Visiting North Carolina

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Beach home rental in the Outer Banks, NC

Aug 2008

My extended family is planning a vacation and we are considering renting a beach house in the Outer Banks, NC. We are a fairly big group, 10 adults, 2 kids and 3 young toddlers, and we'd like to be in the same house. I've done some searching, but wondered if anyone has particular advice about where to stay (I've heard that Duck and Corolla are nicer and less commercialized), a rental company to use, or anything at all really! Thanks in advance. Jocelin

We've stayed a couple times in Avon through surf or sand realty, The houses range in size from big to monstrous (We were two families with 18 adults, 5 kids, and were very comfortable in two houses). The properties were generally in very good condition with your typical vacation rental furniture (not likely to appear in Dwell, but clean and comfortable). The rental company was responsive the few times there has been any issue with the house (toilet over flows, or dishwasher doesn't work, etc..) The oceanview homes have spectacular views, and are a great deal in the off- or shoulder- season. Avon has a supermarket that also stocks beach toys, chairs, coolers, etc... In the same strip-mall there's a take out place with pretty good NC-style BBQ, and some other restaurants. I think there's a movie theatre, too. Mini golf is up the road near the pier. Last time we were there (a couple years ago) there was a very thoughtfully stocked wine shop also in A! von. Have fun! anon

Hi, we've been going to the Outer Banks (OBX) for 10 years. This year was our first time in Duck and before that we've always been in Nags Head. We usually go for a week around July 20th. In ten years (70 vacation days!) we have had 3 days of bad weather. If you go much later in the season then the end of July, you start running into storms.

We love the Outer Banks. It is perfect for big groups, we have about 60 people in 3-4 houses. In our particular house we have 9-10 adults, 7 older teens, and 4 kids under-8.

There are a few differences btwn Duck and Nags Head. Duck is a little more ''upscale'', I compare it to Marin County. Duck has major traffic issues, as it is one-lane each way, in and out. On Saturdays and Sundays the traffic is stopped. There aren't any big grocery stores in Duck. We ended up going back to Croatian Hwy to hit the Walmart. But it's not down the street, it's a good haul and if traffic is really bad you are talking at least a couple of hours for the whole excursion. That being said, Duck is very walkable and quaint. You also see a ton of people renting bikes.

Nags Head is more commercial. It has several large grocery stores, a movie theatre is one town down and it has a fairly new hospital. There are many more restaurants to choose from and the prices are more reasonable.

Once you are in the houses, they are pretty much the same - there are a good number of large houses/complexes to choose from in both locations. Also, the beaches are very similar. In Duck, we thought it was a little more crowded, but it could have been just where our house was. In Nags Head we have used Village Realty, and they have excellent customer service and in Duck we used Carolina Designs. We had a few problems with the house in Duck (broken TV, dishwasher, etc.) and they fixed them pretty quickly. But I wasn't as impressed with the overall attitude of the people working in the Carolina Designs office.

Also, the closest airport is Norfolk, VA. I can recommend hotels in Norfolk if you want.

I would be happy to answer any other questions you have, as this post is getting really long! good luck, and I think you will love NC! Kerri L.

I have a friend who goes there almost every summer with her family. If you have any further questions, e-mail me and I'll pass them on to her. Here's her advice:

Duck and Corolla are VERY commercialized. If they want peace and quiet, they need to be south on Hatteras Island. We do the Rodanthe (pronounced Ro-dan-tee), Waves and Salvo areas. Two real estate companies that we have used are and the other is . The areas of Duck and Corolla have become very very busy and just to GET there is hard because so many people go up there that the traffic is miserable. As you know, our family has gone many times, this year being our 7th year – and we stay in the same area each time. The houses are huge and accommodate us – we have had up to 19 people, but average about 15. The newer houses have elevators (which is great when lugging groceries and luggage), private pools in the yard, hot tubs, pool tables – all the comforts of home, and then some. Some even have cribs and high chairs. barbara

I rented this house in 2005 and 2006 and *loved it*.

I agree, the more north you are the better the ambiance. That is why the last two years we were on the east coast we decided to rent in Carova, which is a 4 wheel drive only area. Basically you drive north to the end of the road, and then drive on the beach to your house. The beaches up there a huge and clean and not overly-populated. I highly recommend that area. It was so quiet and relaxing, and the drive on the beach was fun. Just remember to reduce your tire pressure to 20 psi! Sara