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liesel Oct 27th, 2014 07:08 AM

Nags Head - 3 Families - Help Needed
Hello Everyone!

I have been elected to find a beach and a rental in the OBX. I have only ever been to the OBX in college and that was a whole different experience than what I am looking for now. I'd love a bit of help!

I thought Nags Head might be a good beach as it's easy to get to and has a lot to do. A bit about the group traveling.

1. We are 3 families. Each family has children (so 6 adults and 7 children). Children range in age from 2.5 to 7.5. What are we thinking????? :) Thinking maybe 6 rooms.

2. We are looking to stay mid July from a Saturday to a Saturday (so a full week). We will be driving down from the DC area.

3. We are looking for a house to rent on the beach. Any suggestions as to sites to look at for rentals?

4. We aren't 100% sold on Nags Head (again, chose this beach as there seemed more to do here than some of the other beaches in OBX) - open to hearing others suggestions for other beaches. We don't want somewhere that is to hard to get too or too secluded.

Thank you in advance for your help!!

suewoo Oct 27th, 2014 09:12 AM

My friend has a home at Kitty Hawk. She uses Joe Lamb. She says they are great.

Look at Lots of renters and owners are regulars on that forum and can help you with specifics.

emd3 Oct 27th, 2014 09:54 AM

We have rented many times in nags. Head, and have found that Village Tealty has the best offerings as far as upscale larger houses right on the beach ( as well as other off the beachfront locations).

A few hrs ago we stayed in a 3 level direct oceanfront house rented from Village Realty, 6 bedrooms, had a private pool, had an elevator (really needed in the larger houses or you will be running a lot of groceries up many flights of stairs,), had a nice covered pagoda on the oceanfront, wide open decks on oceanfront, large open kitchen and living areas, lots of bathrooms. It sounds like that is about what you need, if you are wanting oceanfront. It was reasonably priced for what we got. The private pool was a huge plus, no dragging the kids and all their stuff over to the village beach club, which is the only other option for a community pool in the oceanside area in Nags Head.

joan Oct 27th, 2014 12:14 PM

I have a few ideas, as I do family reunions in the Outer Banks every two years. Here is what I've learned:

1. The earlier you begin the better the selection. For our needs (16 bedrooms) we were late when we began in July this year! get going.

2. We calculate our needs by the bedroom. So if each married couple needs a bedroom, that's 3, after that, I'd add two more bedrooms, one for the girls one for the boys. So you'd need five. Most homes have rooms with pyramid bunks so you're all set, the kids love it (read: don't sleep much, but hey they're on vacation too!). Infants (or toddlers who are used to sleeping with parents) stay inside their parents' bedroom.

3. We have used all the above realtors plus Sun, Twitty, and others. They're ALL THE SAME with regard to level of service. They all have great search engines, enabling you to search "oceanfront" and number of bedrooms etc.

4. Try to be flexible with your checkin day, why not be open to Sat-Sat or Sun-Sun? This will give you more choices (and Sunday is a wee bit easier traffic-wise).

5. Look at a map: any town from Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk will work. There are plenty of stores and activities easily reachable from any of these. Stay away from Duck and Corolla UNLESS you're willing and able to use 4WD vehicles (not All Wheel Drive) and plan on staying put most of the time. These homes are less costly, but the 4WD was an impossible requirement for our group.

6. Get a pool. With little ones, naps, too much sun, etc these can be a lifesaver for adults who can party and watch the older kids while the little ones nap.

Have fun! Our family has tried the mountains, but we always end up back at OBX...the water is the draw!

emd3 Oct 27th, 2014 12:47 PM

I respectfully disagree with some of the info. I have stayed in Duck and Corolla. You do not need a 4 wheel drive for Duck, and you do not need it for most of Corolla either. You need 4 wheel drive if you stay up above Corolla Light, in the area after the paved road stops and you must drive on the beach to get to your house. that area is isolated and, IMO, not a good place for a large group with lots of kids, as a trip to the grocery store becomes a long trip, and there is not much to do up there besides beach.

We have stayed with friends in Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil hills. The beaches there can be very narrow due to beach erosion and the towns not having replenished the beachfront ( they have done so in the past but the beach just erodes away again in that area). In some areas the high tide can completely cover the beach up to the beachfront houses. However, that is not the case in Nags Head. nags head has a very wide beach, even at high tide. Nags head has lifeguards and lifeguard stations every few blocks.

There is a lot more to do in and close to Nags Head with kids than in the beaches like Kitty Hawk and Kitty Devil hills. In Nags head you will be close to Manteo and Roanoke Island, the NC aquarium ( very good way to spend an afternoon when everyone has had enough sun, or a rainy day), the 50s style jukebox diner (which the kids will like), Bodie lighthouse, and still close to go to Jockey's ridge in the late afternoon/early evening and climb the dune, watch hang gliders, fly a kite.

Nags Head also has the great fishing pier, kids love to watch people reeling in the fish and may want to fish themselves, it is easy to drop a line on the pier. And a great walking and biking path that parallels the beach, just behind the front row beach houses.

joan Oct 27th, 2014 01:10 PM

Yikes! I apologize for the wrong info on Duck and Corolla. The towns with 4WD requirement are: Carova Beach, Ocean Beach, Sea Gull Beach, North Swan, Swan, and Swan Island Estates.

Thanks for correcting me, emd3!

We do tend to stay at the home most of the time, so emd3 is also more informed on the to-do for kids. And although the beaches vary in their width depending on the tide, most oceanfront homes have a gazebo and we never minded the small beaches we were on. But again, emd3 is right because I have seen some homes with stilts IN the water. Google Earth is your friend in booking specific properties!

JanetKMR Oct 27th, 2014 01:31 PM

My cousin's daughter was married in 2010 at 4WD only access house at Corolla. The house was fabulous. I have a Tahoe, so I played shuttle much of the weekend. It was a pain, but driving on the dunes was a hell of a lot of fun :-)

Dukey1 Oct 27th, 2014 11:27 PM

If you are looking for BIG houses I would strongly suggest you look at the places handled by

We rented a 12-bedroom 12-bath Nags Head oceanfront place from them a couple years ago and were very pleased with the experience and service we got from them.

If, OTOH, you want to look at the company with the largest inventory then it would be without question.

bankbabe Oct 28th, 2014 05:29 AM

My mom used to own a house in Duck. I found that every year the traffic grew more and more troublesome and eventually I stopped going up there in the summers altogether. If you are going North of Southern Shores in the summertime, prepare for an hours worth of additional traffic once you hit the beach, just getting up to Duck, Corolla etc...

Many if not most rental companies do Sunday - Sunday. Have fun!

emd3 Oct 28th, 2014 06:35 AM

That is another reason to go to Nags head. The highway going south of the bridge is two lanes in each direction, until you get past south Nags. Head. (Then it goes down to one lane each direction to get down to the far southern beaches and towns like Hatteras, Waves, Rodanthe, etc.)

The road going from the bridge up north to Duck and on up to Corolla is indeed just two lanes, and it can also completely flood over during heavy rains in one area around Duck- bad flooding where not even an SUV can get through. Then no one can get in or out until the water goes down. As you say, the traffic SUCKS. When we stayed in Corolla several times, we would just get to the house, and have groceries delivered ( there is a wonderful service that does that) so we didn't have to drive in the traffic to go down to the grocery store and back. We rarely ventured to all the fun places the outer banks offers because of traffic.

You will have no problems with traffic in and out of Nags Head. The traffic will be getting over the bridge onto the islands. We also drove from D.C. Area, and our rentals usually were Sat to sat. Below is what we did and it always worked very well to avoid the bridge traffic.

We had the car packed the night before, and threw the kids in the car at 6 a.m. They went back to sleep in the car and we drove straight to the OBX, arriving at the bridge at 11 a.m. There was never any serious traffics across the bridge if we got there at 11am.--that Was a good time to get over the bridge easily. Then we went straight to Mulligans on the ocean road in Nags Head and got soft shell crab sandwiches for us and burgers for the kids (LOVE Mulligans for lunch!!) and hung out for awhile watching sports while the kids played the couple of video games there. By then it was 1 pm, and we would go grocery shopping. The kids had to hold the grocery bags on the way to the rental house as the car was so full, lol. We would check in at the rental place at 3 pm and have our groceries already. It worked out great.

Over the past 30 yrs I have stayed at almost every beach from Corolla Light to the north to South Nags Head. IMO, Nags head is the very best for families with kids in the age ranges of your group. The pier is fantastic. The beaches are wide and very well life guarded. There is a small amazement park close to the beach, and go carts and mini-golf on the beach rd. at milepost 11 area. Stay a bit south of there, around milepost 12 to 13, where the larger newer homes are. In that area you will be close to the grocery store at the Outer Banks Mall ( which is small but offers a few good places to eat, and the SeaMark grocery store has a nice seafood counter that will steam shrimp and other seafood for you free). That is key IMO, be close to a grocery store. And there is a nice SOnic drive in there also, good for the kids for lunch when you just can't deal with fixing another meal. And a good sushi/ Japanese restaurant in the OBX mall, a good diner type place there, a donut shop, etc.

It is not as commercial an area as the above makes it sound. Once you are in your house and on the beach, everything else disappears and you have that lovely wide beach to walk and lifeguards to keep the kids safe in the water, and that great pier. BTW, the pier restaurant is another great place for an inexpensive meal. We love breakfast there. Lots of "old salt" locals in their telling fishing tales...

obxgirl Oct 29th, 2014 04:38 AM

<i><b>Many if not most rental companies do Sunday - Sunday. Have fun!</i></b>

The majority of home rentals are Saturday to Saturday, followed by Sunday to Sunday and then Friday to Friday. Arrival day is something all of the realty company search engines use. Leaving the DC area at 6 am on a Saturday is a good idea but you will not be alone on the journey.

<i><b>and the SeaMark grocery store has a nice seafood counter that will steam shrimp and other seafood for you free). That is key IMO, be close to a grocery store</i></b>

Seamark closed 6+ years ago. Any of the grocery stores & fish markets will steam your seafood for you. I wouldn't choose a beach b/c of its proximity to groceries but FWIW, there are Harris Teeter locations in Corolla, Kitty Hawk (Milepost 1-2) and Nags Head (MP 10). There is also a Fresh Market in South Nags Head (MP 16) which is quite upscale for the OBX. There are Food Lions everywhere, all of them mediocre to awful.

emd3 Oct 29th, 2014 10:24 AM

Thanks, obxgirl! As my husband and I were talking about this thread last night, he reminded me that the Seamark in Nags Head had closed and that we went to thee Seamark in Kitty Hawk on our last few trips, as it was still open. I think the old Seamark space in Nags head is now a Tuesday Morning.

We usually start the week with grocery delivery service and then hit the grocery store one time at mid-week, but inevitably we forget something or need items on the other days (esp if it is a large group), beer/wine etc, so we do like being close to a grocery store.

Seamark is a nice local store, friendly service and good fresh produce and meats/seafood. Much nicer than Food Lion and we enjoy giving the local business our $ instead of Harris Teeter.

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