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Need info on Outer Banks, NC

Old Feb 6th, 2003, 03:27 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 19
Need info on Outer Banks, NC


My husband and I, along with my mother would like to visit the Outer Banks this summer, but I don't yet know too much about the area.

We're a young couple (late 20's), interested in beach/outdoor activities during the day, and relaxing evenings. We'd love to rent a house on the water, depending on the cost.

Can someone give me some feedback on which areas are better for scenery and relaxation, but still offer some things to do? Also, I understand many people rent houses through local realtors - any recommendations on who we can contact?

Also, what's the best way to get there from Long Island? Fly to Raleigh? That looks like quite a trek!

Thanks in advance!
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Old Feb 6th, 2003, 03:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You will find many house rental options.
I am pasting the URL of the agency we use this company rents places on the north end of the Outer Banks ( Corolla and Duck).
Do a google search and you can find other agents who have properties on the south end of the Outer Banks (ie Avon ect.).. these places tend to be a little less expensive than the ones to the north.
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Old Feb 6th, 2003, 03:59 PM
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Ashleigh, we've had several family reunions there...your best bet is to drive from LI, because the closest airport is actually Norfolk, and that is still a couple hours away. Once we flew (from Florida) to Raleigh and rented a car, but it was still 3 hours drive. Family lives in Philly, their drive time is 6-8 hours, so add what - two more hours? - for the commute from NY. Still better and cheaper, and you won't have to rent a car. We go to Nags Head, use Sun Realty and Nags Head Realty. You can do the search xxx suggested and then query by number of bedrooms. But hurry! Last year we booked an oceanfront home in early Jan for July, and only the more expensive homes were left!
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Old Feb 6th, 2003, 04:33 PM
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We have spend several summers in this area. We really like the North Beach area especially Swam Beach and Carova. These are 4 wheel drive only beaches that are remote and uncrowded- perfect for outdoor activities and still about 30 min. from shopping and places to eat. We find this area to be somewhat cheaper because it does require a 4 wheel drive to access.
You might consider a home on the sound or semi ocean front to save money.
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Old Feb 7th, 2003, 12:15 PM
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You are running out of time for renting a decent house. We have stayed many times in Corolla Light, a planned community on the northern OBX, but it is pricey; it does have the only indoor community pool and indoor tennis courts along w/other upsclae amenities though. But outside of the resort there is not much to do up on the north end, except shop at Tim-Buk-2 shopping area, which was so congested last summer that we hated it. In the past fee years we have gone to Nags Head instead. It is an older area but there are newer houses available across the two lane road from the beach ("on the beach road" or between the beach roads" is how they are reffered to in the rental brochures). Sun Realty, Nags Head Realty, Joe Lamb are some of the rental agencies. If you stay in Nags Head the beach and fishing pier are nice and you can do an afternoon trip to Manteo and Roanoke Island, Bodie lighthouse, or even Hatteras lighthouse. And the Lost Colony play outdoors in the evening on Roanoke Island is fun, as is the living museum on Roanoke Island. You'll also be close to Jockey's Ridge, the huge sand dune, for evening hiking up the dune and kite flying, and the shops across the street form the Ridge has a Kitty Hawk Kite store w/all kinds of info on outdoor activities, kayak rentals, etc. If the houses right on the beach are too $$, we have also stayed right on the soundfront, which is quieter and more relaxing, and just drive over to the public parking on the beach side.
When you check the brochures or online rentals, be sure you understand where your house is located vis a vis the beach access roads. You can't just walk over the dunes, you must use the access areas to get to the beach and you can have a house that looks close to the beach on the map but if you don't know where the nearest access area is to the beach you can end up trekking a long way w/your gear.
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 12:22 PM
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Thanks for all the great info! We're hoping to stay the last week in June, and avoid some of the summer insanity.

emd: Thanks for the tip on beach access - if our rental house isn't within walking distance, how is their public beach parking? Is it a real problem? Do you have to be a resident?

Thanks again everyone
Ashleigh is offline  
Old Feb 8th, 2003, 12:45 PM
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Hi Ashleigh

There's not really any beach parking at Outer Banks or Nags Head. Sometimes you can rent a house that is 2 or 3 houses from the ocean and that's great (or short) walking distance. The area is very laid back.

One thing though, there is only one road up to Corolla and when people are coming out for dinner that road backs up pretty quickly. The homes along there are more upscale. But the homes around 12 through 18 milepost are very nice and probably a bit more reasonable.

I'm in the Annapolis/Washington DC area and it takes me 6 hours to get there and it takes me about 5 hours to get up to mid-Long Island. Hope that gives you a gauge.

There's lots of good restaurants around there, you can charter a boat and go fishing, there's the Lost Colony over in Manteo and there's always "Miniature Golf"!!

It's a great beach to walk!!
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Also check out Resort Quest. Their rentals are mostly in the Corolla, Ocean Hill, Whalehead and Pine Island. We have been going there for the last 9 years from NJ. We now live in Chicago and have to fly but it is still worth it. Check out the house "Petes Promise" on Resort Quest. Right across the street from the beach, private pool, hot tub etc. Great spot!
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 03:27 PM
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Ashleigh; I do not remember paying any fee to park at the beach parking lots in Nags Head. There are lots about every mile or so. There is a big lot (and a plus is there is a lifeguard station at this lot, so the beach is guarded right there where you come over the dune steps) at Bonnett Street access in Nags Head. It can fill up by mid-morning, but I have not had problems getting a spot any time of day, we just go on down the road to the next lots and always are able to find one- but then we go in June, not July or August (very hot and can be humid then and hurricaine potential. June is hot enough.) If you stay on the sound, you can swim in the sound; it is only about waist deep and calm. We have stayed in Old Nags Head Cove and it has a little sandy beach to swim off of (wear swim shoes, it is a bit rocky for the first few yards out). Old Nags Head Cove has a pool on the sound also and there are newer complexes in that area. You can rent a kayak and have it delivered to the house and use it on the sound also. South Nags Head has alot of new houses. Nags Head proper houses right on the beach are old historic houses. Some of the rental websites have maps that show the beach access areas and lots, or certainly the rental agency should be able to tell you where the closest access is. When you get down there, get a map that shows the beach access spots so that next time you rent you will have it. There are also some condos and townhouses in Nags Head (Atlantic Crest is one across the road from the beach, close to the pier, milepost 12 or so; the Quay is further down and is nice I hear- and is right on the beach, has a pool) although we always get a house for the 4 of us. Some of the houses have private pools or hot tubs if you have the $$. If you get on the websites for the rental places you can find newer homes in Nags Head. Beware that many of the houses in that area are older cottages; check the amenities carefuly if you want something updated w/certain conveniences adn ask how old the house is. The lifeguarded beaches are a comfort; riptides do occur in the Outer Banks. The beaches in Corolla Light are also lifeguarded. B&B On The Beach was the place we rented from in Corolla but they were bought by Resort Quest Ltd. several years ago and I think many owners bailed out at that point and went w/other Outer Banks realtors, so there should be other realtors to choose from in Corolla if you opt for that location. I agree w/the other post re the traffic in the norhtern outer banks in rt. 12 two lane road, it can be a bummer and take forever to go a mile. However, highway 158 that goes south of the bridge that links the Outer Banks to the mainland is 4 lanes and the lights stay green on the highway a long time.
Most other areas in the Outer Banks are not lifeguarded.
BTW- there is a good brewpub right on the highway (158) coming into Nags Head and the food is good there too.
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Not trying to be longwinded, but I just remembered something. The Wright Brothers memorial in Kitty Hawk is celebraating the anniversary of the brother's first flight this summer, I think July, but it is being celebrated all summer and alot of flight afficiandos will be going. It is in Kitty Hawk, before you get into Nags Head. I assume this will tie up alot of rentals. You should act soon. And do go to the Memorial; the park rangers do a great job of educating on the physics of flight (my kids still know what pitch, yawl, and roll are) and the Wright brothers.
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Old Feb 25th, 2003, 06:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Hi Maryella,
We are considering the Outer banks this summer. What is the most direct way to get there from Chicago. We are considering a long weekend so I don't want to spend too much time traveling. Thank you
deniselynn is offline  
Old Feb 25th, 2003, 10:17 AM
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A "weekend" on the OBX in the summer doesn't make a lot of sense, even for people who live right here in N.C. -- the distances are just too long and the traffic just too congested.

Two things:

1. Rentals are either Sat. to Sat. (most common), or Sun. to Sun. and check out is usually ca. 10 am and check in isn't usually until 3 pm. There are effectively only 2 bridges onto the OBX coming from the west, so you can imagine what happens to the traffic on those bridges on the weekends!

2. From the north, you leave limited-access highways south of Hampton/Newport News and it's another 2 hrs. +/- if memory serves on narrower roads, which do back up on weekends (Fridays, too, for people who own places out there). From the west, you have essentially two routes, both of which are long and meandering and will take you at least 3 hrs. from Raleigh just to get to a bridge.

So here would be my hints: consider getting to the OBX very early, which can be done by staying at a motel on the mainland as close to the bridges as possible or even spending one night in a motel near your cottage, although that's not usually possible out there in the summer -- usually 3-7 night minimum. Alternatively, consider approaching the OBX from the south, driving up the "spine" so you don't have to cope with bridges. You could also consider spending the money to fly into Raleigh and connecting on a flapping-commuter to Manteo or wherever, rent a car there. Will cost you but will also save you wear, tear, and time.

Even better hint: consider staying south of the OBX on the "Crystal Coast," (Emerald Isle, etc.) or Cape Fear or, my favorite, Wrightsville Beach, which is an easy 2.5 hrs. from RDU, is less yupscale, has plenty to do and has Wilmington near-by.

There's a reason North Carolinians tend not to be who vacations on the OBX -- you'll see most license plates from Va., Md., DC., NJ, and points north and west.
Old Mar 3rd, 2003, 09:10 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1
Well just a tip for anyone.. if you are planning on going to the Outer Banks during "tourist season" known to us North Carolinians you will have anything but a quiet getaway. If you get one in the main area it will be very busy with people from all over and you'll be in heavy traffic everywhere you go. Now if you want to go secluded like in corolla then you can get what your looking for.. but with traffic you might be looking at least 30-45 minutes to get to something from that location. It's a short distance on the map.. but the road can be quite curvy and traffic is terrible on a 2 lane road. Best bet is to get a cottage near the things you want to do.. and go to the National Parks... they are mostly uninhabited and give you the "Beach" feeling. I went to the outerbanks every year when I was growing up.... I personally don't care for it anymore. It's to commercialized now where the whole island revolves around tourist visiting. That and you used to be a true beach. Now however from all the beach erosion they've had they've hauled in this crushed rock more or less and call that a beach. I remember the hard packed pure sand that could scorch you on a sunny day. Now you have to wear shoes to keep the jagged edges of the rocks from griding away at your feet if you plan on walking barefoot much.

My suggestion is just get a cottage on the south end of nags head or in kill devil hills near the things you want to do.. and then take a trip out to the national park.. about 20 minutes away for the original beach feeling.. it and corolla are the only thing left of what used to be a wonderful beach. With corolla though you will be dealing with a LOT of 4WD vehicles on the beach.. since that is the only place they can run... besides the beachfront down near whalebone junction at the bridge where they use 4WD's to get out on the patches of sand and go surf fishing.
Do your visiting around Whale Bone Junction for the current type business's and shops. You'll get plenty of things to do like Jocky's Ridge, rentals of all types, the marina, and anything you can imagine that has anything to do with the beach or a vacation resort. If you want a more layed back old timy small shop feel you may want to go up to Duck.
I'm not much on theatrical events either but everyone I know love the Aquarium and the Lost Colony show on Manteo not to mention seeing what's his name's house.. the one that's the star in Matlock and Andy Griffith.
I don't mean to knock the place.. it's a wonderful place to vacation.. but when you want to go somewhere for just the beach to get away, it's not much... I could go throw sand in my back yard and feel just about as much at the beach.

P.S. Just a safety tip. If you go into the surf a lot be very careful. They have riptide currents down there a lot and you can't see them. I know it seems silly but you may want to have something on you that floats. They don't have a lot of lifeguards that stay put.. they patrol the coast.. and I'm sorry.. but 5 min's later they don't do you much good. The riptides are especially bad when you have a northeast wind. Not to mention if the wind is very strong you probably won't go in the water after you see the surf with the 8 foot waves pounding the surf.
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