Outer Banks vacation in late May?

Reader question: Is it warm enough for a family beach vacation to the OBX in mid-late May? Is the North Carolina coast too cold that time of year?

Answer 1: I booked in Nags Head the week of May 29th to June 4th. To celebrate my daughter’s graduation. Water temperature average is 70 air is 80. But I’d still say hit or miss. say

Answer 2: Not Bad if you’re a recently thawed northerner like me. My wife, the in-laws, and I have been renting in Rodanthe the week before Memorial Day (before the rates spike handsomely) for nearly a decade now. High temps are usually in the upper 70s/low 80s. Winds from the north can bring a chill in the evening. Ocean is also pretty chilly, but if your kids are like mine, they’re going to charge in anyway – and you’ll have to follow. Prepare yourself or rent a place with a pool. Bookings are light too. You can get a big swath of beach all to yourselves.

As a cost/benefit thing, it’s a nice balance. It’s much nicer on the opposite side of the busy season in late Aug, but then you run the risk of hurricanes. Our stingy wallets prefer to err on the side of caution.

Answer 3: Consider Sanibel Island in FL at that time. Warmer water. We’ve vacationed in the southern Outer Banks numerous times – from Rodanthe to Hatteras Landing – only once did we book pre-season – that was June. It was warm enough, but the wind was so intense a couple of days it kept us off the beach – sand-whipping HURTS!!!

Answer 4: Yes, the ocean is cold that time of year, but if you’re used to Jersey temps, no big thing. Average Ocean temp at Nag’s Head pier in late May is 68. That’s nothing for northerners. FWIW – can’t recommend Southern Banks in offseason enough. Stunning scenery, a bit of an off-grid feel to it, out in the middle of nowhere. Huge houses at very reasonable prices in off months, and you won’t have the insane traffic to fight getting in and out.

Only offseason downfall is a big one: No LIFEGUARDS. Also, each year, a few yummy tourists get eaten by sharks in N.C. One year we rented in Frisco. We could see schools of fish swimming in the waves in formation. Beautiful and awesome. My son and I were trying to grab them barehanded to no avail when my wife spotted a fin. OUT we came… of course! Where there are many little fish, there will be BIGGER fish!! Be careful.

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