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1 Apr 2018
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Local Recommendations

Over the next few days, I'm going to build the mother of all OBX vacation planning posts. I'm going to piece together a few posts to craft a full overview of stress-free planning for your next Outer Banks vacation.

I'll start with a great question that we get from just about everyone that has not been to the OBX before - and many returning guests too. Where should I stay?

This is actually my second "where should I stay" post, but I thought my previous post was a bit too formal, so I want to follow-up with some casual descriptions and spice it up with a local tip or two. However, I did include some great videos of each area in my previous post, so it's worth a look-see.

The OBX can seem a little confusing if you haven't had the opportunity to explore it a bit. I think you'll find that it's not all that confusing once we offer some descriptions, and as I go through this explanation, take a gander above to following along with the handy map.

map of where to stay in Outer Banks

Where is the Best Place to Stay in Outer Banks?

There is no wrong answer to this question. In my humble opinion, every area of the Outer Banks is awesome. You really can't go wrong with any location; they are all beautiful and have their own charm.

With that said, it really depends on what you're looking for. Take a peek at this quick description of each area and see if anything tickles your fancy.

  • The northern most beach, Corolla, is a pretty secluded with great local shops and restaurants, and some fun sight seeing...wild horses, lighthouse, etc.  The beaches can be slightly less crowded here.
  • Duck is a quaint little village with a great town-center with fun local shops and restaurants.
  • Southern Shores is a quick stretch between Duck and Kitty Hawk and offers some relatively empty beaches because there are few public access/parking areas, and it's a quick ride to activities north or south.
  • Kitty HawkKill Devil Hills, and Nags Head are the "center" of the Outer Banks, and as such, they tend to be the busiest areas...but still plenty of room to move around and find a quiet space.  This area has the most options for restaurants, bars, shopping, and activities on the OBX.
  • The southern beaches (Rodanthe, Salvo, Waves, Hatteras, Ocracoke) are the more secluded beaches.  There are less shops and restaurants here, but the peace and quiet is amazing.

Local Tip: From a local's perspective, I'm a big fan of South Nags Head - really just Nags Head, but it's the southern end that's special. :) I dig this area because it is close to all of the great activities: restaurants, shops, art galleries, etc., but it also backs up to the beginning of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which offers a few benefits... 

  • First, great views of sunsets over the sound because there are no houses impeding the view.
  • Without multiple rows of houses flooding to the closest beach, the beach tends to be a bit less crowded.
  • One of my favorite local have easy access to Pea Island. Possibly the best beach on the Outer Banks. Head south over the Bonner Bridge and pull over on the side of the road. Then, you'll have to hoof it over the dunes (it's worth the effort), and enjoy the amazing Pea Island beach all to yourself. Oregon Inlet isn't too shabby either, you can drive your four wheel drive vehicle right out on the beach and enjoy an awesome day in the sand.