Kick Off Summer with Memorial Day on the Outer Banks

By Hannah Lee Leidy | Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Memorial Day weekend is synonymous with summer’s arrival. With sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80s, who doesn’t want to spend Memorial Day on the Outer Banks? The number of visitors started picking up weekends ago, and from this Friday forth, it’s full steam ahead. And with the increase in people, Outer Banks events, activities and other fun diversions grow by manifold too. Get the most out of your Memorial Day weekend with the number of Outer Banks events for music, family-friendly fun, shopping specials, wining and dining and more. It’s a cool chance to see how businesses, organizations and residents are gearing up for the summer season. However, if you just want to spend your days lolling on the beach and little else beyond that, I’d never hold that against you.

Photo (above): OBX Paddle Palooza

Of course, what is Memorial Day without the accompanying festivities? For a wholesome, family-friendly affair, try the Memorial Day Beach Blast in Corolla on Sunday, May 26, from 12 to 5 p.m. A concert from Soul Intent removes Whalehead Estate and the historic village from the Victorian era and places it in the 1960s. The funk, R&B and Motown influences come together in the delightful form of beach music, so slip off your sandals for shag dancing in the grass. Set up your beach chairs or a blanket and enjoy the show. Leave the cooler at home – food and beverages will be available from onsite vendors. This event will also have bounce houses, games and a corn-hole tournament, so bring the whole family to this free event.

Now that summer is unofficially upon us, it seems only fitting for the Town of Duck to host a Summer Kick-Off Concert in Duck. Honor fallen troops with uplifting patriotic tunes as the Second Marine Aircraft Wing Band performs on the Duck Town Green. This free concert is on Monday, May 27, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Pack a cooler, grab a beach chair and round up the family. It’s an idyllic way to spend an evening watching the sun set into the Currituck Sound as the wind carries the music.

Photo: Duck Town Park

Broadly speaking, people on the Outer Banks are a pretty outdoorsy bunch. We surf, kayak, boat, paddleboard, hang glide, walk, bike and more, and those times when we do need a break from whatever activity are usually spent on a beach chair in the sand. Whether you’re a pro at a sport or just interested in dabbling in a newer hobby, the Outer Banks presents an awesome spot for both this weekend.

For a quintessential coastal pastime, try paddleboarding around the ocean or sound. The ninth annual OBX Paddle Palooza, held this Saturday, May 25, offers a day of SUP fun in the name of good health. Each year OceanAir Sports and the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation organize this event, and this series of SUP races creates an event accessible to all levels. Try SUP yoga, a 1-mile race or the 5-miler if you’re feeling bold. There’s also a 5K if you’re looking for something in between or a 100-meter sprint if that’s more your speed. Paddle Palooza raises funds for local islanders battling cancer, and you can help contribute by participating in the races or dining at the local restaurants involved in the event. Top off the weekend with barbecue, live music and raffles, and you’ve got the makings for a fine time. The fun starts at 8 am and lasts all day.

Photo: Outer Banks Sporting Events

Now, let’s balance out the surf activities with turf ones: If you’re a runner, jogger or crawler (hey, as long as you’re out there), check out the races and runs happening for Memorial Day. Check out the Shore Break 5K in Hatteras on Memorial Day, May 27. Here you wake up early for a beautiful 8 a.m. jog around the Kinnakeet Shores on the northern part of Hatteras Island. The scenic path gives runners the opportunity to drink in the peaceful setting as they traverse wooden bridges, boardwalks, beach walkways and the dunes. At the finish line, runners’ efforts are rewarded with a pancake breakfast and beers provided by the Carolina Brewery. The race begins at 8 a.m., but younger or less experienced runners can hold out for the Tide Pool Fun Run on the beach, starting at 9 a.m.

This Saturday, May 25, Outer Banks Sporting Events debuts their newest race in Nags Head, Band in the Sand 5K. This evening run starts at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, and you follow the course out and back with tiki torches lighting the way. At the finish line, the Jonny Waters Band performs on the beach. Stick around to hear the live music and recover with barbecue plates and cold beer on the beach. The race begins Saturday at 6 p.m. and the after party is open to both runners and their friends. Proceeds from the race benefit the Outer Banks Relief Foundation and the Dare Education Foundation. Learn more about Band in the Sand here.

Speaking of music, Memorial Day Weekend is a prime time for rocking out and boogieing down, and this weekend’s lineup does not disappoint. Before heading to the Band in the Sand 5K, get the weekend rolling with world-class reggae legends The Wailers, featuring Africa Unpluggedat the Outer Banks Brewing Station this Friday, May 26, at 10:30 p.m. Their soulful, Rasta roots will send you into the weekend with beaching on the brain. This is one of the biggest acts happening on the beach this weekend, and tickets are guaranteed to sell out in advance. Get tickets pronto, and save yourself the hardship of trying to listen in from the Brewing Station’s parking lot instead of inside with the people who planned ahead. If you miss that show, try to catch local band Hot Signals on Saturday or Richmond-based Cashmere Jungle Lords on Sunday, both at the Brewing Station.

There are plenty more Outer Banks events happening for Memorial Day. For farmers markets, art shows, exhibits and more, check out our Daytime Events page. If you want live music galore, including karaoke, dance parties or open jam sessions, our Nightlife calendar guides you to the hot spots from Corolla through Ocracoke.

About the Author Hannah Lee Leidy
Hannah Lee is a fiction and creative nonfiction writer living on the Outer Banks. She graduated from Kenyon College in Ohio with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Traveling is her passion, but nowhere ever feels as much like home as the Outer Banks. When not planning her next trip or adventure, Hannah Lee loves aimless drives down the Beach Road, spending copious amounts of time in coffee shops and reading every short story collection she gets her hands on.