Insider’s Guide: Outer Banks Vacation
The Outer Banks begin on the Carolina-Virginia border. Where they end is a matter of debate, though Cape Lookout generally garners the most votes. In a typical four- to seven-day vacation, you can easily visit Bodie (BOD-ee), Hatteras, and Ocracoke, with time for a day trip to Manteo, a beautiful waterfront town on Roanoke. No matter how much you plan to see, you’ll enjoy your trip more if you book most of your stay on the island best suited to your travel personality.
Photo: Wild horses descended from Spanish mustangs
More information: hatterasguide.com
More information: ocracokevillage.com
If you need a shorter stay—or just prefer hotels and inns—try beautiful beachside Hampton Inn at Corolla, the Comfort Inn on Hatteras, or the chains in Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills. Beyond that, most lodging is locally owned and older construction, so don’t expect flat-panel TVs and WiFi. Try The Castle on Silver Lake, The Ocracoke Harbor Inn, or The Anchorage Inn & Marina.
Photo: Whalehead Club at Currituck Heritage Club in Corolla
Photo: Ocracoke Lighthouse, the oldest operating lighthouse in North Carolina
Ignore the people who tell you to avoid the longer ferry ride. Churning across beautiful Pamlico Sound is a relaxing, wonderful way to begin or end your trip, especially if you pack some snacks and cold soft drinks.
Photo: Jockey’s Ridge in Nags Head
Photo: Merchants Nina Pignato and Carole Thompson