Where Are The Outer Banks?

It’s no surprise that Netflix’s #1 show in the U.S. right now is Outer Banks, the action-adventure tale about rival teenagers who get wrapped up in a modern-day treasure hunt. The massive hit features everything you could ever want from a summer binge, namely lovable characters, nonstop action, forbidden romance, and twists and turns galore. Once you start watching, it’s impossible to stop, which is exactly why fans are already itching for season three after season two recently dropped. (Can you say cliffhanger ending?!)

One of the main draws of the show is of course its idyllic summer setting. The Pogues, played by Chase Stokes, Madison Bailey, Jonathan Daviss, and Rudy Pankow, call their home on Kildare Island “paradise on earth,” where they spend their days surfing, drinking beer, and hanging out on their skiff, the HMS Pogue. Their lives are sun-soaked and bursting with beach parties and hurricanes and more island mysteries than they know what to do with.

Both seasons of Outer Banks have made us want to hop in the car, high-tail it to the east coast, and get in on that summer action Pogue-style.

But Where Are the Outer Banks? Are They Even Real?

While the show is actually filmed in Charleston, South Carolina, the Outer Banks are indeed a real-life string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. Often abbreviated OBX (even on advertisements for the show), the Banks separate the Atlantic Ocean from the Currituck, Albemarle, and Pamlico Sounds. There are no cities in sight when you reach the islands, just 100+ miles of wide-open shoreline.

You may not find any shipwrecks or buried treasure in the Banks, but they remain a huge summer tourist destination nonetheless. Despite Covid-19 concerns in 2020, Cape Hatteras reported that almost half a million people had visited its shores during the month of June, a number it hadn’t seen in decades. It’s unclear whether the skyrocketing number of tourists was inspired by Outer Banks’ success on Netflix or the spread-out nature of the Banks themselves, which allow visitors to remain at a comfortable social distance.

Some of the most notable towns and communities along the Banks include the Currituck Banks, Bodie Island, Roanoke Island, Hatteras Island, Ocracoke Island, Core Banks, and Bogue Banks. Each is home to a variety of beaches, national parks, wildlife refuges, and historic lighthouses. From wild horse tours in Corolla to tasty samplings of Duck Donuts, there’s no shortage of things to do in any of these areas.

The Outer Banks are a household name now thanks to the Pogues’ wild adventures, but they have also been featured in films like Nights in Rodanthe and Message in a Bottle. Despite their increasing popularity, the Banks remain a welcome respite from city life and other overrun vacation destinations.

For more information on attractions, things to do, and places to stay, visit OuterBanks.org.