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Many times we get asked what is the difference between staying Seaside vs. staying Soundside when renting a vacation home in the Outer Banks. The term Seaside pretty much explains itself, near or on the ocean. The confusion comes in when we talk about Soundside.  

What is a sound? 

In geography, a sound is a large sea or ocean inlet that is larger than a bay. In the Outer Banks, we have three main sounds:  Currituck, Albemarle, and Pamlico.  

Currituck Sound

Currituck Sound Outer Banks 

Let's begin with the northernmost sound of the outer banks, the Currituck Sound.  The Currituck Sound connects the Albemarle sound with Norfolk and Virginia Beach's Back Bay.  According to, "The Currituck Sound is a nature lover's playground, offering ample access to wide open spaces of shallow, easy to navigate open water, dense thickets of maritime forest, and small, marshy islands that are covered in wildlife.  

Albermarle Sound 

Albermarle Sound Outer Banks

Moving south down the Outer Banks is the Albermarle Sound.  This sound feeds East Lake in the Dare County mainland, Bull Bay near Columbia, and Swan Bay at the edge of Plymouth.  This sound is very wide and crosses sections of US-65 and US-158.  The Albermarle Sound IS soundside for most of the central Outer Banks-Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head.

Pamlico Sound

Pamlico Sound Outer Banks 

Lastly, and furthest south, is the Pamlico Sound.  This is the water you see opposite oceanside on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. This sound offers some of the best kiteboarding and windsurfing in the world.

Should I stay on the sound in the Outer Banks? 

Majestic Sunset Kill Devil Hills NC

What about staying on the sound?  In addition to our many private rental homes on the oceanside, Seaside Vacations also offers many soundfront homes.  These homes offer a host of advantages such as private docks, and kayaks, not to mention they tend to be a bit more secluded.  Of course the biggest advantage that a soundfront home has over a seaside home is the view of THE INCREDIBLE OUTER BANKS SUNSET.  When you stay in the Outer Banks of North Carolina oceanside will get you the best sunrises, but the Soundside sunsets simply can't be beat.

Oceanfront Rentals Soundfront Rentals