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Nags Head or Duck?

Washington DC...
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Nags Head or Duck?

My husband and I are planning to take a short trip to the Outer Banks in early August - this is our first trip so we would like some advice on where to stay and what to do (other than going to the beach!). We only have 3 days, so which would be a better base - Nags Head or Duck? What other towns should we visit and are the hightlights of the area not to be missed? Also any advice on traffic - we will be driving from Washington DC on a Monday or Tuesday- do we need to avoid certian times of the day? Thanks in advance!

Kitty Hawk, North...
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1. Re: Nags Head or Duck?

Monday or Tuesday will not be an issue with traffic. Duck and Nags Head are both nice areas. As a base I would choose Nags Head, but they are 15 to 20 miles apart so the difference is not huge. From Duck there is Corolla to the north and everything else to the south. From Nags Head there is KDH, Kitty, Duck and Corolla to the north and Manteo to the west and SNH, Hatteras and Ocracoke to the south so it seems more central. Take a ride north one day, ride south one day and stay in the Nags Head? KDH area one day. A visit to Manteo waterfront is a good place to visit and have lunch.

Edited: 25 July 2012, 22:25
Washington DC...
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2. Re: Nags Head or Duck?

Thanks!

Kitty Hawk, North...
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3. Re: Nags Head or Duck?

Hi Paxa,

OBX200 is right. Severe traffic is really only an issue on Sat. and Sun., although the traffic can get thick during typical meal hours (especially in Kill Devil Hills).

For which town you're staying in I think it depends a lot on what you want to see and do in those three days.

Indianapolis...
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4. Re: Nags Head or Duck?

I would suggest not staying at the same place every night - but that sort of depends on how much you mind being in the car. There's a lot you can cover if you don't mind being a little more mobile. If I had just a few days to see what I could, and didn't mind being mobile - here's what I would do:

Enter OBX and check in to lodging somewhere on the beach in the Nags Head/Kill Devil Hills area. I'd try to check in as early as I could and enjoy the beaches and surrounding area the rest of the evening. In the morning, after breakfast, I'd relocate to my next lodge at Buxton. I'd take the roughly 1 hour trip slowly, making stops at Bodie Lighthouse, a few of the various beach access areas along the way, and a few of the numerous shops and museums along the way. Would probably have lunch somewhere around the Rodanthe/Waves/Salvo area. Depending on the check-in time of my Buxton lodging, I would go to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse either before or after checking in. The rest of the evening I would spend in the Buxton/Frisco/Avon area.

The next morning I would continue south and take the ferry to Ocracoke. Spend a few hours walking/biking around the village and have lunch. If you're a beach person, then you must plan a few hours on the beaches of the island. Late in the afternoon (maybe 5 or 6) begin the journey north.

Again - not sure if a more mobile option is to consider for you. If you'll be driving a convertible - I think a few mobile days along the banks would be awesome. If you just don't want to drive a couple of hours / day - then might not be for you. I think doing something like this will give you a little more "taste" of OBX. Driving along the banks is not the same as driving the highways of the mainland.

I would put the Hatteras Lighthouse, Bodie Lighthouse and Ocracoke on a list of "must see's" for OBX.

Charlotte, North...
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5. Re: Nags Head or Duck?

Duck is almost entirely houses that rent by the week (except for the Sanderling), so for three days, you will likely have to stay in Nags Head / Kitty Hawk / Kill Devil Hills where they have a lot of hotels that can actually rent for only 3 days.

Pittsburgh...
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6. Re: Nags Head or Duck?

I'd agree that Nags Head is the better home base if you'd like to hit areas and attractions to the north and south, as well as central. There is also a wide variety of restaurants including some great local places in the Nags/KDH/Kitty Hawk area. As stated, I think your lodging options are more diverse in that area as well, especially if you're looking to go the hotel/motel route. The humble opinion of a Pittsburgher.

Washington DC...
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7. Re: Nags Head or Duck?

Thanks all for the advice! We were originally not planning to go as far as Buxton and beyond - not knowing anything about the area the plan was just to hang out on the northern part, take scenic drives, walk around in cute towns, maybe a half day at the beach, and hopefully find some great places for lunch/dinner! However if the drive from Nags Head to Buxton is only an hour then we can do that for one of the days. And Dean K: I am up for staying in different locations and/or driving a couple of hours everyday but my husband finds that stressful so this time we have agreed to stay 3 nighs in the same place! Am thinking of the First Colony inn in Nags Head - seems to have very good reviews? And any restaurant recommendations in any of the towns will be appreciated!

Pittsburgh...
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8. Re: Nags Head or Duck?

We found some great spots, most of them being reasonably priced. We had some fresh and creative seafood dishes at South Beach Grille and Blue Moon Beach Grille, with some incredible shrimp and grits at the Blue Moon. We hit Owens for a little bit of a higher end dinner, and had some great breakfasts at Sam and Omie's. If you're interested, I have reviews published of all 4 places.

Washington DC...
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9. Re: Nags Head or Duck?

Thanks - I will look up your reviews of these restaurants!

10. Re: Nags Head or Duck?

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