Renting a house or cottage in the Outer Banks is popular among visitors. Cottages allow for bigger groups of vacationers, while also offering affordable prices. However, travelers should note that some rental properties book far in advance, so it's best to make reservations early. A variety of hotels and campgrounds are also available; we recommend discerning more between the facilities themselves rather than the location. More conventional hotels are in the touristy Northern Beaches, like Nags Head. For campsites, Hatteras Island is a better bet.
- Although the beaches are lined with cottage rentals, many of them are spoken for on a year-to-year basis, so it's essential to make reservations well in advance. … A good number of national motel chains, along with numerous independently owned lodges, are dotted along the coastline and can provide adequate accommodations if you're traveling without reservations." -- Frommer's
- The 14,000 rental homes outnumber the 3,000 hotel rooms on the Outer Banks, but many first-time visitors stay in hotels." -- Southern Living
- Chain hotels have outlets here, too, but you can also opt to stay at a surprising number of small, family-run lodgings. You might also consider one of many quaint bed-and-breakfasts often filled with antiques and managed by accommodating hosts. Always ask about special packages (price breaks on multiple-night stays) and off-season rates." -- Fodor's
The Northern Beaches, comprised of Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Duck and Southern Shores, are nearby some hotels. But beach rentals are the big thing here, and they book up fast. If you're interested in reserving a cottage, you should do so as quickly as possible -- even a year in advance. This area is especially popular among vacationing families and among groups of high school students once school lets out.
Hatteras Island is the blanket name for a group of islands, which includes Rodanthe, Waves, Hatteras, Buxton, Frisco, Salvo and Avon. The island is 50 miles long, but only about a mile wide, so anywhere visitors stay, they'll be close to the water. Accommodation options range from campsites (around Cape Hatteras National Seashore) to beach rentals (that back the beach).
Resting between mainland North Carolina and the Outer Banks barrier island, Roanoke Island affords a smattering of bed and breakfasts, as well as some hotels and rentals. One reason to book here is to be nearby some of the OBX Top Attractions like the North Carolina Aquarium and Roanoke Island Festival Park. And if the Roanoke Sound isn't quite doing it for you (as far as beachtime goes), you can drive over it on the Virginia Dare Trail and enjoy one of the barrier island's free beaches.