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Outerbanks

STEVIE

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Hi everyone,
OK, thinking of going to the Outerbanks late next August. We have never been there. We are not planning to stay in a time share, but rather rent a big house with my sister and her husband. My sister does not have any children, she suggested this trip, and they have never vacationed there either. We are a family with 2 older teenagers and a son 22 and daughter 24. What is there to do in the area?
Are there activities for teenagers, is there a boadwalk?
Are there shops and restaurants near by or do you have to drive everywhere.
Thanks ahead of time for any advise/information.
Sue
 

tschwa2

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The OBX consists of several towns. Some are quite a bit less commercial than others. We have stayed in Kill Devil Hills and although there are some bars and restaurants most entertainment other than walking the beach, swimming and fishing in the ocean, etc require at least a short car ride.
 

kwelty

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Samoset Rockport, ME
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pedro47

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In my opinion OBX is all about family, sun, surfing, beach, fishing, golfing and some nice places to eat fresh seafood .

OBX population can triple during the summer months. Choice wisely and may "The Force by with you Luke Skywalker." Loved that new Star Wars movie.

Also, booking a resort home for the summer months you need to start looking now.
 
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chapjim

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I presume the two older teenagers are still in school? If not, my recommendation would be to delay to the first week in September.

A few years ago, we checked in to a place in Kill Devil Hills the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. By 6 PM on Monday, the whole area had emptied out. No traffic. No waits at restaurants. Totally delightful weather.
 

jonmaiman

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We visited the Outerbanks for the first time last summer. It was with my wife's family and he had a total of 13 people. We stayed in Duck in a large house with a private pool in the backyard. There is a nice town with boardwalks within easy walking and biking distance of many of the houses. There are also Jet Ski, Paddleboard, and Kayak rentals on the Sound side. My oldest niece (age 20) and my nephew (age 16) really enjoyed being able to go to town on their own. My daughter (age 9) and my other nieces (age 11) all enjoyed the area as well. Finally my father-in-law and mother-in-law (early 80's/late 70's) also enjoyed the boardwalk and being able to get a burger and a beer in town.

The town of Duck has shopping, restaurants, small grocery store, seafood market, and pretty much everything you could want. The nearest major grocery store is Harris Teeter in Corolla which is very nice and about a 20 minute drive. We did our major stock up for the week there. We also took a Hummer Tour from Corolla to see the Wild Horses in the four wheel drive area and that was a lot of fun.

There are two downsides to Duck:

1) The vacation homes are on the pricey side (at least the ones in easy walking distance to the beach and town).

2) Traffic in and out of Duck on Saturday (main check-in/check-out day) is horrendous. We came in very early in the morning (arrived at 8AM) to avoid the rush or you can come in very late at night (after 8PM).

--Jon

P.S. We have also been to Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach many times. Body Surfing is very good at Duck. The beach is much more sloped and narrower than Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head. So if you want to walk on the beach a lot, Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach would be better.
 
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dsexton

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I am currently in the Outer Banks and visit here often. Here's my advice - stay away from Duck in the summer. Traffic is a nightmare. If you can come in May (before Memorial Day) or Sept. (after Labor Day), that will be your best bet. You must drive everywhere. Like others have said, this is more of a true 'family vacation'.

Based on the ages of the family, you might consider Va Beach. There is a 3 mile boardwalk and you can walk to lots of great restaurants/bars. They have lots of live entertainment during the summer. Again, it's all in what you are looking for, but I tend to visit VA Beach in the summer and Outer Banks in the off-season.
 

tschwa2

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The advice we were given (and this is for the OBX as a whole), if you are checking out on a Saturday either leave before 6 am or leave the night before. We arrived on Saturday around 4 or 5 pm- which was the regular check in time and it was bad but not horrible. Leaving at 9 am, it was just bumper to bumper and added at least an hour to the trip with most of that hour being the time to get 10 minutes away from the outer banks.
 

RonB

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When you decide the time and area, I suggest asking what is within walking distance from the places you are considering. We own at Barrier Island Station in Duck, and there are a number of places within a 10 to 15 min walk.
Once you narrow down the areas where you want to stay, you can google that area, pull the map and zoom in. That will show some of what's near. For instance, if you were to decide on Duck, there are lots of houses near shopping, the beach, a boardwalk, and restaurants. I'm not sure if any of them are for rent though. :eek:
When it's close to time to go, you can ask here for places to visit or eat ~ Ron
 

STEVIE

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Hi,
Yes the teenagers are in college and we need to follow their school calendar.
I want to stay where we can unwind and relax, yet the younger crowd will have plenty to, and I won't have to hear they are bored. Is there such a magical place?
Thanks, Sue
 

pedro47

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Hi,
Yes the teenagers are in college and we need to follow their school calendar.
I want to stay where we can unwind and relax, yet the younger crowd will have plenty to, and I won't have to hear they are bored. Is there such a magical place?
Thanks, Sue

May I suggest Myrtle Beach, SC or Virginia Beach, VA (sometimes to much action @ night).
 

jonmaiman

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I have been to all four locations mentioned in this thread for family vacations with kids and teenagers: VA Beach, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, and Outer Banks. To each their own and with that disclaimer I will state I don't think VA Beach is as nice as the other three areas. The beach itself is quite nice and the boardwalk in VA Beach is also very nice. The quality of the accommodations and the quality of the restaurants available in VA Beach just doesn't compare. While both are plentiful there, they are all fairly low quality. It depends on what is important to you.

I'd characterize the areas as:

Myrtle Beach - Very Nice Beach, Heavily Commercialized, Lots of Timeshare and good quality hotel accommodations available at reasonable (for beachfront) prices. There are also vacation rental homes available but I have never tried any of them. When we did a large family trip here, we rented multiple timeshare units in the same complex (Wyndham Seawatch Plantation) or Ocean Reef. Lots of activities nearby though almost all of them require a car for access unless staying in North Myrtle Beach.

Hilton Head - Much more laid back and controlled development. Excellent beaches good for bike riding in addition to swimming. Lots of good quality timeshare, vacation rental, and hotel accommodations available. Depending on where you stay in Hilton Head, many activities accessible by bike (or car). Lots of activities available including an outstanding bike trail system. We have stayed at Marriott Hotel, Marriott Monarch at Sea Pines, and Marriott Surfwatch. There are lots of good non-Marriott timeshare and hotel options available.

Duck Outerbanks - described in my original post

VA Beach - described above, but recapping excellent beach, heavily commercialized, excellent boardwalk with entertainment, mediocre hotel and timeshare accommodations, and mediocre restaurants. We stayed at the Springhill Suites on the beach. Of the beach hotels they only one that seemed truly nice was The Hilton. Timeshare buildings looked old and dated.


--Jon
 

Big Matt

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I've been going to OBX for the last 40 years and have some pretty decent experience staying in all of the different areas.

OBX is a series of barrier islands that run from just south of the Virginia border where you can only drive on sand using 4x4 vehicles to the Northern beaches of Corolla and Duck to milepost zero through 20 which includes Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head and South Nags Head. After that you are heading to Cape Hatteras through towns like Rodanthe, Salvo, Waves on to the Cape. The entire stretch is around 100 miles in length.

You have everything from busy four lane bypasses to two lane roads with a max speed of 25mph to no roads at all. Throughout are wildlife refuges, historical light houses, and of course the beach. I recommend that you go to a library or just buy a book and read it. You can experience polar opposites depending on what you want and where you want to stay.

If you want to stay somewhere that you can walk to everything I'd suggest Duck, but you have to stay near the boardwalk area (on the sound). The boardwalk isn't the kind you would imagine, but more of a nature walk. It happens to be in the middle of the restaurant and shopping area. I wouldn't get scared of the traffic. It isn't as bad as people are describing except for Saturday and it is a mess all day. Just find a house with a Sunday check in.

Next I'd look at Buck Island. It is a neighborhood in Corolla that is next to a pretty big shopping center with a grocery store. Across the street is the best shopping in Corolla. Lots of shopping, restaurants, etc. There is a good farm market there too.

Farther north is the neighborhood of Corolla Light. It is all houses on both the beach and the sound. No house is more than a few hundred yards from the ocean or sound. My tip here is to rent one off the beach to save a lot of money. Corolla Light has a shopping area (no grocery store) with restaurants. The famous light house is just up the street. There is also a neat museum on the sound.

If you want more surf shops, lots of decent to okay restaurants just pick anything from about milepost 3 to 16 and you are within a walk or a drive to lots of stuff. Just know that this is very busy with lots of traffic and tons of people.

If you want more remote, just go farther south down to Hatteras Island or farther north of Corolla to Corova. Just know that Corova has no paved roads and no shops or restaurants. You may see the wild horses up there though.

Hope all that helps.

Expect to spend between $2500-4000 for the week on the house. You can go cheaper by renting a condo or spend north of $10,000 to be in a mini-mansion on the ocean.

I'd suggest looking at these rental companies
Duck and Corolla: Twiddy, Brindley, Corolla Classic Vacations, Resort Realty, Village Realty

Nags Head and nearby: Village Realty, Resort Realty, Carolina Designs.

There are many other choices. The ones I listed have some of the nicer properties and have been around for a long time. All are very reputable. I've used all of them
 

Paumavista

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Another suggestion

We have done family vacations at most of the barrier islands in South Carolina....haven't been to the outer banks (so have nothing to add...but following this post closely). I also haven't been to Bald Island in NC....but would love to hear any additional opinions of this island.....it is on my "to be visited" list.

For family groups......this past year we went to the Florida pan-handle area and loved it. Next year we are renting our family group beach home in Santa Rosa Beach...since we will have family driving from Texas. The beaches are BEAUTIFUL - the water is so clear and the sand is white. Plenty of activities in the area if you're looking for something away from the beach.

In the past our favorite was Hilton Head....we've rented more frequently in Palmetto Dunes but enjoy the Sea Pines community as well.

We are always on the look out for family group vacation destinations - especially large group destinations as the family continues to GROW......
 

talkamotta

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My kids/gkids could be happy with only a beach for a week. So they are easy. We visited OBX last October but it was just me and my husband. We enjoyed Ranoake Island, thought it was quaint. I love lighthouses so I was happy. The water was a bit cold for me in October but summer it would be good. We enjoyed the Wright Brothers Museum.

Do they like to fish? Lots of fishing places. Restaurants were all over, we only ate out once during our week it was at a pub close to the Outer Banks Timeshare, it was ok.

The one thing I didnt do that I would do if I go back is to take a ferry. On tripadvisor they had some parks that would be a good hike for them. Our week we had some rain days so we couldnt do everything we wanted to do.
 

fkclay

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OBX Rental Suggestion

We vacation in OBX often -- LOVE the area. Absolutely LOVE. In my opinion, Duck, NC and Corolla, NC are the nicest areas.

Duck, NC has a co-ownership called ShipsWatch that has weekly rentals. The rentals are large houses that are fully stocked, very close to the beach. The community also has a pool, hot tub, tennis courts, etc.

Go to ShipsWatchRealty.com and click on Rentals to view the houses.

Let me know if you have additional questions.

Kathy
 
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