Norfolk VA-NC Outer Banks 1-Week Adventure

Old Apr 27th, 2012, 12:14 PM
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Norfolk VA-NC Outer Banks 1-Week Adventure

We're still in the planning stages and haven't booked our flight or accommodations yet, but we are looking at May 30-Jun 6, flying into and back out of Norfolk and hoping to do justice to a week along North Carolina's Outer Banks. I am not certain about how long we would want to stay in any one area and don't want to make nonrefundable reservations only to find out we wish we were further along the shore or that driving about and then back again to a "home base" is more time-consuming than we imagined.

Our interests are scenery, beaches, history, lighthouses, and foods not to miss. We're not focused on water sports adventures (although we hope it would be warm enough for a bit of a swim and would like to do some bicycling)... just a romantic getaway for the two of us.

Looking at the length from Corolla to Ocracoke, how much is too much to bite off in one week? Does anyone have suggestions for a full but relaxed itinerary (oxymoron, I know) and a number of places to stay during the 7 days we have available?
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Old Apr 27th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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Others here, I KNOW, are going to chime in but since you've never been let's talk a little about parts of the beach re that "how much to bite off" part.

Considering, for the sake of this conversation, that Kitty Hawk/ Kill Devil Hills/Nags Head are IN THE MIDDLE, then driving south to Ocracoke, or at least to the Hatteras (Village) free ferry over TO Ocracoke, is about a 60-mile trip. It can be done in a day.

Once you leave South Nags Head at Whalebone Junction you'll be driving within the National Seashore where basically it is beach, beach, beach (although you have to get out of your car and walk over the dunes in some places in order to SEE that beach. You'll pass through the VILLAGES (in every sense of the word) of Rodanthe/Waves/Salvo first and then later through the larger settlement of Avon before hitting Buxton and of course THE lighthouse (yes, there ARE others but THIS ONE is the one everybody actually wants to see) and it is worth a stop for sure.

From there on south through Frisco, Hatteras Village and the ferry over to Ocracoke.

That entire route, EXCEPT for those villages is fairly pristine and the beaches themselves are practically deserted..if you like that sort of thing then Heaven itself has just opened up for you.

The Nags Head thing: it is, in many ways the rather typical, built-up beach town WITHOUT the highrises seen elsewhere (think Myrtle Beach which scares the hell out of a lot of folks down there) and the Hilton Hotel is the tallest building around (about 5 stories).

There are people who will tell you that Nags Head and environs are "the worst" as they retreat north to Corolla or south toward Hatteras but Nags Head and environs DOES have a lot of commercial activity, restaurants, food stores, various shops selling everything water-related including the dreaded (by some) Wings stores with the cheapo bathing suits, wind chimes, shot glasses, etc. When people found out it was owned by "arabs" some of them went ballistic but hey, if you need a cheapo beach towel, etc.

And we haven't even talked about the attractions and possible sight-seeing over in places like Manteo, etc.

Many find Corolla, Duck, etc., "more charming" which means it is somewhat less built up and not as jammed with stores, KFCs, chain restaurants. Beaches up there are wonderful, too.

Can you do all this in a week? Absolutely. The big issue is IMO where to STAY and NOW everybody is going to pile onto this thread and start in with the "you HAVE to...." stuff.

Enjoy your trip..the place is truly wonderful and sorry you cannot visit it in the off-season which is when the magic REALLY starts.
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Old Apr 30th, 2012, 07:33 AM
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Thanks, Dukey, for the overview. We are still bound by the school schedule (teachers), and looking forward to years ahead when the off-season is an option.

Yes, I will entertain everyone's "best" accommodations recommendations. Just know that we are looking for under $200/night. (see 'teachers,' above)

Is there reason (other than possibly being stuck with a lemon) to figure on staying up and down the coast during our week? In other words, would settling on a single central location hotel in a place like like Nags Head (gasp!) be suitable, or would it get boring and too far to drive to what we want to do each day to mix things up?
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Old May 20th, 2012, 05:51 AM
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I just returned from OBX. You would want to see the Wrights Brothers museum. We stayed in Corolla and there is lighthouse there and jeep tours along the beach to see horses.There is also a wonderful old restored home on the property that can be toured if you like that sort of thing. It is the Currituck lighthouse.

Not sure the jeep tours exist in Nags head but outside of that there is not much there. It is peaceful and if that is what you want you will certainly find it there. It is about 25 miles down to Corolla from Kitty hawk and the main areas. We went to Manteo as mentioned and Fort Raleigh. There is a lot of history there pertaining to the "lost colony." I think I would stay in the middle cause it is a 2 lane road from and 20 miles down to corolla/Duck. there is the sunset grill for eating and fishbones restaurant. Food was mediocre to me the drinks were better than the food. I would choose more in the middle, if it were me having just returned.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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We settled on staying just three days on the OBX, at the Surf Side Hotel in Nags Head... mostly for its 'central' location. Not much the lay-on-the-beach-type, we'll drive up and down the islands to take in the various sights. For the other three days we will travel up to Williamsburg, staying at the Fife and Drum Inn... probably get the 3-day ticket and do the Historic Triangle.
Thanks, everyone, for the help.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 12:43 PM
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Sounds like a great plan. Yes I love Williamsburg. I think any longer in OBX would be to much. Have fun and enjoy your week.
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