Is Kitty Hawk Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On September 17, 2023
Kitty Hawk, United States
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
* Rated 90 / 100 based on 4 user reviews.

At the heart of the enchanting Outer Banks of North Carolina, Kitty Hawk is a coastal gem that seamlessly weaves history, adventure, and natural beauty into its tapestry.

Located in Dare County, this picturesque town holds a special place in the annals of aviation history as the site where Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved the first powered flight in 1903.

But Kitty Hawk is more than just its historical significance.

Its pristine beaches stretch as far as the eye can see, inviting visitors to bask in the sun, swim in the Atlantic Ocean, or fly kites in the salty breeze.

The calm waters of Kitty Hawk Bay provide an ideal backdrop for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, allowing you to explore the serene coastal landscape.

For the adventurous soul, Kitty Hawk offers thrilling water sports like jet skiing and parasailing.

And when you yearn for a taste of nature, Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve beckons with its lush maritime forests and tranquil hiking trails.

Local culture thrives in art galleries showcasing the Outer Banks’ creativity, and the flavors of the sea are savored in local seafood restaurants.

In Kitty Hawk, the past mingles with the present, and the coastal beauty is a canvas waiting for your exploration.

It’s a destination that captures the heart with its rich history and endless opportunities for adventure, making a visit to Kitty Hawk an unforgettable experience.


Outer Banks is often shortened to OBX.

Warnings & Dangers in Kitty Hawk

Overall Risk


There's a low overall risk in Kitty Hawk, as one of the premiere beach destinations in the Outer Banks.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Some communities have trolley or shuttle services, but Kitty Hawk isn't one of them. That's probably because the town is walkable. You can get a taxi or rideshare, but you'll still be sitting in traffic, which might make it faster to walk.

Pickpockets Risk


Statistically, it's a low risk. Comparing crime data to recent news reports, you're more likely to have stuff taken off your rental porch. Even then, the risk is low if you use basic security measures.

Natural Disasters Risk


The major risk here is from tropical storms or hurricanes, which always come with plenty of warning. The most important thing is that you heed the safety information as a storm approaches. Too many people try to ride it out or assume it won't be that bad. That's a risk that runs from June through November, so treat it as a medium risk. You should also follow coastal advisories throughout the year to avoid dangerous ocean water or waves near the beach.

Mugging Risk


This is another low risk. Kitty Hawk has only had three robberies in the past 10 years.

Terrorism Risk


This small, remote destination wouldn't be considered a potential terror target, giving it a low risk. However, it's always wise to keep an eye out for suspicious activity since domestic terrorism and gun violence can happen anywhere.

Scams Risk


You should not rent a home in Kitty Hawk without using a verified rental agency. Online ads can be scammers demanding money before you arrive, only to find out the home never existed or wasn't available to rent. You will not find an insanely good rental deal here. This area is just too popular. Any "cheap" price is the first sign of a scam. The risk is low if you wise up to the rental scam red flags.

Women Travelers Risk


This is another low risk, with Kitty Hawk being safe for singles, solo travelers, and families. Use standard personal safety steps, of course, but you really don't need to worry about much beyond that.

Tap Water Risk


Dare County posts the Water Quality Reports for Kitty Hawk, and there's a low risk of any water problem related to tap water treatment. If you're there during flooding or a tropical system, that's the biggest risk to water quality.

Safest Places to Visit in Kitty Hawk

You’ll find an abundance of travel websites with information about the Outer Banks.

It’s important to note that OBX is 95 miles long, and it can take 2–4 hours to drive that length.

The nearest towns to Kitty Hawk are:

  • Kill Devil Hills
  • Nags Head
  • Southern Shores
  • Duck
  • Roanoke Island

Be sure to bookmark for beach information in each town.

As you enter Kitty Hawk, look for the Monument to a Century of Flight honoring the Wright Brother’s historic take-off on the nearby beach.

The beach stretches the entire length of the town on the eastern edge.

The western side faces the Albemarle Sound.

The bulk of the western and central part of the town is the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve.

This pristine maritime forest spans nearly 1,900 acres, with serene trails that wind through the reserve.

Kitty Hawk Woods boasts a network of waterways ideal for kayaking and canoeing.

History buffs will appreciate the remnants of old moonshine stills, a nod to the area’s storied past.

Kitty Hawk is a golfer’s paradise, with Sea Scape Golf Links offering 18 holes of coastal dunes and lush landscape.

Attached is a from-scratch kitchen at The Sandtrap.

Outerbanks Waterfoul is a Kitty Hawk company that guides fishing and hunting tours.

Birdwatching tours are also available.


Due to the identically named roads and confusing addresses for first-timers, all major stores, restaurants, and resorts will have a mile marker number listed from Kill Devil Hills to South Nags Head.

It’s a great way to find what you’re looking for without getting lost.

Places to Avoid in Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk is relatively small and doesn’t have bad neighborhoods or unsavory parts of town.

It’s not the liveliest of the Outer Banks cities, and most of the “attractions” are the beach or walking trails through nature.

The main road is lined with restaurants and shops, but it’s not as overwhelming as you’d find in many touristy places.

The downside is you also don’t have many major attractions, either.

You can read our article about Kill Devil Hills for things to do close to Kitty Hawk.

Since Kitty Hawk is one of just two entry points to this section of the barrier island, you’re also going to get the most traffic coming and going.

That might be a dealbreaker if you want something more remote.

The Kitty Hawk Pier is a local icon.

I wouldn’t tell you to avoid it, but just wanted to note that it’s open to hotel guests of Hilton Garden Inn for free.

However, everyone else must pay a $3 fee.

The building on the pier is an event venue.

If you want to visit a public pier, the Avalon Pier is right at the Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills town line.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Kitty Hawk

  1. Kitty Hawk has its own police department. You can follow them on Facebook @KittyHawkPolice. The main phone number is (252) 261-3895, and the email is if you have specific safety questions.
  2. It’s also a good idea to follow @KHFD13. That’s the Kitty Hawk Fire Department that provides beach safety information.
  3. If a “No Swimming” flag is up, that’s an enforceable law to keep people out of the dangerous water. You can be fined $250 if you are caught swimming during a red flag event. However, the real risks are much greater.
  4. Only certain beaches here have lifeguards. Even then, only seasonally will you find lifeguards in place during daytime hours. The lifeguard stands are at Byrd Street, Eckner Street, Kitty Hawk Bathhouse, and Lillian Street.
  5. If you want to load up your trunk with valuables before you park, please do so at your hotel, not in the beach parking lot. Thieves could be watching to see where you’re putting the stuff. It’s best to leave anything you don’t need at the hotel. Always lock your doors when parking, and don’t leave the windows cracked.
  6. If you want to go fishing here, either on your own or with a charter, you’ll still need a fishing license from the state of North Carolina. You can purchase that online at Go Outdoors North Carolina’s website.
  7. While you’re there, review the boating rules and lifejacket rules for paddlers and boaters. Certain activities require that you have a jacket or be wearing one, and there are age thresholds for kids required to be wearing one at all times on the water.
  8. Sign up for emergency alerts through OBX Alerts. There’s a link on the town’s website. The emergency information will cover incoming weather or public safety issues.
  9. Kitty Hawk has fewer than 300 parking spots available, so most lots and street parking will fill up by 10:00 a.m. during high season.
  10. Driving is never allowed on Kitty Hawk beaches, but there are some beaches on OBX that will allow it. That includes Kill Devil Hills right next door.

So... How Safe Is Kitty Hawk Really?

Kitty Hawk is one of those small towns I would normally say, “It’s hard to get the real context since a small population vs. number of crimes can appear skewed.”

However, Kitty Hawk’s crime rate is well below the national average, even before you consider the number of tourists who come through.

The main risks are typical for an average tourist attraction – car break-ins, petty theft, and ocean safety.

For example, in summer 2023, several coolers were stolen from under porch decks.

It’s more of an inconvenience than an inherent risk.

The most important safety aspect here is the weather and ocean risks, especially for anyone visiting during hurricane season.

You should always take watches and warnings seriously.

Don’t wait to evacuate until the last minute.

Heed riptide warnings and learn how to swim out of them.

Most people who don’t survive riptides were panicking.

If you use common sense and standard safety practices here, they’ll go a long way.

You’ll also have more time to enjoy the beauty and history of Kitty Hawk.

How Does Kitty Hawk Compare?

CitySafety Index
Kitty Hawk79
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
New Orleans57
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



International guests need a visa or visa waiver, which eligibility is determined through the U.S. State Department. You'll also need a passport. Be sure to check the Border Patrol and Customs list of things you can't take back after your visit.



The U.S. Dollar is the only currency you can use, and aim to use credit cards as much as possible. They just offer the best fraud protection. If you need to exchange currency, do so before you arrive or at the airport. You'll find much higher ATM fees on the islands.



Even in a coastal area, you'll get chilly temperatures in the winter. Bring several layers of clothing so you can add and remove as needed. Spring and fall can have fluctuating temperatures. Always be prepared for a sea breeze. I know my long hair gets in huge knots if I don't keep it up when I'm spending time at the beach. Also, sunscreen and bug spray will make your trip a lot more comfortable.



The closest commercial airport to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, is the Norfolk International Airport (ORF) in Norfolk, Virginia. It's approximately 75 miles northeast of Kitty Hawk. ORF does have currency exchange through Travelex.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

If you plan on doing adventurous activities here, most tour companies will make you sign a liability waiver. Travel insurance is all the more important to cover any accidents. Also, look for policies that provide refunds in case of a tropical storm or hurricane.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Kitty Hawk 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

North Carolina - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Chapel Hill81
Elizabeth City79
High Point62
Hope Mills53
Kill Devil Hills77
Kitty Hawk79
Morehead City78
New Bern77
Rocky Mount52

Where to Next?

4 Reviews on Kitty Hawk

  1. Average

    Small beach town. nothing special about it, there are tons of those all around the East Coast.

  2. A
    Alexandra Chavez says:

    Having visited Kitty Hawk multiple times, I’ve always felt safe exploring the area. It’s a charming town with a relaxed vibe, perfect for a worry-free getaway.

  3. E
    Elliot Robbins says:

    While no place is immune to crime, Kitty Hawk feels like a sanctuary compared to bigger cities. I feel comfortable walking alone at night, which says a lot about its safety.

  4. H
    Hailey Hubbard says:

    I recently moved to Kitty Hawk for work, and safety was a top priority. After researching crime rates, I felt reassured knowing it’s a safe place to call home

Kitty Hawk Rated 4.5 / 5 based on 4 user reviews.

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