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Hatteras or Ocracoke?

Chester, United...
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Hatteras or Ocracoke?

Thinking of renting a house for a week in Spring. We are looking forward to a few days relaxing and walking on the beach, seeing some dolphins, enjoying the parks.

Then on some evenings, find a friendly bar for a couple of drinks. And on other evenings eat at restaurants that serve good fresh seafood and linger over a bottle of wine. Of course we'd prefer not to drive to the bars or restaurants.

So for those of you who know the Outer Banks, should we stay on Hatteras or on Okracote.

This will be our first visit to the Outer Banks so any other good advice you may have appreciated too.

Thanks

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Outer Banks
Outer Banks
North Carolina Coast, NC
Hatteras
Hatteras
Hatteras Island, NC
Columbus, Ohio
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1. Re: Hatteras or Ocracoke?

We just came back from a trip to Outerbanks.

We stayed in Nags Head for 2 nights, then drove down to Hatteras, and took a ferry to Ocracoke to stay 1 night there.

Nags Head was the most convenient town where you could enjoy fishing, a walk on the long beach, shopping at the outlet mall, and of course, lots of good seafood dishes.

If you go there, please don't miss bisque at "Awful Arthurs" and various seafood burgers at "Sam & Omie's."

Hatteras was a smaller town.

I actually stopped by only for the lighthouse, so I didn't see much, but I'm sure that you will still find good places to eat and drink, of course beaches too.

There was a nice restaurant beside the ferry terminal.

Ocracoke was the smallest and very quiet.

We really felt isolation in this small village.

There are small hotels surrounding the Ocracoke Harbor.

There is a public beach just outside the town. I didn't see any parks there.

It is a very small town, so that you can even walk around to see everything in a few hours.

Many people were renting bicycles.

If you go there, you can't miss "Howard's Pub." Looked like, no one can miss this restaurant though (it was the only crowded restaurant).

I would say, Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills are the best for restaurants, bars and sightseeing, Hatteras is the best for driving on the beach, and Ocracoke is best for beautiful stars (we saw a beautiful shooting star!) and relaxing.

Why not staying a few nights at each location?

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Nags Head
Nags Head
Outer Banks, NC
Hatteras
Hatteras
Hatteras Island, NC
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Ocracoke
Outer Banks, NC
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Kill Devil Hills
Outer Banks, NC
Chester, United...
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2. Re: Hatteras or Ocracoke?

Thanks hokkaido. I'd really prefer to stay in one place rather than be packing and unpacking every couple of days. I think we've settled on Hatteras Islands.

Blairsville, Georgia
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3. Re: Hatteras or Ocracoke?

I have been vacationing in the Outer Banks yearly since I was a teenager (a long, long time). I love the entire area. If you are going in the early spring, it will be very quiet and uncrowded. It will also be cold, so pack a coat. There are a lot of good restaurants and you can get more information about them by going online for The Restaurant Guide to the Outer Banks and outerbanks.com.

If you choose not to drive far to visit restaurants or bars, you need to stay in Nags Head or Kill Devil Hills. If you go to Okracoke, you can only get there by ferry. Hatteras Island is also pretty far away from most of the major attractions in the Outer Banks, except for the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Okracoke and Hatteras are both beautiful, quiet places but I think you will end up driving a lot if you stay there.

I recommend renting a cottage. Most realty companies have small homes and condos that will are reasonably priced and will be more comfortable than a motel or hotel room.

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Outer Banks
Outer Banks
North Carolina Coast, NC
Nags Head
Nags Head
Outer Banks, NC
Kill Devil Hills
Kill Devil Hills
Outer Banks, NC
Hatteras
Hatteras
Hatteras Island, NC
Greensboro, North...
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4. Re: Hatteras or Ocracoke?

Be aware that there isn't much to the town of Hatteras -- just a little fishing port with very little variety available as to places to eat, etc. A lot of people don't realize that the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse isn't in the town of Hatteras, it's in Buxton -- just so you know. Buxton has more in the way of hotels than Hatteras, too.

I love Ocracoke. However, you need to understand that, as others have noted, Ocracoke is a charming fishing village (much more charming than Hatteras by a long shot) where you have to drive or bike a good ways to the beach on the other side of the island from the village accomodations.

As other posters have noted, the northern Outer Banks (Nags Head, Kitty Hawk & Kill Devil Hills) has a lot more to offer in the way of beautiful beaches, activities and restaurants without having to spend too much time in the car.

If you've completely ruled out the northern Outer Banks, then I would vote for Ocracoke over Hatteras or Buxton. It's only a short ferry ride from Hatteras to Ocracoke, and Ocracoke is just so much more charming with a lot more to do. You can easily day-trip up to the lighthouse in Buxton (and should), passing through the village of Hatteras as you disembark the ferry from Ocracoke. It takes about an hour (including the 15-min ferry) to get from Ocracoke village to Buxton.

To reinforce what others have told you about the weather, March in the Outer Banks can be quite chilly, even by British standards. May will not be hot, but will hopefully be nice enough for you to enjoy some beach time. The water won't be very warm any time in the spring.

Enjoy your trip to the outer banks of NC. It's a very special place!

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Hatteras
Hatteras Island, NC
Buxton
Buxton
Hatteras Island, NC
Ocracoke
Ocracoke
Outer Banks, NC
Outer Banks
Outer Banks
North Carolina Coast, NC
Nags Head
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Outer Banks, NC
ATR
Coastal NC
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5. Re: Hatteras or Ocracoke?

Okracoke is lovely, imo, and would be my top choice by far. The free car ferry there is one of life's great tax-supported bargains. Yes, it's isolated, but that's a major part of its charm. There are several outstanding restaurants there, and quite a number of lesser joints, both in terms of quality and price. Okracoke's lodging runs the gamut from very toney B&Bs to no-tell-mo-tels, as well as lovely rental houses. Highly recommend the latter- a place to crash and unpack, a place to cook your own breakfast, and sit out on a wide deck and watch the sun set...it don't get no better'n' that. There are dozens of shops, a good bookstore, toy rentals- bikes, kayaks, scooters, and the like, and at least in season, catamaran cruises on Silver Lake.

I also spend time regularly in Hatteras Village (work-related) and find it to be a quiet, pleasant and friendly fishing village with some top notch restaurants, but not particularly fascinating- an hour and a half or more south of the wall-to-wall shopping, bars, motels, souvenir shops, and chain restaurants in Kitty Hawk.

For my money, you can keep that scene. Garish T-shirt and swimwear shops ad nauseum, outlet malls just like every other outlet mall you ever saw, houses, motels, and fastfood joints stuffed cheek by jowl, with bumper-to-bumper traffic crawling between them. Ugh.

If you're going to the Outer Banks, anywhere, actually, take your binoculars, a couple of good books- including guidebooks to eastern birds, beach life, and seashells, your watercolors, your camera and long lens, your knitting or whatever it is you do to unwind. And then get as far from the madding crowd as you can. Find yourself a bit of deserted beach down south of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse or on Okracoke Island (regularly makes the top-ten list of Dr. Beach) slather with sunscreen and if necessary, insect dope, even in April, and let the irritations and pressures of civilization ooze out of every pore. Ahhh.

When ambition returns, long about day 3, see what's going on at the National Seashore- guided bird walks, etc. Many nice little loop trails through marsh, dunes, water's edge, and coastal woodland. Check out Kitty Hawk's First Flight museum, and any of the zillions of pretty little art galleries. If you're young and fit, not yet wise and cautious, take some hang gliding lessons off the huge dunes there, or lessons in kite-surfing. If you're in the old/cautious range, buy a brightly colored aerobatic fighting kite and figure out how to control it.

Have fun!

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Kitty Hawk
Kitty Hawk
Outer Banks, NC
Outer Banks
Outer Banks
North Carolina Coast, NC
Maryland
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6. Re: Hatteras or Ocracoke?

Ocracoke would be my first choice with Hatteras Island second. If the weather is nice, you can ride a bike everywhere. It's better to drive to the beach though. If there aren't many people in your party, there is a cute rental house on Ocracoke called Willis Garden. We try to stay there when we visit the island, but it was already booked through the summer when I checked this year. If you end up in Hatteras, I'm sure you'll have fun there too. Both places are very nice. Enjoy.

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Ocracoke
Ocracoke
Outer Banks, NC
Hatteras
Hatteras
Hatteras Island, NC
washington, dc
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7. Re: Hatteras or Ocracoke?

Thanks for all the great info on Ocracoke. Would you also say that it's a good place to bring a dog?

My husband and I are having a tough time finding a nice quality small rental (1-2 bedrooms) that is pet-friendly for our 8 month old golden retreiver.

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Ocracoke
Ocracoke
Outer Banks, NC
Richmond, Virginia
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8. Re: Hatteras or Ocracoke?

My husband and I generally go to our house in South Nags head most weekends in the Spring (and winter). A few things I have learned:

Weather in March, April and May is colder and wetter than I expect. Most weekends in April and May, its about 10 degrees colder than Richmond (many times very windy from the NE). Last weekend I was in shorts Saturday and a heavy winter coat Sunday. End of May is usually when it gets really pretty. We are on the beach a lot during the day, and there are usually a handful (or sometimes no) people except Easter week. Restaurants just start opening up the beginning of April. You will be among a handful of locals in Hatteras and Ocracoke in the spring. Fall is different because its filled with fisherman (also the prettiest time of the year). Hopefully you are going later Spring rather than earlier.

Ocracoke is a spectacular beach, and even in the summer you rarely see other people on the beach. Much better destination.

Regarding dogs...my dad used to rent small houses in the fall in Ocracoke with his two dogs. There is a good selection of small houses there, but he found less and less took dogs. There are quite a few-I think more than 25% of houses in the northern beaches are dog houses. I know that's true with Prudential.

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Hatteras
Hatteras Island, NC
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Ocracoke
Outer Banks, NC
Turnersville, New...
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9. Re: Hatteras or Ocracoke?

We stayed in Avon last year but took the ferry over to Ocracoke two times bc we absolutely loved the beaches!! (its a 2o min drive to the ferry)

The only problem is there is NO PHARMACY OR HOSPITAL. So keep that in mind!! Theres only a clinic that has minimal hrs. I'm insulin dependent diabetic. I'm usually pretty responsible with carrying a bag with extra supllies. Well ..When we got off the 40 min ferry ride, I realized that I forgot to pack more test strips for my glucose meter. .(i left them at the vacation home in Avon) There was NO PHARMACY to buy more test strips. and the clinic was closed for the day. It was only 12pm!! I actually found two EMTs that were on their lunch break. Thank god they had a glucose meter!

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Avon
Avon
Hatteras Island, NC
Ocracoke
Ocracoke
Outer Banks, NC
Boston...
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10. Re: Hatteras or Ocracoke?

hi All,

Love this thread. Just decided to look into the Outer Banks for our vacation for next summer (got great advice on the California forums for this past summer's trip)

We will be traveling with 4 teenagers from 17 to 13; Okracote sounds so nice, but I am wondering if the teens will get too restless. They love time on the beach, but also like to walk to ice creams shops etc. within reasonable walking or biking distance from where we stay. They aren't into crowed places- a trip to the mall, movies or a local historical site once out of the week is enough for them to break things up. Also thought maybe a surf lesson or something along those lines would be good.

Thanks for the advice.

Buggie

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Outer Banks
Outer Banks
North Carolina Coast, NC
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