Each year, thousands of visitors descend upon the winding state road that is US 168, en route to the easternmost points of North Carolina. This thin strip of land comprises the small towns and villages that make up the popular region known as the Outer Banks. While the words “beach vacation” may prompt many to think first of Florida or California, the North Carolina shores actually provide visitors with a wealth of vacation opportunities. In season, the weather is enjoyable with being too hot, and the water is temperate and suitable for sailing, surfing and fishing. Even in the off-peak months, when most businesses are closed, there is still plenty to do in the Outer Banks for the family. To make an Outer Banks vacation especially memorable, it is strongly recommended to take action long before you hit the road. Here are just a few tips to consider when planning your trip to the North Carolina shore:
Consider a beach house rental instead of a hotel: Yes, the Outer Banks has plenty of hotels and motels ready to serve visitors, but if you are planning an extended stay you may wish to have more room. Also, the novelty of eating out every night in a restaurant may become stale, whereas a beach house rental offers not only equipped kitchens but easy access to the beach and other attractions. Call well enough in advance and you will find most villa and cottage rentals are reasonably priced for the space you receive. Pool and Jacuzzi access, outdoor grills, and air conditioning are just some of the amenities that can enhance your stay.
Check for discounts: Resort towns, especially in the Outer Banks, often offer incentives for visitors to patronize shops and restaurants. If you are interested in a particular activity like fishing, surfing, or kayaking, chances are you may be able to save on equipment rentals. Check the Internet for related websites and printable coupons at local shops and restaurants, and save big when you arrive.
Pack for the season: If you plan to visit the Outer Banks during the off-peak winter months, you may not have difficulty finding a place to stay or eat, but you should know what to expect when you get there. Consult weather outlets so you will know what clothes to bring, and contact area businesses and eateries to find out if they will be open. Go in with a battle plan and you are less likely to be disappointed when you arrive and find the one place you want to visit is locked until spring!
Bring a camera: The North Carolina shore is probably one of the most visually breathtaking sites in the state. Here the combination of serene bay views, blue skies, and untouched marshland hearken back to the days of the early settlers. Here wild mustangs roam free, and gallant sea life inhabit the waters. A trip to the OBX offers more than its share of photo opportunities, so make sure the batteries in your digital camera are fresh, or else carry an extra throwaway camera in the car.
For more information on planning a fun-filled vacation to the Outer Banks, don’t forget to consult the travel and tourism departments of Dare and Currituck counties. Free information is provided to interested travelers, along with guidance on where to find rentals any time of year.