Is Kill Devil Hills Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On September 21, 2023
Kill Devil Hills, United States
Safety Index:
77
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Kill Devil Hills stands as a beacon of history and natural beauty on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and is the largest town on this narrow strip of sensational land.

This coastal gem, with its intriguing name and captivating allure, beckons travelers seeking a unique blend of past and present adventures.

Kill Devil Hills owes its distinctive moniker to a rich, if somewhat mysterious, history.

Legend has it that it earned its name from the potent “kill-devil” rum once distilled by early colonists here.

But it is perhaps more renowned as the site of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s pioneering aviation experiments.

In 1903, these intrepid brothers achieved the world’s first powered, controlled flight, forever etching Kill Devil Hills into the annals of aviation history.

Yet, Kill Devil Hills is not merely a historical relic; it’s a vibrant destination for those in search of sun, sea, and adventure.

Boasting pristine beaches, perfect for lounging or riding the waves, this coastal haven offers an array of water sports and outdoor activities.

Explore the maritime forests, savor fresh seafood at local eateries, or stroll along the bustling Beach Road, where quirky shops and charming cafes await.

Kill Devil Hills, with its blend of history and contemporary charm, epitomizes the allure of the Outer Banks.

It’s a place where the past meets the present, where the skies once witnessed history’s flight of fancy, and where modern travelers can craft their own unforgettable adventures.

Join us as we uncover the hidden treasures of this remarkable coastal town in our exploration of Kill Devil Hills while keeping you safe and informed during your visit.

Warnings & Dangers in Kill Devil Hills

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

You'll enjoy a low risk with a lot of rewards in Kill Devil Hills. There are plenty of safe, family-friendly things to do and places to visit.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

The Outer Banks doesn't have a free or fee-based public transportation system, meaning you'll need a rental car, rideshare, or taxi. Shuttles rentals are available from trolleys to vans. All options come with a low risk.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

Over the past five years, no pickpockets or purse snatchings have been reported. The risk is low, but keep in mind that 20% of all thefts are related to car break-ins.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW

Hurricanes are the biggest concern here. The season runs from June through November, with a heightened storm season from August through October. Beach erosion, rip tides, and rouge waves are other concerns. Severe thunderstorms can happen any time of the year but will come with plenty of advance notice.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

Kills Devil Hills hasn't had more than two robberies in one year since 2016. The risk is low, but never low enough to let your guard down.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

This is another low risk. Even though it's a big tourist area, it's not a large enough potential target for international terrorists. With domestic terrorism and gun crimes, there's no area that is safer or more dangerous since it's so random.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

While the overall risk is low, educate yourself on the red flags of rental scams. Repeated fraudulent posts have appeared on Craigslist. Review the North Carolina Real Estate Commissions for warning signs and how to find legitimate rentals. TIP: You won't find an insanely low deal, especially last-minute, in the Outer Banks. It's generally booked near capacity year-round.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

This is a safe community for women, even those traveling alone. Of course, standard safety measures still apply, but you can rest a little easier on this side of the sound.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The 2023 Water Quality Report shows that the town of Kill Devil Hills meets or exceeds all requirements. You should stay informed of more pressing issues, like water pressure loss or boil orders, should you visit during a flood or after a storm.

Safest Places to Visit in Kill Devil Hills

Kill Devil Hills does have a city website with a second titled “Experience KDH.”

This is a nice down-and-dirty look at things to do on a hyper-local level.

OuterBanks.org is another great tourism website you can trust and includes all the towns of OBX.

The closest towns to Kill Devil Hills are Nags Head and Kitty Hawk.

One must-visit spot is the Wright Brothers National Memorial, where aviation history was made with the first powered flight.

Explore the museum, walk along the paths where Orville and Wilbur Wright tested their aircraft, and soak in the significance of this achievement.

Tours by plane are also available to see OBX from above and ride the skies like the Wright Brothers did many years ago.

PILOTS:

If you have a plane of your own, you can fly into the First Flight Airstrip to arrive in Kill Devil Hills.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate Jockey’s Ridge State Park, home to the largest sand dune on the East Coast.

Here, you can engage in sandboarding and kite flying.

Water sports enthusiasts can try their hand at kayaking, windsurfing, or paddleboarding at Kitty Hawk Kayak & Surf School.

For a taste of maritime history, head to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, which delves into the maritime heritage and the many shipwrecks that occurred along the coast.

Art lovers can explore the Seaside Art Gallery, featuring a diverse collection of fine art and crafts from local and national artists.

Don’t miss out on the pristine beaches that Kill Devil Hills has to offer.

Take a leisurely stroll, collect seashells, or simply relax by the ocean.

When you’re hungry, indulge your taste buds at one of the town’s seafood restaurants, such as Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar, known for its fresh seafood and casual atmosphere.

You can also fish for your own supper at the famous Avalon Fishing Pier.

This pier also houses an arcade, bar, snack shack, and ideal viewing for sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean.

The First Flight Adventure Park is a series of ziplines and rope courses that are fun for the whole family.

Safety gear is provided before you can go into the park.

Places to Avoid in Kill Devil Hills

You won’t find bad neighborhoods or dangerous parts of town in Kill Devil Hills.

Standard smart safety practices and common sense will go a long way here.

The main thing to avoid is being on the Outer Banks when a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching.

It’s not something you can plan for months in advance, and even a storm that seems dead-set on OBX can turn at the last minute.

At the same time, a hurricane offshore can cause treacherous beach conditions even on sunny, beautiful days.

It helps to stay aware of the National Hurricane Center forecast, and local weather reports daily leading up to your trip and during your trip.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Kill Devil Hills

  1. Kill Devil Hills is one of the Outer Banks’ towns that has its own police department. You can reach them via phone at (252)449-5337. The department is also on Facebook @KDHPD.
  2. Sign up for OBX Alerts through the town’s website or directly through the Smart911 website. This will give you important weather information, public safety threats, road closures, and other important alerts that are time-sensitive.
  3. Anglers need a fishing license through the Go Outdoors North Carolina website. Be sure you get the “Coastal Fishing License”
  4. The OBX Beach Access website is a terrific resource for all things beach-related and safety-focused in the Outer Banks. Be sure to bookmark the tide schedule, wind conditions, and water temperature.
  5. There are sharks in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. While the odds of you seeing one, much less being bitten by one, are very low, you should learn about shark safety. Simple actions like not going in the water at dawn or dusk and staying away from the water between sandbars go a long way to avoiding places sharks like to stay.
  6. Kill Devil Hills has almost five miles of beach access with nearly 30 access points. The one on Asheville Drive is the most accessible and has the most amenities. The one with the fewest amenities is 4th Street.
  7. During summer, the beach parking lots will fill up by 10:00 am. Either get there early or plan to walk/bike to the beach.
  8. Access to the Pamlico Sounds is offered in Kill Devil Hills as well. There are five access points.
  9. Driving on the Kill Devil Hills beach is allowed from October 1 through April 30. You will need a permit from the town office. You don’t just take any old car and drive on the beach as you would on a road. You need certain tools and the ability to lower and then fill air pressure in tires.
  10. Beachcombers should visit the beach when the tide is low, but that’s also when the rip currents are most dangerous. Stay out of the water during this time, especially if a warning flag is on the beach.

So... How Safe Is Kill Devil Hills Really?

I’ve dug through five years of crime data and can’t find anything that is above average or should be a deterrent for a trip here.

Even as the largest city on the Outer Banks, the biggest crime trends I’ve seen involve car break-ins.

While data shows that 20% of all thefts are car break-ins or car accessory thefts, that number can be drastically reduced if people lock their car doors and don’t leave valuables in plain sight.

You’ll need patience on the road, as there are just two main roads through town.

That quickly narrows to one road after Nags Head to the south.

Stick to the speed limit, let faster cars pass you, and don’t engage in road rage.

At least one assault was reported in 2023 from a road rage incident.

Then there are the ocean risks, which hopefully this guide has helped you plan for.

You can find more information on the Dare County “Beach Hazards” website section.

This is a safe, idyllic Outer Banks community, and you’re safety steps will ensure you’ll have an epic time in this treasured slice of beach.

How Does Kill Devil Hills Compare?

CitySafety Index
Kill Devil Hills77
Atlanta58
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
New Orleans57
Baltimore56
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87
Calgary (Canada)82

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

To get through Customs and Border Patrol, you'll need a passport that isn't within six months of expiring and either a visa or visa waiver. The visa process can be complicated and case-specific, so start with the Visa Wizard on the U.S. State Department website.

Currency

Currency

Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here. It's wise to exchange currency before you get to OBX. Norfolk's airport has currency exchange services. However, a local branch of your home bank will have the lowest fees.

Weather

Weather

This isn't a warm year-round destination, so plan according to the season. Summers will be warm and humid. You'll need sunscreen (reef-friendly, please) and bug spray. Water shoes will help protect your feet while walking in the water. Bring layers the rest of the year so you can adapt to changing temperatures and weather conditions.

Airports

Airports

Norfolk International Airport is the largest and closest commercial airport. It's in Virginia. That's about a two-hour drive from Kill Devil Hills.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

When booking trips where weather could impact your itinerary, purchasing travel insurance is advised. Additionally, if your health insurance is only valid domestically, look into supplemental medical coverage abroad. Also, confirm your rental car policy covers liability in the event of a collision.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Kill Devil Hills Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 7° C
Feb 8° C
Mar 11° C
Apr 16° C
May 20° C
Jun 26° C
Jul 27° C
Aug 27° C
Sep 25° C
Oct 20° C
Nov 14° C
Dec 10° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
111215202429313028231714
Low
°C
34612162223232116106
High
°F
525459687584888682736357
Low
°F
373943546172737370615043

North Carolina - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Apex84
Asheville57
Boone82
Cary83
Chapel Hill81
Charlotte56
Cornelius75
Corolla81
Davidson82
Duck79
Durham84
Elizabeth City79
Gastonia61
Goldsboro46
Greensboro77
Hatteras82
Hickory68
High Point62
Hope Mills53
Kannapolis82
Kill Devil Hills77
Kitty Hawk79
Manteo75
Mooresville77
Morehead City78
New Bern77
Raleigh74
Rocky Mount52
Rodanthe85
Statesville78
Wilmington84
Winston-Salem47

Where to Next?

Share Your Experience

Share
Facebook Pinterest