The town got it’s name, so the story goes, about 1910 when Lloyd Toler filled out an application to have a post office in the cluster of homes perched on the Currituck Sound. One of the questions on the application asked for a proposed name for the post office and since the cluster of houses did not truly have their own identification, Toler looked around, thought about what was most common and wrote down “Duck”.
There is no longer a post office in the town–all mail is now handled through the Kitty Hawk post office, but the name has remained.
It was not until the late 1940s that a paved road connected Duck with the rest of Dare County, ending just north where the town center is today. The road was pushed north over the years and in 1988 NC12 was paved between Duck and Corolla.
By the 1990s, the Village of Duck had become one of the more popular vacation destinations in Dare County, and large retail developers were eyeing it as a prime location for a supermarket or other large retail store. Concerns about county zoning and the look and feel of the village led residents of the town to petition the North Carolina legislature to allow Duck to incorporate as a town.
On May 1, 2002, the Village of Duck became the sixth incorporated town in Dare County.
Duck – Getting Around
Except at the southern end of the Village, almost all of the residential areas of Duck are on the east or ocean side of NC12 – known as Duck Road – as it travels through the town. The business district borders the Currituck Sound for the entire length of the village.
Duck is about six miles long with the main shopping district and most retail stores on the southern end of the town. The speed limit in the village area is 25mph and it is strictly enforced. A multi-use path parallels NC12 from the Currituck County Line on the north end to Southern Shores and it is heavily used by walkers, joggers, bicyclists and just about anyone who wants to get out and enjoy the town.
Things To Do
Duck has some of the most beautiful beaches on the Outer Banks; however, there is no public access to the beaches and use of the beach is restricted to residents, renters, and their guests. Beach permits are available to homeowners, renters and guests.
Shallow, with very few hazards, Currituck Sound is perfect for kayakers, sailors, jet skiers and anyone who enjoys being on the water. There are a number of outfitters that provide both guided tours and hourly and daily rentals.
Because there are very few islands in the waters around the town, Duck has become one of the most popular parasailing spots on the Outer Banks. The view from the sky is absolutely breathtaking and a great way to experience the Outer Banks.
When town officials and resident envisioned the town after its incorporation, they saw Duck as a pedestrian friendly shopping village and that vision has been realized. With wide multi-use pathways on both sides of Duck Road, multiple shopping plazas with wooden decks and unique stores, a day shopping in the town is worth the experience.
The shopping district extends from the Waterfront Shops on the north end to Aqua Restaurant and Spa on the south. In addition to innumerable shops there are a number of restaurants offering outdoor seating.
Not quite a mile in length, the Duck boardwalk is a beautiful stroll along the Currituck Sound. Constructed over the water the boardwalk offers extraordinary sunsets and a truly different perspective of the Outer Banks.
The boardwalk connects with all of the main shopping areas of the village and it has a kayak dock at the mid point and a boat slip on the north end.
It also links directly with the town park.
The Town Park is an 11 acre wooded facility that includes an amphitheater and gazebo. Dirt paths connect connect the facilities that are part of the landscape, including the town offices that are located in the park.
The park also hosts a number of events throughout the year.
Taking full advantage of the Duck Town Park as gathering place, the town schedules a full spate of one day activities throughout the year.
The Duck Jazz Festival occurs the Sunday of Columbus Day Weekend every year, It’s free, the setting is beautiful and the festival brings some of the best regional and national jazz musicians to the Outer Banks.
There is nothing quite like the Duck Independence Day Parade. A one mile loop route takes participants around and though the village ending at the Town Park. Look for dancing dogs, a lasso twirling unicyclist, fire trucks and lots of laughs.
Thanksgiving Weekend the town fires up the Crab Pot Christmas Tree in a ceremony that includes live music, a fire truck and Santa Claus.
Weekdays during the summer, the park is a gathering place for a full schedule of family oriented entertainment.
Because of concerns about retreat of the beach, especially on the north end of town, Duck has entered into an interlocal agreement to finance beach nourishment. Dare County is absorbing about 75% of the cost, with the balance being absorbed by Duck, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills. To pay for their portion of the project – slightly more than $1.2 million over five years – the town has created to Municipal Service Districts (MSD).