Outer Banks Holiday Events, Town by Town

By Molly Harrison | Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Holiday celebrations are a big deal on the Outer Banks. From tree lightings to parades, home tours to ice skating, oyster roasts to bar-hopping extravaganzas, there’s something going on every single day during the holiday season. I'm going to give you the rundown of the biggest holiday celebrations but know that this is definitely not all of the things going on around town. For one, there are dozens of craft shows and holiday markets, which you can find here in last week's (newly updated!) blog on Holiday Markets. For more details on any of these events below or a full list of all the events happening on the Outer Banks this month, click here.

Photo: Corolla Christmas Village offers fun, family-oriented activities and shopping on Friday and Saturday evenings through December 30.


Christmas in Corolla is a month-long celebration that encompasses several events including:

Candelight Christmas Tours

Friday and Saturday, November 24 to December 16, 5 p.m.

The Whalehead mansion is beautifully decorated for the holidays. Tours include piano music on the one-of-a-kind Steinway piano and a holiday treat. Cost is $20 and reservations are required at (252) 453-9040.

Corolla Christmas Village

Friday and Saturday, November 24 to December 30, 5 to 8 p.m.

Take a stroll through historic Corolla village that has been decked out with lights. Stop at a food truck, sip a beverage from Kind Cup and visit the merchants.

Ice Skating in Historic Corolla

November 24 to December 31, Friday and Saturday 2 to 9 p.m., Sunday 12 to 6 pm
Plus: December 19, 21 and 28 12 to 6 p.m.

Ice skating in coastal North Carolina? Yes, it’s happening at Historic Corolla Park in Corolla, and hockey-style skates will be provided (because not many people around here have ice skates). Ice skating is free, but you may have to wait for your skate size and turn to skate.

Photo: Duck's Yuletide Celebration features stories with Santa.


Duck Yuletide Celebration

Saturday, December 3, 3 to 5 p.m.

Held in Duck Town Park, the celebration features holiday music, family activities, the lighting of the town’s Crab Pot Christmas Tree, the arrival of Santa and tasty food and drink from Treehouse Coffee and Rope Ladder Kitchen. The SPCA will be there with pets for adoption and accepting donations.


Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical

December 8 through 17

Theatre of Dare is presenting its Christmas musical on December 8, 9, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. and December 10 and 17 at 2 p.m. It’s irreverent and contains some adult content and language, so it’s not for everyone. But if you love a good laugh, you’ll love this Florida-based holiday show. Tickets cost $15 to $20. Theatre of Dare’s home theater is at 3848 N. Croatan Highway in Kitty Hawk.

12 Bars of Christmas

November 30 to December 31, 12 locations Kill Devil Hills to Manteo

This Christmas, 12 local bar/restaurants are transforming themselves into winter wonderlands full of holiday cheer. Besides being fully decked out for their unique holiday theme, they are offering festive special food and drink menus and fun special events. Get the scoop on all the bars that are participating and their special events and menus here. To book a VIP bus tour (while they last), click here.

Holiday Events at Dowdy Park

November 25 to December 9

Besides its Dowdy Park Markets on November 25 and 30 and December 9, the Town of Nags Head is hosting a few other events in the park, including the Tree Lighting with Santa on Saturday, November 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. and the Candy Cane Hunt on Thursday, December 14 at 4:45 p.m.

Christmas Stop at Nags Head Church

December 9 and 16

Nags Head Church is hosting hosting its fourth annual Christmas Stop, which includes train rides, a snowball arena, hot cocoa and cookies, photo ops with Santa, Christmas movies and more. The event is free, and donations will be accepted for Beach Food Pantry. This event is held from 5 to 8 p.m. both nights at 105 W. Soundside Road in Nags Head. 


Photo: Manteo Preservation Trust's Holiday Tour of Homes lets you peek inside Manteo's beautiful houses.


WinterLights at The Elizabethan Gardens

Through December 30, 6 to 9 p.m.

A million lights illuminate the paths and features in the 10-acre Elizabethan Gardens, plus there are holiday vignettes throughout the gardens. All of this makes for a lovely evening stroll with the whole family, plus there are open fires, entertainment, hot cocoa and gift shop sales. Click here for info.

Manteo Tree Lighting

Friday, December 1, 6 to 8 p.m.

Christmas carols, hot cocoa, cookies and games accompany the lighting of the town tree. The activities coincide with the First Friday events in Downtown Manteo, making this a fun way to celebrate. The tree is on the waterfront at the end of Budleigh Street

Christmas on the North End

Friday, December 1, 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, December 2, 3 to 7 p.m.

Island Farm hosts an experience of the holidays as it was in the 1850s. Activities, crafts and food are offered by costumed interpreters. Tickets cost $10.

Manteo Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 2, 10:30 a.m.

The annual parade is full of fun and floats and Santa. It starts at Manteo High School, winds along Wingina Street and through the streets of Downtown.

Manteo Preservation Trust’s Holiday Tour of Homes

Saturday, December 2, 1 to 6 p.m.

After the parade, stick around Manteo for the Holiday Tour of Homes. The self-guided tour features homes around Manteo that have been decorated for the season. Check in is at 108 Budleigh Street. Tickets cost $25.

Holiday Hustle 5K

Saturday, December 9, 3:45 p.m.

A twilight 5K run through beautiful Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and the surrounding area and ending at The Elizabethan Gardens with free admission to WinterLights. There will also be an Elf Dash for children age 10 and younger. Proceeds will benefit Outer Banks SPCA. To register, go here.

Photo: The largest holiday parade on the Outer Banks is held in Manteo on the first Saturday in December.


Hatteras Village Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 9, 2 to 5 p.m.

Join the Hatteras Villagers for their annual community parade from Community Center to the Fire House. After the parade there will be cookies and hot chocolate at the Fire House.

Shuck Hatteras Oyster Festival

Saturday, December 15 and Sunday, December 16

Oysters, tons of live music by local bands and lots of fun are happening at Cape Hatteras/Outer Banks KOA Resort in Rodanthe. There’s an Oyster Cookoff Challenge, oyster roasts, a fun run, an art village and more. Tickets cost $30 in advance or $40 the day of.


Ocracoke Parade of Boats

Friday, November 24, 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Ocracokers light up their boats and parade them around the harbor to celebrate the start of the season. After the parade, there’s an Ocrafolk Opry Thanksgiving Show at Deepwater Theatre.

For all of the holiday events around the Outer Banks, our Daytime and Nightlife listings have all the information you need. 

About the Author Molly Harrison
Molly Harrison is managing editor at OneBoat, publisher of OuterBanksThisWeek.com. 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.