Where to stay on your OBX vacation

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OBX Vacation

OBX vacation houses

The most popular OBX vacation rental, by far, is the beach house! From rustic beach cottages, tiny and cute, to the oceanfront mansions sleeping 20+, the Outer Banks has a house for every type of family.

OBX vacation houses

Renting an OBX vacation home

To choose the best beach house for your family, start with your budget! Don’t tempt yourself by looking at the more expensive houses either. Find the best one for your family’s needs in your budget — whether big or small.

Once you know your budget, use these tips to find your perfect vacation home:

  1. Consider where on the OBX you want to stay. Look at houses in that area first. If you can’t find just the right one, expand your search just a little north or south.
  2. Beach house rentals on the Outer Banks generally run from Saturday to Saturday, though some will rent for shorter periods during the shoulder season (April, October and November).
  3. When comparing rentals, be sure you understand what is included with the rental: Bath towels, bedding, kitchen supplies (dishwasher soap, dish soap, paper towels), bath supplies (soap, shampoo, toilet paper), cleaning fees, garbage pickup, etc.
  4. Also compare amenities: Pool table, onsite pool, community pool, foosball, grill, beach chairs, beach umbrella, etc. TIP: Don’t get caught up in amenities you won’t use, though. If you don’t play pool, then that pool table is not really a bonus for you — don’t pay extra for it.
  5. Understand key pick-up and drop-off. Rental houses are managed by realty companies (like Hatteras Realty, which hosted me last month). They have set office hours for key pick up and drop off. Get the keys from the office, then go to the vacation house. Have an emergency contact number handy in case you get stuck in traffic and will arrive late.

Other OBX vacation lodging options

Hotels, Inns and Bed & Breakfasts offer great alternatives to vacation homes. They include daily housekeeping, on-site amenities like pools (some) and the freedom to book for a few nights, not a full week.

North: Corolla and Duck

Luxury Lodging: The north end of the Outer Banks is home to the Sanderling Resort, a luxury hotel with views of the Atlantic Ocean AND Currituck Sound, conveniently located between Duck and Corolla. The resort is designed with family space on the north end and quieter, adult rooms on the south end — with pools for each. Very nice. The resort also has an indoor pool, spa, and three onsite restaurants…. and they welcome guests with s’mores kits! How awesome is that?

Luxury at the Sanderling Resort

Chain Hotel: Hampton Inn and Suites, the Hilton brand’s 2010 Hotel of the Year, is located 7 miles north of Duck on Pine Island in Corolla. All rooms include microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers, private balconies or patios and a complimentary hot breakfast each day. The property also has two swimming pools, a lazy river, indoor pool and fitness room.

Central: Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head

This area is most populated with more lodging options for your OBX vacation. Decide if you want the Sound side or the Atlantic Ocean and beach. Consider amenities, space, convenience and price when picking the best hotel for your family.

Kitty Hawk: 

  • Hilton Garden Inn, Kitty Hawk, is located oceanfront with great views from every room, and a fishing pier, pool, video arcade and fitness center for even more enjoyment.
  • Holiday Inn Express, Kitty Hawk, is just a couple blocks from the beach and offers free breakfast daily and an outdoor pool. This is value destination puts you in the middle of the action at a budget price.

Kill Devil Hills: This area has many hotel options for you! Rather than list them all here, check them out on TripAdvisor. Check to see if your preferred brand has a hotel at Kill Devil Hills, or pick one based on the location, amenities and space your family needs!

Nags Head: Like Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head has several hotel options, though only a few chain hotels. Here’s a link to TripAdvisor’s 10 best family hotels in Nags Head.

Waves: South of Nags Head and north of Avon, the Watermen’s Retreat is the ultimate getaway destination for those who enjoy watersports: surfing, kite boarding, SUP and wave runners. These luxury condominiums are conveniently located next to REAL Watersports (more on that in the next post), so you can watch the action or get out and enjoy the water.

OBX vacation lodging -- Waterman's Retreat on the Sound.
Photo provided by Waterman’s Retreat. Used with permission.

South: Avon, Buxton and Hatteras Village

Like Duck and Corolla to the north, the most popular OBX vacation option at the south end is the beach house!


  • Luxury: The Villas at Koru Village. Amenities and location make this an ideal getaway destination. Enjoy the state-of-the-art gym and classes, spa, salon, steam rooms, and outdoor area with volleyball, horseshoes and pool. Explore Koru Village to see what each suite offers.
  • Camping: Sands of Time. RVers will love the Sands of Time campground which offers electrical service, sewer, water, cable TV and internet. It’s close to the beach and the fishing pier, too.


  • Luxury: The Inn on Pamlico Sound. For those who want stunning sunset views, morning coffee, afternoon treats, a movie room for rainy afternoons and the convenience of water sport equipment on the dock, the Inn on Pamlico Sound is the place to stay! Whether you stay here or not, enjoy dinner at Café Pamlico — serving seasonal dishes made with produce grown onsite.
  • Other hotels in Buxton. Other hotels in Buxton provide OBX vacation lodging for those who want to spend just a few days at the Outer Banks. Click here to learn more.

Hatteras Village:

  • The Breakwater Inn. Located near the southern end of Hatteras Island, the Breakwater Inn is a budget-friendly hotel option for families. Pets are welcome in some rooms as well! All rooms in the main building have private decks with glorious sunset views over the sound. Enjoy a day on a charter fishing boat — then have your catch cooked fresh for you at the Breakwater Restaurant next door. Note: Accessible rooms and pet friendly rooms are located in a “motel style” building. The main building, which is built on stilts like most newer buildings at the Outer Banks, does not have an elevator.
OBX Vacation Breakwater Inn

There are lots of lodging options for an OBX vacation. Know your budget, then pick the area closest to the things to do at the Outer Banks that interest you!

Sunset at Pamlico Sound