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What makes OBX special??

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What makes OBX special??

The OBX car stickers are ubiquitous, and prompted me to consider planning a trip there.

However, upon doing some casual internet research- the place seems like any other generic beach- shoreline, golfing, seagulls, lighthouses, sand, and houses by the beach-

none of which seem to validate a “top ranked” vacation spot which OBX holds.

Can someone PLEASE convince me otherwise?

I just don’t want to be disappointed, and am hoping that the promotional videos/tourist pictures aren’t doing the place justice.

Is there anything special/unique to do at OBX?

Thanks for any advice :)

York, Pennsylvania
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6,624 posts
34 reviews
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1. Re: What makes OBX special??

To those of us who love it there is no other place that compares.

There is no boardwalk with 100 year old rides. No carnival games and trash. No slot machines. No high rise hotels.

There are "busy" sections such as Nags Head and Kitty Hawk and there are the quiet beaches like Avon and Hatteras.

I can set myself on the beach and not have another chair within 100 feet of me. I can walk away and leave my psessions to have lunch at the house. I can come back in an hour and all my things are still in place.

The nautual beauty of the protected areas. The pristine beaches. The quiet laid-back attitude. All these things make the OBX special.

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486 posts
15 reviews
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2. Re: What makes OBX special??

It truly was a great place 10 years ago and back. However; it seems that time finally caught up as everyone found out about it and then it grew and grew. There became more and more houses and more and more shops and now it is like many beaches that you can visit in NC.

We have always stayed on Hatteras Island and I remember 20 years ago when you drove through Avon it was just about nothing. When the Froggy Dog was built (I can't believe that place is still open) it was on the out-skirts of the village and now its in the middle...it hasn't changed locations either.

Back then you could drive on the beach without a bunch of "do-gooders" scared you were going to upset a bird or a turtle.

Back then the restraunts were owned by true locals and when you ordered a sweet tea it came with the sugar already in it.

Back then as the locals grew up they didn't have to move away because they couldn't afford to buy a parcel of land to start their own family on.

It is still a nice place. The drive there is alot quicker, it still has beautiful, uncrowded beaches, friendly locals, pretty good fishing, the history of the lighthouses and shipwrecks, great watersports, and a better variety of rental options.

Living in North Carolina, I can drive to other beaches in less time, stay for less and not sacrifice hardly any of the things that the OBX has to offer.

It is a nice place and you should go and make your deicision.

Amissville, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Ocracoke
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1,428 posts
33 reviews
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3. Re: What makes OBX special??

Well said Maddog

It’s less commercial further south on Nags Head On Hatteras no 7-11 of fast food but they are slowly moving in , The beaches are in a natural state and until last week you could dive on most of it if you had 4 wheel drive now that is limited , but that is one of the big attractions still of course there is the fishing in any way or style you can imaging, as close to the gulf stream the Outer Banks is that brings in a lot of fish

But if you looking for board walks hot dogs and cotton candy this might not be the place for you. Mostly single family home here to rent although you will find plenty of hotel but no big high-rise ones ,

People come here to relax and eat, a lot of history here too to look into .

Washington DC...
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4. Re: What makes OBX special??

For me, any beach where they have to go out in the middle of the night and sift the garbage out of the sand (which is sometimes trucked in) is not worthy of my time.

The peace and quiet and natural beauty you can find in the Outer Banks, or even south like Emerald Isle, Topsail Island, Kure Beach, Sunset Beach, etc, can't be beat.

Plus there is the fact that the water is so much warmer and cleaner/clearer. Once you get south of Hatteras, the water is gorgeous from the Gulf Stream bringing it up from the south.

And N.C-style BBQ. MMMM mmmm mmmm!!!!!!!!!!!

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5. Re: What makes OBX special??

I have to admit, I was never very fond of it. But then I learned to kiteboard. OBX has some of the smoothest wind I have ever experienced and now I love to go down there.


I imagine other people find OBX to be the best place to surf, fish, etc.

Destination Expert
for Virginia Beach
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6,506 posts
15 reviews
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6. Re: What makes OBX special??

I'll add Sea oats waving in the breeze, dunes (because they're protected), good policing of drunk driving, wonderful breeze for kite flying at night, fantastic sunsets over the sound, lots of water...ocean, sound, waterways. While you have the busy area where the cars and people are going up and down in the evening there's lots of areas where nature and natural activities, athletic activities. A very pretty light in the fall, great for photos in a natural setting.

A bit like the old Captiva.

New Freedom...
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244 posts
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7. Re: What makes OBX special??

We have been vacationing at OBX (mostly Duck) for 20+ years and refuse to go anywhere else. There is a little something for everyone without the "trash" of boardwalks and carnivals, etc as others have mentioned (although the "trash" is fun every now and then)....there is so much unspoiled beauty at the OBX and is just relaxing (especially further south towards Hatteras where there really isn't any build up)..definitely more residential and not as many hotels. But, you have to like this kind of atmosphere and must see for yourself! :)

Columbus, OH
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295 posts
31 reviews
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8. Re: What makes OBX special??

Man oh man, where to start?

1) VERY uncrowded. No matter how much the Outer Banks gets built up, it will NEVER be as crowded as some other beaches simply because there isn't enough land to support a ton of people. If you LIKE big crowds and being elbow to elbow with people (and some do) then this isn't the place for you.

2) The surf -- on the ocean side, it can be a little rough. That makes it fun to boogie board or do a little surfing in. The surf pulverizes most of the shells though, so it's not a good place for shelling.

3) The Sound Side -- When tired of the heavy surf, head to the sound side. Any shell you see in the water that looks like a hermit crab should be living in it WILL have a hermit crab living in it. It is shallow over there and you can walk way out -- great place to take little kids. Keep your eyes open for flounder and other fish and crabs on the Sound Side.

4) The seafood -- Sure you can find good local seafood in any beachfront location. The Outer Banks is no exception.

5) The cost -- We've stayed at The Lighthouse View Motel many times, and it is most cost effective if you go with family and/or friends and get a big place and split the cost. A week's stay at The Lighthouse View Motel's largest the first week of June is under $2,000. Divide that by three families and that's less than $700 for each family for a week's stay. VERY reasonable. Even prime season (middle of summer) is just a little more than that.

6) Stuff to do -- Lay on beach, swim in ocean or pool, wade in water on the sound side, take a ferry to Ocracoke Island (throwing bread to the seagulls along the way), shop at local shops if you're into that, fish (surf fishing brings a variety of fish), visit the lighthouse, feed the turtles in the pond by the parking lot where the lighthouse USED to be, eat seafood, relax.

If you don't enjoy all of what The Outer Banks has to offer, then maybe beach vacations aren't your thing. I've been to The Outer Banks 9 times now. This year we're headed to Sanibel Island in Florida for something different (world class shelling), but we'll be back to The Outer Banks for sure.

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789 posts
24 reviews
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9. Re: What makes OBX special??

Nothing special about it. You're right. Same as every beach out there. Might as well stay in OC. The best beach folks are wack jobs.

Please folks, we don't need more people down there, cut the sales job :-) I resisted prefering OC in the fall for years until I finally caved and joined my family. Now you can't get me away :-)

Chester County, PA
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70 posts
14 reviews
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10. Re: What makes OBX special??

The best thing about the Outer Banks is....

the sensory overload.

Looking at the sunlight moving across the blue and white ocean.

Hearing the gulls laughing as they fly by.

Tasting the salty air.

Smelling the ocean water.

Feeling the breeze rush across my skin.

But the best thing is the internal feeling that I'm in some place special, a place that touches something deep within me and says "Yes, this is good; this is the right place to be; this is contentment, happiness, harmony.

Enjoy and relish it.

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