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swalter518 Mar 3rd, 2011 12:18 PM

Outer Banks with Little Kids
Hi all. We're thinking about visiting the Outer Banks in early September with our kids that will be 5 1/2 and 2 1/2 at the time of the visit. We want nice beaches but not too far from activities as a whole week of all day/every day at the beach is too much for us. I guess my first question is is OBX the place for us or is it just pretty much beach when you are talking about kids that age? If so, where would you suggest? I've briefly looked around Duck on VRBO and it seemed like there is not alot of selection for places for only the 4 of us as the houses are HUGE!

tomfuller Mar 3rd, 2011 01:11 PM

Did you check around Kill Devil Hills or Manteo?
If you want to look farther south, check Atlantic Beach/Salter Path area with Morehead City nearby.
Take the ferry from Cedar Island to Okracoke and then drive all the way (including free ferries) to Manteo.
The things to do are pretty much fishing, camping, and walking the beach. Wind can be a problem there if you are camping.

swalter518 Mar 3rd, 2011 04:28 PM

Thanks Tom. No the only place I checked was Duck and only a quick check since we just started planning.

Amy Mar 3rd, 2011 07:12 PM

I've been to the OBX, Corolla area, with kids from age 6 months or so to 16, and they all had a great time. But it is definitely a relaxing type vacation; they tended to go from pool to hot tub to beach back to pool again! (Except for maybe a lighthouse and crabbing excursion, and the traditional souvenir buying trek on the last day...) Come to think of it, they did bike riding, too, even some of the littles.

Ackislander Mar 4th, 2011 12:01 PM

I like Manteo a lot, but then I don't like those giant houses designed to take vast intergenerational groups.

But I stayed in one of those houses, so I can't give you a recommendation.

suewoo Mar 4th, 2011 02:01 PM

If you go to the Banks, you're going there for the beach. It's not a wide beach unless it's low tide. The surf can be rough, or not, depending on the day.

There are some smaller cottages back off the beach. All are elevated so be aware you'll have to go up steps. If you want lots of entertainment other than the ocean, you might have to bring some toys.

swalter518 Mar 4th, 2011 02:33 PM

Hmm, I'm thinking that this might not be the best choice for us for a full week. We stayed at the beach outside Charleston for a week last year and loved it but ended up spending 1/2 the day exploring and then a few hours at the beach. This might be too much beach for us...

Ackislander Mar 5th, 2011 03:27 AM

Good thinking. The 5 1/2 will do fine, but the 2 1/2 will love these beaches when they are older. A whole day on the beach now is probably too much, and that isn't even asking your pediatrician about how s/he feels about kids this small in the sun.

aliska Mar 5th, 2011 04:46 AM

We went to the OB quite a while ago when our kids were in elementary school. Like you, there were 4 of us and we didn't need a gigantic house. We rented a condo a little north of Duck (Corolla?). They do exist. We liked the condo, as it was a 5 min walk to the beach and the complex had a really nice swimming pool. I will search to see if I can find the mgmt company we used. If you sort the VRBO site on # of bedrooms low to high, you will see the smaller 1 & 2 bedroom places, which are usually condos.

You might want to check out The Lost Colony in Manteo, it is a play about the arrival to the New World and has a lot of history in it. It is very interactive and I think your kids might enjoy it. Ours were a little older. It was a great introduction to the history of the area and my kids really liked it.

swalter518 Mar 5th, 2011 04:46 AM

OK so here is our revised plan. Please feel free to comment. By way of background, we're road tripping from Chicago.
Day 1-Louisville and maybe Lexington area-I'm thinking Churchhill Downs and maybe a visit to one of the horse farms near Lexington.
Day 2 - Asheville- Biltmore + ?
Day 3-6 Outerbanks. I'm thinking Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Okracoke. I'd like my daughter to see wild horses and she's way into pirates so any tips here appreciated.
Day 7-8 Raliegh/Durham- We're big ACC fans so UNC/Duke are on the roster.
Day 9-10-home

What does everyone think? I'm going to post separately for each area but I'd appreciate all input.

swalter518 Mar 5th, 2011 04:47 AM

Oops. Should be Raleigh.

swalter518 Mar 5th, 2011 04:58 AM

Thanks Aliska. I went to the Lost Colony as a kid and remember liking it as well. I think maybe I can take my daughter and the little guys stays with Dad or vice versa.

KathyK Mar 5th, 2011 07:04 AM

For you stay in the Outer Banks, be aware that most houses/condos rent for a minimum of 1 week, so you might have to stay in a hotel. You might be able to find something on VRBO for 3 nights, but most rental agents have the 1 week minimum. I could be wrong, but I thought the wild horse population was in Corolla and there are far fewer than there used to be.

swalter518 Mar 5th, 2011 07:41 AM

Thanks Kathy. There seem to be a few on VRBO near Duck that rent for 3 nights. We're looking at after Labor Day so I'm hoping that they'll be more flexible with their schedules after then too.

Gretchen Mar 5th, 2011 08:28 AM

Aside from the horses, is there any reason you're not thinking of a closer beach? Wilmington area? (Battleship North Carolina) or on down toward Ocean Isle, etc. Lots to do, good beach.
It isn't "authentic" but there is a sailing ship (tall ship) out of Georgetown SC that does "pirate cruises" that is really pretty cute and really fun for kids. The crew all dresses up, tell pirate stories, climb the mast. The kids get to pull on the ropes, etc. It is very cute.
There is Kentucky Horse Park at Lexington.
You are doing a good bit of sightseeing en route, and may not be allowing enough time. I would not do Biltmore with your kids.
Also, you may want some insurance for hurricanes that time of year. It is absolutely THE most beautiful time to be at any beach in my opinion.

tomfuller Mar 5th, 2011 10:51 AM

Link to Assateague Island Pony swim.

This happens in late July. This is a very well attended event but you can see wild horses there anytime.

swalter518 Mar 6th, 2011 08:58 AM

Thanks everyone. Gretchen, you're right-we're ditching the Biltmore on further review. As for OBX as opposed to a closer beach, I was there as a kid and loved it and my DH has always wanted to go. I've looked a bit more and there are plenty of places by the day after Labor Day so we're ok there. Any suggestions as to what towns are best? We definately want to go to Okracoke but should we stay there or is it too hard to get everywhere else?

emd3 Mar 6th, 2011 09:26 AM

We liked Nags Head or Corolla Light when our kids were younger. We have gone to both many times and have been to both in the last 3 yrs.

Corolla Light has nice outdoor playgrounds for the kids and nice pools (one is right close to the oceanfront) and an indoor pool complex in case it rains. You can rent bikes (with a carrier for the kids) and ride around the bike paths at Corolla Light then ride down to old Whalehead Club and Currituck Lighthouse. The sound side of Corolla has a nice pier to crab off of, the kids loved that and we just threw the crabs back in the water. It is a great family vacation, with lots to do for kids besides the beach. They have organized kids events in the summer.

Nags Head has some nice features for kids like mini-golf places right off the beach, and amusement parks. We like the beach there much better than in Duck; some areas in Duck can have quite a drop off a short ways out. Jockey's Ridge is close by Nags HEad and is nice in the evening, lots of kite flying there. Nags Head is also close to Manteo and the nice NC Aquarium there. That aquarium is a fun half day for kids, lots of interactive exhibits like kids can touch turtles and rays in shallow pools inside, etc. There are condo complexes that rent for long weekends in Sept. We have stayed many times at Heron Cove condos where there is a nice oceanfront pool. There is also a nice bike riding path on the beach side in Nags Head and a nice long fishing pier where it is fun to take kids and they can watch the fishermen bringing in their catch, and you can fish w/the kids there. Nags Head is very much an old time family resort area; Corolla Light is much more organized w/programs for the kids.

With kids that age it is all about having options to keep them engaged and busy with something fun and interesting for them (and wearing them out so they drop off early at night, and you two can get some down time alone, right?). Corolla Light and Nags Head are good for those things.

swalter518 Mar 7th, 2011 06:12 AM

You're right on the money emd-it's all about wearing them out! I'll check out your suggestions. Anyone else have any suggestions?

swalter518 Mar 7th, 2011 06:10 PM

What are everyone's thoughts on Nags Head? We are looking at the Sea Spray Cottages. Has anyone stayed there?

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