bike to avoid driving and having to find a parking place. If you do walk or bike, bring a flashlight or wear glow sticks so cars can see you. If you're boating for the fireworks, make absolutely certain your running lights are working before you head out because you and a lot of other boats will be returning to the docks in the dark.

Tuesday, July 2

Ocracoke Fireworks, 9:15 p.m. from the NPS Docks parking area

Thursday, July 4

Avon Fishing Pier, 41001 N.C. Highway 12, Avon, Hatteras Island, 9 p.m.

Downtown Manteo, Roanoke Island Festival Park, 9 p.m.

Nags Head Fishing Pier, 3335 S. Virginia Dare Trail, MP 11.5, Nags Head, 9:25 p.m.

Avalon Pier, 2111 N. Virginia Dare Trail, MP 6, Kill Devil Hills, 9:15 p.m.

Historic Corolla Park, 1160 Village Lane, Corolla, 9 p.m.

More Fourth of July Festivities


Wednesday, July 3

3 to 6 p.m. Fish Fry Fundraiser for Ocracoke Preservation Society, Island Inn Commons

7 to 8:30 p.m. Old Fashioned Ocracoke Square Dance with Molasses Creek at Berkley Barn 

Thursday, July 4

9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sand Sculpture Contest at Lifeguard Beach

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 4:39 p.m. Ocracoke Lighthouse Open for view inside (no climbing)

4 p.m. Old Tyme Ocracoke Independence Day Parade. Awards at 5:30 p.m.

6 p.m. Cookout fundraiser at Ocracoke United Methodist Church

7 to 10 p.m. Community Beach Fire Under the Stars – NPS Lifeguard Beach


Thursday, July 4, Hatteras Village

6 p.m. Hatteras Village Golf Cart Parade
The parade starts at Teach’s Lair Marina and goes through the village toward Eagle Pass Road. Anyone can enter; just be in the lineup by 5:45 p.m. 

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Community Cookout
Come out and get a burger or hot dog, and watch the parade from the cookout’s central location. (Parade winners will be announced near the Village Center as well.)


Thursday, July 4, George Washington Creef Park, Downtown Manteo

3 to 5:30 p.m. National Anthem, Decorated Bike Contest and Kids Parade, Apple Pie Contest, Food Trucks, Fun & Games

4 to 5:30 p.m. Riggsbee Road

6 to 7:30 p.m. The Brickhouse Band

7:45 to 9:15 p.m. DJ Mixin' Miles - Downtown

7:45 to 9:15 p.m. U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band at Roanoke Island Festival Park

9:15 p.m. Fireworks


Killer Dunes 2-Miler and Fun Run

Thursday, July 4, 8 a.m.

Run or walk 2 miles on the dunes of Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the tallest natural sand dune system in the eastern United States. Or choose a quarter-mile Fun Run. Proceeds benefit Friends of Jockey’s Ridge. This one starts at 8 a.m. and is sponsored by Outer Banks Sporting Events. Register here


Freedom 5K and Fun Run

Thursday, July 4, 5K at 7:30 a.m., Fun Run at 8:10 a.m.

The race starts and ends at Kill Devil Hills Town Hall. The entrance fee includes a t-shirt, medals, awards, chip timing and snacks and refreshments. Registehere.


Town of Duck Fourth of July Parade

Thursday, July 4, 9 a.m.

The 1-mile route begins on Scarborough Lane, travels east to Ocean Way and continues onto Christopher Drive to end at Pamela Court. No part of the parade is on Duck Road. A free post-parade party with music, refreshments and parade awards is held at Duck Town Park.


Corolla Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks

Thursday, July 4, 5 to 9 p.m., Historic Corolla Park

5 p.m. Food trucks, live music with The Dickens, family fun activities followed by fireworks at 9 p.m.

Free parking on site will begin at 3 p.m. until it’s full. Walk or bike to the site if possible.

That's definitely not all there is to do during 4th of July week on the Outer Banks. Scroll our listings for fun events, from free yoga classes to art shows to live music every night of the week; the links are here for our Daytime and Nightlife listings. Be safe out there and have fun!

About the Author Molly Harrison
Molly Harrison is managing editor at OneBoat, publisher of She moved to Nags Head in 1994 and since then has made her living writing articles and creating publications about the people, places and culture of the Outer Banks.