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About the Outer Banks - local

POWELLS POINT
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About the Outer Banks - local

I live here in the Outer Banks and I actually live in Corolla, NC. The strip of islands starts with Carova which is four-wheel drive beach access only. There are no roads leading into it for the ultimate escape if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle. Carova is also home to the wild horses that roam the beaches. (Even if you aren't staying in Carova you should drive to Corolla and stop at a jeep tours place and have them take you out to see the horses.) The more northern you stay the wider and whiter the beaches.

Next to Carova is Corolla. Corolla still has a feeling of seclusion and has the wide and white beaches. The communities next to the four-wheel drive (Villages of Ocean Hill, Corolla Village, ect) have the most seclusion. Corolla Light Resort is also in Corolla. Corolla Light was named 2007 Resort Community of the Year and has an 8 lane indoor pool, indoor tennis courts, indoor fitness center, outdoor basketball and tennis courts, an oceanfront and a soundside pool, and tons more! In the middle of Corolla is TimBuck II shopping center which has everything including Gabriella's Italian restaurant, Mike & Diannas Grill Room seafood, ect, Route 12 steakhouse, Breakfast and Burgers, Giant Slice pizza, ice cream, surf shops, bumper cars, miniature golf, and go karts. There is a Harris Teeter grocery store, Food Lion grocery store, Burger King, and Dairy Queen in Corolla. Southern Corolla (Pine Island) the island is really narrow making most houses oceanfront and have a view of the Currituck Sound. This area is purely residential.

After Corolla comes Duck. Duck is a quaint little village with bike paths and walking paths along road side and a speed limit of 25. (In Duck, 25 mph means 25 mph as there are police everywhere.) There is a community playground and lots of small local restaurants. You will want to go to Baldies Burgers for lunch one day and Sunset Grille for a casual dinner or upstairs for karaoke and bar. For an elegant dinner in Duck you can go to Meridian 42 or Blue Point. The Four Seasons is my favorite community to rent a house in within Duck because of its indoor pool, fitness center, game room, and oceanfront outdoor pool. My favorite hotel/resort is on the edge of Corolla/Duck - The Sanderling Resort. The Sanderling is simply luxurious and includes a private beach and indoor pool access. The Sanderling Spa is right across the road if you would like a manicure/pedicure, massage, ect.

Past Duck is Southern Shores. Southern Shores is where the Walmart, McDonalds, dry cleaners, hairdressers, tanning salons, ect begin. In Southern Shores is the interchange to US158 where you can go toward the Wright Memorial Bridge (US158 N) to leave the Outer Banks. You can also turn onto US158 S or stay on Route 12 and go further into Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head area in which all of the tourist attractions and chain restaurants are located. The roadside is packed with miniature golf courses and fast food restaurants. The beaches have many public accesses so the beaches, as narrow as they are further south, are packed. As you get further South into Nags Head area it starts to clear up as you see the Jockeys Ridge state park and the Wright Brothers museum and monument. These are places that are a must-see while in the OBX. Also, the Black Pelican restaurant is the old Western Union where the Wright Brothers sent their first in flight telegram.

After Nags Head is Whalebone where my personal favorite restaurant is - Tale of the Whale. This is a great restaurant with amazing food and views on the waterfront. At Whalebone there is the other bridge off the islands - the Washington-Baum bridge.

If you head further south than that you will encounter Rodanthe (site for movie/book “Nights in Rodanthe”), Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras, and Ocracoke. The rentals and land are cheaper in these areas because the beaches are much more narrow and the streets are continually under water everytime it rains. Hatteras is great for those that love to surf or those on a very limited budget.

Ok so now where would be my favorite place to vacation in the OBX? Personally Carova with the very secluded wide white beaches and wild horses roaming. I live in the next best place (minus the four wheel drive vehicles only) – Corolla. Now, knowing the facts you can decide for yourself where you want to rent. :)

New Hampshire
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1. Re: About the Outer Banks - local

Thanks for the informative piece obxchic. We are looking at the Southern Shores for next summer(late July). We found a couple rental homes within our price range on Ocean Blvd. Can you expand upon this Southern Shores area and it's beaches too please?

Amissville, Virginia
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for Ocracoke
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2. Re: About the Outer Banks - local

We visited that area last year and I’ll never go back, it was nice to see the ponies run wild the area was very nice beautiful homes ,most of them and the beaches were wide thank goodness as it like a threw way out there one vehicle after another . Not a place I would like to go to and relax as you need to watch your step every moment , I’m sure it isn’t like that year round or day long but I preferred a road less traveled to fish on or relax

I guess to each his own but it’s not for me

Upstate New York
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3. Re: About the Outer Banks - local

It's funny to hear fish_oinc diss the vehicles on the beach ;), but I gotta agree. It is truly obnoxious and, for me anyway, totally spoils the place.

I've been going to the Outer Banks for well over 30 years, and as far as I'm concerned from Duck north the place is pretty much ruined. For people who have no sense of what the Outer Banks used to be, and are just looking for a vacation spot, they'd probably never notice. But the native vegetation is ruined, the dramatic vistas are gone (replaced by pink McMansions and golf courses), the truly wild horses and sand dunes that were free to blow and shape the place - the truly wild feeling that was so great about the Outer Banks is undetectable.

From Duck south to Southern Shores it is overly built up, and lacks the unique sense of place it used to have.

Southern Shores south has remained perhaps the most unchanged (because I never saw that undeveloped perhaps) and still has loads of personality. KDH and Nagshead have a fun, kind of gritty feel that at least isn't trying to replicate every other beach destination in the country.

POWELLS POINT
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4. Re: About the Outer Banks - local

I know what you're saying CARMEN57, things have changed, but to me I would go to New York or Las Vegas if I wanted to be in the middle of tourist traps and crowds. When I go on vacation I like getting away from crowds and commercialized chains. To me, from Southern Shores north is the best area to go to on vacation. The best time to come by the way is spring or fall because it is still warm but not sticky hot and the majority of tourists have gone home so you have a lot more piece and quiet.

ISLAND BREEZER - Southern Shores is kind of in the middle for a taste of both worlds. It is really close to go to dinner in the busier areas but still on Route 12 in the more residential area. Ocean Boulevard is the name for Route 12 between the 158/12 intersection and Hickory Trail, a parallel road that connects Duck Road and Ocean Boulevard. Duck Road is the name for Route 12 through Duck and it is called Ocean Trail through Corolla; it is all Route 12. If your house or checkin location is on any of these three road names then you do not need to make any turns off of Route 12. Be careful coming in June and staying right on Route 12 as this is one of the busiest times in the Outer Banks and Saturday around 4pm it will be very loud and the roads packed trying to get to their vacation homes.

Word of advice for vacationers - Come early or come late. During the in-season (no worries in the spring, fall, or winter) try Friday or Sunday rental homes or merely come in Saturday morning and spend the day at the beach before checkin because if you arrive anytime near 4pm on a Saturday during the in-season you will be stuck in traffic coming into the Outer Banks.

I also failed to mention before that the further South the more buggy because of the constant flooding and standing water.

Also, there is Colington Harbour off to the soundside/mainland-side of Kill Devil Hills. As well as Roanoke Island on the way back to mainland over the Washington-Baum Bridge. They are of course off the main strip but they are still considered the Outer Banks. I just didn't want to leave anyone out of confuse anybody.

New Hampshire
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5. Re: About the Outer Banks - local

Really helpful...many thanks! Cant' wait to go!

Manhattan, NY
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6. Re: About the Outer Banks - local

Very helpful to people getting ready to make their first trip to the Outer Banks. You are so lucky to live in Corolla!

New York, NY
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7. Re: About the Outer Banks - local

Hi obxchic - lots of great info. I'm planning a first trip to obx - with my grown kids in their 20's and significant others - thinking the last week in Aug or the first week in Sept. Would like to rent a gret house, with a pool, oceanfront if possible with all ammenities. I live in NYC so we're not looking for touristy places - just a great house to relax in. any suggestions will be most appreciated - thanks!

Chester County, PA
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8. Re: About the Outer Banks - local

Some of the information provided above is not quite accurate.

The Kitty Hawk to Nags Head stretch is the most developed area on the Outer Banks. However, it is not all miniature golf courses and fast food joints. There are all sorts of shopping, including an outlet mall in Nags Head, good sit down restaurants, and the other places that we all need (gas stations, grocery stores, etc.). There is only three, four? mini golf places along that entire 16+ mile stretch. Plus, you can avoid the main road and take the parallel Beach Road to see the beach, small shops and restaurants, and some old time OBX architecture.

The Wright Brothers Memorial is in Kill Devil Hills, Jockeys Ridge is several miles farther south, in Nags Head. The OP implies otherwise.

While the area can have crowded beaches in summer, crowded is a very subjective term. They are the most crowded beaches by Outer Banks standards. They are nearly deserted by Virgina Beach, Myrtle Beach, and Jersey Shore standards.

Also, the three village area, Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo, do not flood every time it rains, nor is it the main reason for the lower rental costs. It takes substantial rain to flood the roads, but it can happen, putting water on the road for a few hours on average a few times a year. The rentals are lower because the towns are surrounded by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. They are somewhat isolated, with the nearest towns, Nags Head north or Avon south, being a twenty minute ride away. If you want solitude and not crowded beaches, this is a great area.

9. Re: About the Outer Banks - local

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