Summer is not the only peak season on the Outer Banks. The other two peak seasons, occurring as they do during the winter, are a lot shorter but every bit as intense. Thanksgiving and Christmas have become times of the year that, for one week, fill the Outer Banks with visitors.

There are a lot of reasons for that, not the least of which is the Outer Banks, even as winter settles over this narrow thread of shoreline, has a unique beauty that is hard to describe. Migratory waterfowl fill the sounds and the noise of their calls is like a raucous chorus of nature. The winds that have played so much a part of the history of the Outer Banks blow steady over the dunes–usually from the northeast. It is a cool and damp breeze, although the air temperatures remain moderate. Surfers looking for a challenge will probably find it, but this is definitely the time of year to get out the wet suit or maybe even a dry suit.

It is a time for family and friends–a time to renew the bonds of love that give all of us strength and confidence. And it may be that the chance to replenish the spirit is what brings families back to the Outer Banks during the holidays.

The holiday weeks during the winter are very much a time for property owners to bring family together at their vacation home. That’s not to say, of course, that there are no homes left to rent. The Outer Banks housing stock is huge and with a little foresight and a reservation, everyone should be able to find a place to stay during the holidays.

Local business owners have come to recognize these weeks as an extraordinary opportunity. The summer shoppers are long gone, the shoulder season–which has become increasingly important to the local economy–is fading to memory, and any inventory still sitting on a retailer’s shelves has got to be sold. Meaning both weeks and Thanksgiving week, especially, have become the avid shopper’s delight.

The Outer Banks, however, has built its reputation as a family destination and these week long peak seasons are no exception. Santa is everywhere and some wonderful events have become part of the local holiday tradition.

Kites with Lights, sponsored by Kitty Hawk Kites, fills the sky above Jockeys Ridge with huge kites outlined with lights over Thanksgiving weekend. There are a couple of Turkey Trot 5k runs on Thanksgiving day (Duck and Nags Head). And just before Christmas, the Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island is spectacular and comes complete with Santa Claus.

It’s just a great time to visit the Outer Banks and experience it from a little different perspective than the summer hubbub.

It does get a little busy and the best rentals may require a reservation. Keep that in mind when making plans to visit during the Outer Banks other peak seasonst a great time to visit the Outer Banks and experience it from a little different perspective than the summer hubbub.