8 Iconic Outer Banks Piers & Their History

There are plenty of notable piers on the Outer Banks and here we will highlight 8 of our favorites and their history! Most you can visit and some you may not even know about yet.

No visit to the Outer Banks is complete without a stroll on or under one of these unique ocean piers.

OBX Fishing Piers

From world-class fishing, to arcades, restaurants serving up fresh catches, there’s so much to love about all of the piers on the Outer Banks. History and resilience through decades of hurricanes is a simple reminder when relaxing under the shade they cast onto these beloved beaches!

#1: Kitty Hawk Pier

Kitty Hawk Pier was built in 1953 & has been rebuilt after many hurricanes, varying its length time and time again throughout the years! Hurricane Isabel nearly destroyed this pier in 2003, but it was purchased by the Hilton in 2006 and the pier was rebuilt & renovated. Since then, Kitty Hawk Pier has become not only a popular fishing pier but also a picturesque spot for oceanfront weddings & events throughout the year!

Kitty Hawk Pier, Kitty Hawk, NC, Outer Banks
Avalon Pier Watercolor by Meg Rubino, Kill Devil Hills, NC
(Artwork by Meg Rubino)

#2: Avalon Pier

Avalon Fishing Pier was built in 1958 in Kill Devil Hills. It was the last wooden fishing pier built on the Outer Banks! Like many of our piers, this one has taken a beating and has been rebuilt after many hurricanes.

After Hurricane Dorian swept through in September of 2019, we found several of the pier pilings and benches washed ashore on the beach! Driftwood like this has inspired our line of driftwood candle holders and accessories!

Avalon Pier also boasts great fishing (all hours of the night!), as well as a restaurant, bar, and arcade for kids.

Avalon Fishing Pier Arcade
One of our favorite family summer traditions: blowing a whole bunch of money at the Avalon Pier arcade to see who can win the best Dollar Store prizes haha!
Avalon Pier NC Piling
One of the pilings from Avalon Pier that we found washed ashore after Hurricane Dorian in September 2019.

OBX Pier Inspired Driftwood Decor

#3: Duck Research Pier

Located on the north end of the town of Duck, The Duck Research Pier is not like other Outer Banks piers. The pier was uniquely created for research purposes. Unlike other Outer Banks piers, this one is NOT open to the public!

It was established in 1977 by the Army Core of Engineers for the purpose of scientific research and data collection on things like nearby ocean depths, wind, waves, tides, and currents.

Duck Research Pier in Duck, North Carolina

The Duck Research Pier is known for its exceptional length, reaching 1,840 feet out into the ocean! The data collected by the Duck Research Pier is also used to help make storm predictions.

Jennette's Pier - Nags Head, NC

#4: Jennette’s Pier

Fishing is an Outer Banks tradition that was instantly changed when the first Jennette’s Fishing Pier was built in 1939. The pier was originally 754 feet long.

After Hurricane Isabel hit the Outer Banks in 2003 – only 214 feet of the first pier remained! Jennette’s Pier was eventually rebuilt and today sits 1,000 feet into the ocean.

Jennette’s Pier is owned by the North Carolina Aquarium Society. The organization uses the site as an educational outpost for the aquarium. Every year tens of thousands of school students come to visit the pier to learn about coastal environments and the ocean.

This pier also boasts some of the most gorgeous weddings on the Outer Banks – with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

#5: Nags Head Fishing Pier

The Nags Head Fishing Pier was built in 1947 and is the second oldest pier on the Outer Banks next to Jennette’s Pier.

This pier is close to the beloved group of homes in Nags Head’s Historic Cottage Row.

Nags Head Fishing Pier is a popular fishing spot for visitors and locals alike. It’s also a great spot for shell hunting due to the large shell beds that often accumulate in this area!

Nags Head Fishing Pier - Nags Head, NC
The Nags Head Pier spot is also my favorite location for a candle photo shoot!
Shell Beds Outer Banks NC
Shell beds often accumulate around Outer Banks piers. Treasures you can find include shells, shell fragments, pebbles, driftwood, crab shells, sea glass, & more!
Outer Banks Pier aka Fish Heads - South Nags Head, NC

#6: Outer Banks Fishing Pier (aka Fish Heads)

Constructed in 1959, the Outer Banks Fishing Pier is located in South Nags Head and is the closest pier to Oregon Inlet! Unfortunately, the pier had to be completely rebuilt after the historic Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 washed the entire pier into the ocean.

Today the pier is not only an incredible spot to fish, but it is also home to Fishheads Bar and Grill where the food is locally sourced and every seat has an ocean view!

#7: Avon Pier

The Avon Fishing Pier was built on Hatteras Island in 1962 and is an iconic destination for fishing. In 1984, the pier was put on the map when fisherman, David Deuel, caught a 94lb 2oz red drum just yards from the pier structure.

Deuel’s catch broke both the state and world record, and to this day is the world’s largest red drum ever caught! Every summer people flock to the Avon Fishing Pier in hopes of catching their own record-breaking red drum.

Avon Pier - Avon, NC. Photo by @swelllifeobx
Photo: @swelllifeobx
Frisco Pier NC - Photo by Daniel Pullen
Photo: Daniel Pullen

#8: Frisco Pier

Frisco Pier was built in 1962 on Hatteras Island and served as a beloved community landmark. Over the years it was ravaged by many hurricanes leading to its closure in 2008.

Many efforts were made to save the pier, however, none were ultimately successful. While the pier is no longer standing, it will live on in photographs – as it was one of the most photographed landmarks on the Outer Banks!

Experience the boardwalks, wildlife, fishing, and fun of these unique piers on the Outer Banks!

Under Outer Banks Pier
Barnacles on Outer Banks pier pilings
Outer Banks Piers Photo Shoot - Outer Banks Candle Co.
Photo Shoot!

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