outerbanks N.C. vs Hilton Head SC

May 16th, 2005, 06:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 63
outerbanks N.C. vs Hilton Head SC

We are currently planning a family vacation. Someone mentioned Outerbanks North Carolina. We have been to Hilton Head several times, my question is how do the two compare. From housing rentals, beaches, things to do etc. Or can anyone recommend any other nice beach area. Thanks
joadan is offline  
May 16th, 2005, 07:07 AM
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Hilton Head and the Outer Banks are quite different, and it's a matter of your taste as to which works better for you. Here are some of the distinctions:

- Most of Hilton Head is gated, and the housing is built to very uniform standards, giving an overall resort-y kind of feel. Many of the hotels are large, resort hotels. The Outer Banks -- at least the most traveled towns of Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk and Nags Head -- in comparison, is not so uniform; while there is an "Outer Banks beach house vernacular" architectural style, there are few "planned" communities, so you get a hodgepodge of lodging styles, often right next to each other. There are also few resort hotels; more like beach motels.

- The beach at the Outer Banks has more of a slope, with rip currents fairly common and heavier surf; I would watch little kids VERY carefully. The NC sand is lighter-colored. The Hilton Beach slopes gently, and you can go in the water a long way before it gets deep; the sand is grey, from all the nutrients being washed in from the marshes.

- Hilton Head is all palmettos and live oaks and spanish moss; lots of shade. The Outer Banks seems almost barren of vegetation, as it is heavily developed.

- Many of the Hilton Head plantations are gated. The Outer Banks is not like that, and has regular areas of beach access for the public. Once you go far enough south to be in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, it's all wide open.

- Hilton Head is close to the historic/charming towns of Beaufort SC and Savannah, GA. There is nothing comparable near the Outer Banks.

That's just a start. I can happily enjoy either destination. But given a choice on the US East Coast, I'd pick Hilton Head over the Outer Banks (but would pick Kiawah/Seabrook over both). It's all a matter of taste.
Callaloo is offline  
May 16th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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I'd pick Outer Banks, but I'm not a resort fan. There are some great houses on Outer Banks for rents - especially reasonable if you split the fee with another family. Many of the houses are very large and are designed to accomodate extended families. I only rent a house right on the beach ("ocean front") because it is worht every penny. The beach at Outer Banks changes. One year it will be wide in places and then that can shift with a storm or two. I've never felt it wasn't great though. I also have never had trouble with the currents - although you DO want to be careful because bad things can happen. If you are intent on really being at the beach - and not doing too much else - Outer Banks is the best. If you want to mini-golf, shop, golf, and all that there might be better choices.
wliwl is offline  
May 16th, 2005, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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I'm sure a SC lightning bolt is going to strike me for this, but...

I don't like Hilton Head because it feels artificial to me. I moved out of a gated community for the same reasons.

I love beach vacations and staying at places that meet my expectations of what a beach vacation is all about. For me, that would be the Outer Banks. I think the above descriptions are very accurate. You should choose the one that matches your expectations.

If you are on a family vacation and want lots of things for kids to do OTHER THAN enjoy being on the beach, you can also check out Myrtle Beach. It's been called tacky, etc. but lots of mini-golf, go-cart rides, etc. The SC version of Panama City, FL.

I opt for the OBX style myself.
starrsville is offline  
May 16th, 2005, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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For Hilton Head, as said, it is a planned development where there are bike paths and gated. The OBX is spread out and more like the average East Coast Beach. Go a little south of Nags Head and you can it a barren beach and really feel the seclusion of being away from it all. With the OBX, you have ferry's (if you go to Orcrcoke, Hilton Head has a toll road. I have spent much time in both, and all though I really like Savannah and Hilton Head is fun, I like the idea of an open beach with less resort. I would choose OBX. But that is just me......
Subway_Scoundrel is offline  
May 16th, 2005, 02:20 PM
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I'm not a fan of Hilton Head either. Not the beaches but the town.
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