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Outer Banks of Yore

NYC
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Outer Banks of Yore

I have many happy memories of my childhood vacations to the Outer Banks: jumping in big waves on uncrowded beaches, catching lots of fish at the pier, and climbing the dunes at Jockey Ridge. Now a friend has suggested we take her kids for a week in August. But when I read about three hour traffic jams I wonder if the place has been transformed completely in 30 years. Will I even recognize it? So destination experts please tell me where should we stay if we are seeking relaxation and a nice quiet beach with a touch of the old days where we won't be stuck in traffic every time we leave the house. Also I'm coming from NYC via the Delmarva pennisula so I would like to keep the drive to no more than 9 or 10 hours including stops. Thanks for any advice.

Duck, North Carolina
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1. Re: Outer Banks of Yore

Yes, the Outer Banks looks a lot different than it did 30 years ago! But traffic is only bad on Saturdays during the summer. By late August a lot of kids will be back in school and there will be fewer vacationers. If you want a less congested area, you might try Hatteras Island, South Nags Head, or Duck/Corolla. Hatteras or SNH is probably the most like the OBX of 30 years ago (since Duck and Corolla weren't even vacation destinations then), but each area has its own advantages.

Brookneal, Virginia
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2. Re: Outer Banks of Yore

Me too!!!!

But a lot changed from 1974 - 2012 (our last visit).

Used to be, on the night we arrived, we would take a tour down the by pass from the welcome center all the way to Whalebone Junction and back on the beach road- just to see what was newly built, and the new shops since the previous summer.

And it only took a couple of hours, including stopping to get some ice cream. :)

Try doing that now. You'll want to pull your hair out, lol.

The pirate putt putt at the base of Jockey's Ridge is long gone, reclaimed by the blowing sand.

There are few if any unbuilt lots, whereas in the mid 70's, there were many.

Gone, to make way for "progress":

The ocean front Carolinian Hotel with the comedy club

The Original Seafare Restaurant (burned down in the early 1980s?) lawd, I miss the rum rolls and she crab soup that other "Seafares" could not replicate.

The Galleon Esplanade shops (the Pirate ship book shop!) - you can google these places and find old pictures

www.obxconnection.com/outer-banks-forum/ has lots of old pictures in the threads, lots of reminiscing. :)

Honestly, you want to go back at least once.

There are so many people on the roads (less on the beaches I think) so much commercialization.

If I could go back to Nags Head as it was 30 years ago- I'd be there right now.

Met my husband there, vacationed with my babies there (now grown).

Hard to say it but it's a memory we cherish but we don't plan on coming back.

Actually, I would come back, one day, maybe when we have grandchildren, in September when things quiet down, just to share the memories.

Good luck with your vacation- going in late August will be quieter than early August as many schools in NC and VA go back early.

Chapel Hill, North...
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3. Re: Outer Banks of Yore

Ocracoke!

Elkin, North...
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4. Re: Outer Banks of Yore

The closest thing to the Out Banks of 30 years ago might be found at Ocracoke island.

Kitty Hawk, North...
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5. Re: Outer Banks of Yore

I am a Realtor here and I am often showing homes to folks that tell me they have not been here in 15-20 years. I can't recall anyone saying that it has been 30 since they were last here, many have been coming that long, but they have been back since. In 30 years it will seem much different in that most land now has something on it. Homes, stores, putt-putt, shopping centers, gas stations, etc. You can easily live here and have all the conveniences of back home. Hospitals, hotels (no higher than 3 stories thankfully) and car dealers are now here. Going to Hatteras is a small step back in time and going north to Corolla is just jaw dropping to those who have not been here since 2000, let alone 1984. Luckily it will not look like Myrtle Beach or Va Beach or the Jersey shore, so it's no where near that bad. I first came here in 1986 so it's not all that long ago to me, but I have seen the changes over the years.

I suggest looking at South Nags Head. More laid back with very little commercial other than the pier there. Wide beaches and so less crowded.

Come on down and stop worrying. As amazing as it was for you then the kids will think it is just as amazing to them now and the memories will start for them. Then come back in 2044 and lets see what is here.

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6. Re: Outer Banks of Yore

Old Oregon Inlet Road, south of Whalebone Junction. quite a few of the houses are from 1960-1970s we have a neighbor who owns the cottage his parents had and still comes down every summer. Not commercial at all, except for the fishing pier. Relatively quiet area. Mix of full time residents and rental houses. Late August is great time to visit, September is even better!

NYC
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7. Re: Outer Banks of Yore

Thank you all for your responses. I am checking out South Nags Head. Would love to do Ocracoke but it is just too far South for this trip. And I totally remember remember the Galleon Esplanade Shops - thought it was the coolest mall ever, when I was 7!

Louisville, Kentucky
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8. Re: Outer Banks of Yore

it's funny how Ocracoke was mentioned. We stayed in Rodanthe a few years ago the first week of Sept. We traveled one day north to Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills,etc., another day went to Ocracoke Island. Never had any traffic issues at all on our northern travel - and Rodanthe was great! Only a few people on the beach, particularly in the a.m. But the trip to Ocracoke was awful! We waited a long time for the ferry and when we got there, we couldn't even find a place to park. People walking everywhere, traffic was almost at a standstill. We didn't stay long - saw the lighthouse and had a meal somewhere I'd like to forget. Decided to head back to Rodanthe and enjoy the sunset there!

NYC
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9. Re: Outer Banks of Yore

Just to say thanks to everyone who responded. We stayed in South Nags Head. It was perfect for us, especially because of the easy access to the national park and Pea Island.

That part of the Outer Banks did look the same!

NYC
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10. Re: Outer Banks of Yore

Just to say thanks to everyone who responded. We stayed in South Nags Head. It was perfect for us, especially because of the easy access to the national park and Pea Island.

That part of the Outer Banks did look the same!

Edited: 29 August 2014, 13:45
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