Unique Outer Banks Experiences

Did you know there are some things you can only do on the Outer Banks?  These unique experiences are part of what makes the OBX an amazing vacation destination and a perfect spot to start (or continue) your family’s vacation traditions.

Seeing The Horses

The Outer Banks is one of the few places that still has wild horses roaming free on the beach. They are a beautiful sight to behold and many consider them a metaphor for life. These horses inhabit the four wheel drive area in Corlla and you’ll never know when you’ll see one. If you want a guaranteed sighting, take a tour with our Fun N Sun partner, Corolla Outback Adventures.  Seeing these majestic animals in their natural habitat is an experience you’ll carry with you forever.

OBX Crabbing

Other places ‘crab’ by putting out pots and then collecting the crabs later. And while that’s how commercial crabbers do it, it’s not how it’s done on the Outer Banks when you’re crabbing for fun with your family. It all starts with a chicken neck, a piece of twine, a dock, (Duck has a public one) and a net.  You simply tie the twine around the neck, lower it in the water and wait for a nibble. Then, you slowly lift the twine and scoop up the crab with the net. It’s an experience that always leads to fun, laughter and great memories.

Ghost Crabbing

Here’s a great time guarantee for anyone with kids or who are kids are heart; ghost crabbing. Nope. It’s not like regular crabbing. These aren’t edible crabs and you aren’t going to keep them. (They don’t make great pets either.) All you have to do is wait until sunset, then grab your flashlight, kids and camera and head to the beach. Ghost crabs are sand colored crabs that only come out at night. Shine your flashlight around until you see the moving sand. You’ve found one! Then, take its picture. That’s all there is too it. This simple activity can keep kids and adults entertained for ours and it’s a good way to work off energy in the evening.

Eating Outer Banks Style

From dining with your dogs, to watching the sun set as you dine, to having food exclusive to the Outer Banks, like Hatteras Clam Chowder, blue fish dip, or wine from local vineyards, eating can make a memory too. There’s a variety of décor and food for all tastes including seafood, fine dining casual dining and some places you just have to try to believe. The best conversations are always had over meals after all. So it makes sense some of your best memories would also be over food. The smells, the tastes, the decor and the setting, there’s nothing quite like the outer banks.

The Lost Colony

The Outer Banks is home to the first English settlement in the new world. It’s also home to the longest running outdoor drama about that very topic. Paul greens’ play has been running every summer since 1937. It has featured famous stars before they got famous, including Andy Griffith, Leon Rippy, Chris Elliott, Eileen Fulton, Terrence Mann, Ira David Wood III and R.G. Armstrong . It has even won a Tony for Excellence in Theatre. This is family a friendly show, but does have some intense scenes involving fire which might be frightening for the littlest viewers.

The Outer Banks Comedy Club

Another great entertainment option is the Outer Banks Comedy Club. This is actually the oldest seasonal comedy club in the country and is well known on the comedy club circuit for new comedians just starting out. Some now famous comedians who started out at this club include Ray Romano, Drew Carey, and Sinbad. Food and drink can be ordered just show. And since every week is a different performer, you can see it year after year and see something new every time. The show is suitable for ages 16 and up.

The Grass Mini Golf Course

All tourist areas have a wide selection of mini golf courses and the Outer Banks is no exception. You can find everything from the more commercial chain mini-golf places, to the more traditional retro kind on the beach road. And then, there’s the Grass Course. This is true miniature golf from several generations ago is an actual grass course, devoid of windmills and waterfalls. Instead, the landscaping provides the challenge, just like real golf. . It looks just like a real golf course that’s been shrunken down, complete with tiny sand trap and an osprey nest. The Grass Course the course is a great way to introduce kids to the joys of golf when they’re not ready for a real course yet.

A Day On The Sound

A sound is like a bay; and is also known as a big water playground for such sorts such as stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, waterskiing, jet skiing and parasailing.  So when you’re sick of the beach, come to the sound and have a great time. Chartering a sound boat (like a pontoon boat) is  the perfect option for amities who want to take a boat trip together but are nervous about going all the way out to the ocean. A day on the sound offers tiny waves, little chance of getting seasick and land always in sight. You can charter a bot for the sound as well as the ocean. There are places to swim, islands to explore, and fish to catch.  A good time will be had by all, including the very young and the elderly.

Climbing A Lighthouse

The Outer Banks is famous for its lighthouses. There are actually a few you can climb and several more you can visit. Ironically, both the world’s tallest all concrete light house (Cape Hatteras) and the shortest (Ocracoke Island) are both on the Outer Banks.  The one in Corolla is always open for climbing, while Hatteras and Bodie Island are opened sometimes (call before you go to make sure they’re open while you’re here.)  There’s nothing like the view from the top of the lighthouse. Don’t want to climb? No problem, the surrounding grounds has enough history and nature to please everyone.

Catching ‘The Big One’

There’s nothing like fishing on the Outer Banks. In fact, the OBX is known for its fishing. The good news is you don’t even need a boat to catch a decent sized fish. You can catch one right of the shore or a pier. It’s also a great way to introduce fishing to children. And if you want to catch an even bigger one, then you can rent a charter boat and go fishing in the Gulf Stream. This way you can come back with a great fish and an even greater story.

Festival Park

Are you ready to learn about the original English settlers while climbing on board a life sized replica 16th century sailing vessel? If so, then your family is going to love Festival Park.  This historic site features the replica ship, English settlement, and Native American Village complete with costumed interpreters. There’s also a small museum, where you can watch a movie on the legend of Two-Path and the naming of the town of Skyco, explore more Outer Banks history, engage with selfie spots, dress up in costume and even shoot fake ducks. This interactive historic site is a child’s dream come true.

Watching The Boats At Oregon Inlet Come In With Their Catch

Organ inlet is home to a huge fleet of charter and commercial fishing boats. So if you’ve wondered where fish comes from, now’s your chance to find out. The ‘catch’ comes in early afternoon, and you love fishing, it’s an event not be missed.

Climbing Jockey’s Ridge

Let’s face it, all kids and most adults want to climb the dunes. They just look like so much fun to climb. However dunes are fragile on the OBX and definitely not climbing. Good think there’s Jockey’s Ridge, the only one made by nature for climbing. This dune is the largest one on the east coast, and begs to be climbed. Kids love running up the dune, rolling down it, and taking pictures with the ‘sand castle’ the only remnant of a long ago mini golf course the dune swallowed up in the 80’s. On the other side of the dune there is a sound beach perfect for little ones and pets. And of course the top of the dune offers a sight not to be missed.

The Vineyard Voyage

Sanctuary Vineyards is one of the Outer Banks most famous wineries, right here in Currituck. They make everything from Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadine, Rose©, and icebox wine.  Many of their wines include unique to the region scuppernong grapes, wildflowers, and fruits. They’ve also won awards for their wines.  The Vineyard Voyage takes you to the vineyards for a tasting by way of a boat leaving from a dock in Duck. Wine and sightseeing; what could be better?

Local Festivals

The Outer Banks is famous for its various celebrations. From the Watermelon Festival, to the Art Under The Oaks,  The Wings Over Water, The Pirate Festival, the Food Truck Showdown, the Tiny House Festival, the Duck and Wine Festival, Taste of the Beach, and so many more, there’s always one to go to, regardless of the time of year.

Going On A Ghost Tour

Yes, OK, there are ghost tours other places, but you can only get Outer Banks ghost stories right here on the Outer Banks. You’ll hear tales of mystery like the Cora Tree, local legends like the ‘true’ fate of the Lost Colony and the white doe, and bizarre histories, like why it’s really called Kill Devil Hills and how the infamous pirate Blackbeard met his fate off our coast.

These are just a few of the unique experiences you can have at the Outer Banks, but they are by no means the only experiences you can have. If you’d like to discover more about things to do on the Outer Banks, just give our friendly planners a call. Since all our staff is local, they can direct you to the best things to do with your family so you can come home with the best memories. Let’s start planning your Outer Banks vacation traditions today!

Top 10 Reasons to Visit H2OBX on your next vacation!

If you’re looking for something a little different to do with your family on your next OBX vacation, look no further than H2OBX Waterpark. More than just rides and slides, this new waterpark has everything you could possibly want in an vacation attraction. It’s thoughtfully designed to provide fun for the entire family. Check out these top 10 reasons to visit H2OBX on your next visit to the Outer Banks. 

Don’t forget to purchase your H2OBX Waterpark tickets through Atlantic Realty’s Special Link.  That is is the only way to get the special partnership discount and the 7 day Vacation Pass!! 

1.  The Toddler Area

H2OBX Waterpark has something for even the youngest members of the family. The ‘little kids’ area has everything a baby or toddler could want. It has a wading pool, baby swings over the water, appropriate sized slides and lots of fun sprinklers. And for the adults, it has plenty of space to join your child in the pools and sit around in the shade for a nap after you’re done. 

2. The Big Kids Area

If your kids are too big for the toddler area, but not big enough yet for the larger slides, than the “Big Kids” area will be just perfect for them. Sand Pail Beach has all kinds of age appropriate slides and water based play areas. Not only do they have their own play area, they are also plenty of rides they can go on inside the pirate ship play area known as Calico Jack’s Cove! Looking for a little rest after all that adventure?  The big kids can take a loop around the adventure river or grab their parents and head for one of the family slide rides.
 

3.  Thrilling Slides

If your group is made up of more thrill seekers, then you’ll have plenty of fun and adventurous drop slides to choose from.  Are you brave enough to take the plunge on Paradise Plunge? Drop 9 stories in this free fall slide and come back for more!!

4.  Wave Pools

For those who love the feel of the ocean (without the sand and seaweed), H2OBX has not one, but TWO wave pools. The Twin Tides wave pool has two entrances with gentle waves on side for the littlest members of the family and slightly larger waves on the other side. There’s also an adults wave pool for the biggest waves and the most fun.

5. Adventure River

If thrill rides aren’t your speed, don’t worry. The park also has plenty of places to relax. The most popular place is the lazy adventure river. Grab an inner tube and float around the circumference of the park. Since there are multiple entrances/exits, you don’t have to get off the same place you got on. That means that it’s also the most relaxing way to travel, as long as you don’t mind taking your time getting there.

6. The Flow Rider 

If you like boarding, or have always wanted to learn, then check out the Flow Rider. This unique attraction provides and endless waves where you can only wipe up, never out. It’s perfect for advanced boarders. It’s a great place to practice your tricks. For beginners, they also have lessons. 

7.  Cabanas

If you’re looking for the ultimate in luxury, than consider renting one of the cabanas. Cabanas not only feature respite from the sun, but also wait staff so the food and drinks come to you. Platters of brownies, water and fruit are complimentary, along with a locker for your stuff.  The cabanas also have sides you can close so you can take a nap without leaving the park.

8. Deep Six Adventure Lagoon

Do you know what’s more fun than an obstacle course? An inflatable obstacle course on the water.  Ropes, balance pads, a climbing wall, and even a wet and wild obstacle course provides loads of fun for family members of all ages. The water underneath is guaranteed to make a splash.

9. Dining

If all that riding and sliding has made you hungry, H2OBX features some of the best food and drinks around!  Enjoy burgers, salads, chicken tenders, barbeque and even fish tacos!!   The waterpark also features a full service bar with beer and slushy cold drinks guaranteed to cool you off.  If you’re just looking for a snack, there is plenty of popcorn, candy, and ice cream to feed the crowd. 

10. The Vacation Pass

New for 2019!   A discounted one-day ticket purchased through our office is $34.99 per person. However a weekly pass purchased through our office is only $39.99. It’s good all week and you can go as many times as you want.  Visit the beach in the morning and the waterpark in the afternoon, it’s totally up to you!

 

Great memories are waiting to be made on the Outer Banks and especially in the H2OBX Waterpark. With plenty of things to do, eat and see, your family will have a great time and make memories that will last a lifetime.  Consider adding H2OBX to your Outer Banks “To-Do” List on your next visit. 

Don’t forget to purchase your H2OBX Waterpark tickets through Atlantic Realty’s Special Link.  That is is the only way to get the special partnership discount and the 7 day Vacation Pass!! 

February 6, 2019 is #BookDirect Day

Today is #BookDirect day!!  You may have seen many social media posts or emails with the #BookDirect hastag, but what does it mean?  

When searching for a vacation rental home, there are many websites and apps out there that list properties.  They show the photos, the descriptions, and even pricing.  But, did you know that the best place to book your next vacation rental home is directly through the property manager?  Here’s a list of 5 reasons why you should always book directly through a vacation rental manager.  

1.  Avoid the Fees

The best pricing can always be found by booking directly through the property manager.  Listing sites such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Homeaway, and Expedia charge guests (and Owners) a fee for their services.  Those Owner fees are always passed on to the guest in increased rents and service fees.  You can save hundreds by cutting out the middle man and booking direct. 

2.  Discounts and Promotions

Booking directly through the property manager’s website or by calling their office ensures that not only do you avoid the service fees, but you are able to take advantage of any discounts and promotions that are not available on any other website. 

3.  Availability

Did you know that not all vacation rentals are listed on 3rd party sites?  By shopping only on these listing sites, you could be missing out on your dream vacation home! Booking direct through a professional property manager ensures you get the most current availability.  

4.  Local Expertise

When you book your vacation direct with a professional property manager, you get access to the locals who live and work here.  They can tell you about the best places to eat or the closest lifeguarded beach access to your vacation home.  Our staff has personally seen all of our properties and can tell you the details of each one.  Third party listings sites are usually not located in the same state as the vacation homes and can’t give you the tips that only a local can!

5.  Help when things go wrong

If you booked your vacation rental through Expedia or Homeaway and were to get locked out of your vacation rental while on vacation, who would you call?  If the house you were renting sprung a leak or was not cleaned up to your standards, how would you get that fixed?   Professional property managers are available 24/7 and are located nearby so they can handle issues quickly.

Get the most out of your vacation budget and have the best experience by booking directly through a professional property manager.  Ready to get started and plan your perfect Outer Banks getaway?  Contact our Vacation Planners today.  We’re ready to help you have the best vacation ever! 

Start your Vacation Search Now!!

Tips for Buying a Home on the Outer Banks

Many vacationers dream of one day owning a home on the Outer Banks.  Whether your goal is to vacation here in your very own place or have a retirement spot later in life, many OBX investors start out as visitors just like you.  Buying a home on the OBX is not as hard as you think!  Let our elite group of Outer Banks Real Estate Experts help you in finding your dream home.  Here are some key thoughts/conversations to help us get started:

  • Will this be a second/vacation home for your personal (and family) use
  • Does it need to be suitable for a retirement home â??down the roadâ??
  • Do you need rental income to assist in making this dream a reality (more affordable/doable to take the plunge)
  • Will this strictly be an investment property
  • Location and proximity to the ocean will play a major role if this property is to provide rental income
  • Size and number of bedrooms will be determined (in part) by your budget and the area of the OBX you wish to be located
  • Determine and communicate your â??must havesâ?? as well as your â??like to havesâ??

If you are unfamiliar with the various areas of the Outer Banks, your agent can tour you around to give you the â??lay of the landâ?? to assist you in honing in on the area that best fits your needs and desires. Determining the above (defining the search criteria) will enable your real estate agent to research the market in the areas that will more likely match your goals, however in order to begin this process one needs to know the price-range within which to â??shop.â??  This is best accomplished by getting you pre-qualified with a local lender; we have several top-notch recommendations to pass along; each can assist you with pre-qualifying you over the phone.  Of course you will follow up with the required documentation so that once you have selected your dream property, negotiated your Offer to Purchase to a Contract and chosen the lender with whom you wish to work, you will be well on your way to OBX property ownership! 

The initial property search may not uncover the home of your dreams, but your agent can set you up to receive auto email notifications when a property comes available that matches your search criteria.  You can also be notified when a property has a price change or status change within the initial search results. This search could go rather quickly or it may take multiple trips back to the OBX to work with your agent in seeing the current inventory that has come on the market since your initial appointment.  Your agent stands ready to preview any suitable property that comes along and will advise you to take a look at your earliest convenience.

Once you have that contract on your dream home, your agent will assist you with every step of the way to property settlement.  Once you are under contract, you will have a specified number of days to perform your â??due diligence.â??  During this time, likely 14-30 days as requested and agreed upon in your contract, you (along with your agentâ??s guidance, recommendations, and assistance) work through the loan process including appraisal, property investigation: inspections, review of documents, obtain insurance estimates including flood, survey and elevation certificate, investigate any zoning and government regulation (current and proposed), order Home Inspection (and other inspections as may be suggested by home inspection report, i.e. HVAC/roof/electrical), Termite Inspection, Septic Inspection. Should you wish to place your property into a vacation property management program, you should check into this during this time, to discover suggested rates, fees, and management percentage, etc.

Once you have this â??discoveryâ?? during the due diligence period, depending on the findings, you may ask to amend the contract by requesting that the Seller address and pay for certain items to be repaired.  This often times results in the Seller paying an agreed upon amount towards Buyers closing costs, allowing the Buyer to complete the repairs (or not) after settlement. However, upon this discovery (depending on the findings), you may elect to terminate the contract for any reason or no reason, up until 5 PM of the day your due diligence expires.

Letâ??s say that you are pleased with the inspections, the negotiations of any dollar amount towards closing costs, and you are heading towards settlement! During this period, approximately two to three weeks, your loan is being finalized by underwriting, all of the insurance figures and tax pro-rations are calculated, and you will be provided an estimate of closing costsâ?¦the amount of funds that you need to provide at closing.  On the day of closing, you and/or your agent will do a walk-through of the property just before â??signing your life away!â?? You will be given the keys or keyless entry code, and upon hearing â??we are recorded!,â?? you will be OBX property ownersâ?¦your dream has just come trueâ?¦the journey has just begun!

For more information on Outer Banks Real Estate or the homebuying process, please contact our team of Real Estate Professionals at 252-449-5385

How to Plan a Low Stress Outer Banks Wedding

With the Annual Outer Banks Wedding Weekend and Expo taking place in less than 2 weeks, we thought we’d share our Low Stress Outer Banks Wedding Planning Guide.

Letâ??s face it; weddings are stressful, especially destination weddings. You want your special day to be perfect, but you also donâ??t want to go crazy in the process. Fortunately, when you have your wedding at the Outer Banks, there are several things you can do to make your wedding as stress free as possible. 

1.  Choose A Location That Is Both Venue And Accommodations   

The biggest stressor of a destination wedding is finding someplace to hold the wedding, the reception, and someplace to put all your guests. However, the Outer Banks has special event homes that can double as both wedding and reception venue as well as vacation home for your guests. These event homes can sleep anywhere from 40-80 people and accommodate more than twice that number for the event. Need even more room?  Many of these homes are next to each other, so you are able to rent multiple homes to house everyone on your guest list.

Our special wedding homes, known as â??event housesâ??, are large oceanfront homes that have huge kitchen, dining areas, gathering spaces, entertainment areas, and of course, plenty of bedrooms. With one single reservation, three of your biggest headaches; finding a place for the wedding, reception, and accommodations, are all taken care of. 

What a relief! Now, letâ??s look what else you can do to lower the stress and raise the enjoyment of your special day.

2. Pre-Plan

One of the best things about the Outer Banks is that itâ??s far enough away, and beautiful enough, to be a destination wedding location, without the hassle of passports, plane fares and other travel issues. In fact, many people can drive to it in a day. You can even make it a fun week or weekend. Come down and experience the Outer Banks and even tour the event house you saw online so you can be assured that itâ??s the best place for your Special Event.

Going to be in town the weekend of January 19-20th? Check out the Outer Banks Wedding Weekend and Expo; all the vendors, homes and everything else you need for an Outer Banks wedding in one convenient place.

3.  Set The Date

Of course, youâ??ll want to book your event house as soon as possible. Some of the more popular ones, book up as far as two whole years in advance. Once you reserve your venture, send out â??Save the Dateâ?? cards so your guests can make their plans. The earlier you secure the home and send out the cards, the more people will be able to come, and more friends and family youâ??ll get to see on the actual day.

4. Choose The Vendors

Now, choosing the vendors is one of the hardest parts of setting up a wedding, especially when you donâ??t have firsthand knowledge of most of them. Fortunately, Event homes keep a list of preferred vendors; everything from caterers to cakes, to music, beauty, flowers, chair rentals and more. These preferred vendors are used to working with these homes to ensure everything goes smoothly for you big day. If you want additional choices, you can also check out the Outer Banks Wedding Association for their list of local vendors.  Have questions? Atlantic Realty’s concierge is a wealth of knowledge of not only the area, but the local business and vendors available to make your event one of a kind!! 

5.  Remember The Marriage License  

Gone are the days when it used to be complicated to get a marriage license out of state. Today, you can get one at any County at the Register of Deeds Office. There is no waiting period, no physical examinations, and same sex marriages are valid too.

6.  Choose your Officiant

You can have a religious wedding or a non-religious wedding, thatâ??s entirely up to you. In North Carolina, you only have to be an ordained officiant. Or you can hire a magistrate to perform your ceremony. You can get one of those by contacting Dare or Currituck County.

7.  Know The Rules About Beach Weddings

A lot of weddings are held on the beach. After all, itâ??s right outside your door at an event home. And just by the search volume on Pinterest, beach weddings are the newest trend. The rules of a beach wedding are simple,and you don’t even need a license in most cases. If your wedding is extra-large, then you might need a â??mass gatheringâ?? license, but there is no special permit needed for a wedding. You can set up music as long as you don’t violate noise ordinances, and tents and chairs as long as you donâ??t block any public beach entrances. Of course, that last part is easy since most event homes have their own direct and private accesses to the beach.

 

Your wedding day doesnâ??t have to be stressful. The more planning you do, the less stressful it will be. Reserving your home early and taking the local recommendations for vendors eliminates most of the stress right there. Then, when you arrive, everything will be perfect. You can look back at your wedding and be reminded what a perfect day that was.

 

View all of our event homes here:

https://www.atlanticrealty-nc.com/vacation-rentals/luxury-homes

7 Reasons a Vacation Rental is Better Than a Hotel

It’s been said before; a house isn’t a hotel. But what does that actually mean? In this article, we’ll take you through the true meaning of that expression so you can see that houses truly are a better choice for your Outer Banks vacation. 

1.  Homes Are Made For Living   

The biggest difference between a house and a hotel is that hotels are made for sleeping, not living. So while it’s true a hotel will give you a cozy place to sleep, there’s no room for family game night, no place to set out a puzzle. No way to watch a movie on a large screen while the family’s gathered around, no way to cook a family feast. And of course in a hotel, all the amenities, such as the pool and the hot tub, are full of strangers.

However, none of that is true with a house. Many vacation homes feature private pools, hot tubs and sun and shade decks galore.  The only people you have to share with are your loved ones. And there is plenty of room for family meals, movies, puzzles, games relaxation and so much more. Houses aren’t just made for sleeping, but rather for relaxing and living.  

2.  Location

Hotels are the Outer Banks are limited in both type and location. If you were staying in a hotel, you’d be confined to a small, commercial part of the Outer Banks, rather than being able to discover the quaint towns and villages that make the OBX so special. Homes are located all over the Outer Banks, from South Nags Head to Corolla. Therefore, all you have to do is find your favorite town, and choose a house there to experience the true personality or “vibe” of the area. 

3.  Homes Take Pets

True, there are some hotels that take pets, but they are few and far between. Fortunately, Atlantic Realty has many homes that will take your entire family, including the 4 legged kind.  They’ll love soaking up the sun on the decks and taking in the sights.  And, with plenty of room to play inside and out, it’s sure to be a good time!

4. You Have Your Own Kitchen 

The biggest difference between a hotel and a house is the kitchen. All homes have one, but few hotels do. Kitchens are great for breakfast, snacks, and family dinners. They are also the best for heating up last night’s leftovers from your favorite restaurant.

When you have a kitchen available, you’ll not only save time but also money with so many meal options. 

5. Homes Are Less Expensive

At first glance, it looks like homes are more expensive than hotels. But when you actually crunch the numbers, youâ??ll discover nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, the average home costs about $3,000 for a week, but letâ??s look at that number closer.

Obviously, youâ??re getting more square feet with a house than a hotel. Youâ??re even getting a full kitchen in every home. Many homes also have access to washer/dryers. Any of these things can save you a substantial amount of money. And we havenâ??t even talked about the per person rate yet.

A hotel expects double occupancy and charges you accordingly. If you bring three of more people in the same room, not only will you be crowded, but you will usually have to pay an extra fee for every extra person. Thatâ??s not how it works with a house. Houses are set up to sleep a certain number of people; anywhere from 6-80. So when you divide the number of people in your family by the final price, it actually comes out less expensive per person per night than a hotel.  Once you add in the other amenities, you can see how you come out ahead with a vacation home over a hotel every time.

 

6.  More Privacy

We touched on this briefly in the last point, but now itâ??s time to investigate it deeper. Hotels are basically bedrooms possibly with a small sitting area. However, houses are so much more. A â??houseâ?? can be anything from a 2 bedroom condo to a 28 room mansion. They have kitchens, living rooms, dining areas and decks. Some even have “extras” like additional dens, game rooms, screened in porches, and a lot more. This guarantees your family will have plenty of room to spread out and be themselves. After all, togetherness is great, but having your own space to relax is even better and makes for a more peaceful vacation.

There are many more reasons a house is not a hotel, and these are just a few. But thereâ??s no doubt about it, a house provides a better bang for your buck than any hotel ever could. Do you know what else isn’t like a hotel? How fast homes fill up. Unlike a large hotel chain, each home is unique, and once itâ??s booked for your week, another one won’t just â??pop upâ??. Thatâ??s why itâ??s best to book your home early to guarantee availability and the best vacation ever.

 

Search for Available Vacation Rental Homes Now! 

 

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Outer Banks

Thanksgiving is almost here. It’s turkey day, or rather oyster day, as we like to think of it here at the Outer Banks.  And if you’re staying in a large home with all your family, it can be overwhelming to have to cook Thanksgiving dinner in an unfamiliar kitchen.

Thankfully, since we’re talking about Thanksgiving, there are plenty of places on the Outer Banks where you can have Thanksgiving Dinner.  This article features the highlights. To see the offerings in more detail, visit the individual websites.

Thanksgiving Buffets

Thanksgiving is simultaneous with ‘all you can eat’. That’s why so many restaurants offer buffets with hams, turkeys, and plenty of oysters. Check out these buffets.

Lone Cedar Café

Hungry? This restaurant opens as early as 10:30 with their full buffet, including shrimp and grits, oven roasted turkey, pan blackened local catch, fried jumbo green tailed shrimp and more. It’s a Thanksgiving like no other.

Mulligans

Looking for oyster stuffing? Mulligan’s has that. They also have a lot of other great things on their buffet too such as Oysters Rockefeller, crab cakes, and oh yes, turkey too. It’s all you can eat with an assortment you’ll love.

Pamlico Jacks

It’s time for Pamlico Jacks’ annual Thanksgiving and oyster feast. This buffet opens at 10am so you can even have Thanksgiving dinner for breakfast, giving you the rest of the day to play.

Argyles

This restaurant features over 25 things on their menu, including prime rib, Shrimp Daniel and many more favorites.

Red Sky

Turkey, prime rib, topped oysters, and bacon and red blissed potato soup are just a few of the tempting treats that await you at Red Sky’s buffet. They fill up fast, so reserve early.

Captain George’s

Already famous for its seafood buffet, on Thanksgiving, this restaurant goes all out. It features a traditional Thanksgiving buffet and all the trimmings along with their famed crab legs, shrimp and more.

 

Special Menus

 

If you’re looking to avoid all the hassle that comes with a buffet, than these restaurants might be just the thing to please your family rather than a buffet, they offer a special menu, crafted with care. 

Lifesaving Station

This classic Outer Banks restaurant in Duck is serving a four course plated meal in an upscale atmosphere. Choices include turkey, blue crab baked brie, scallops and more. 

Ocean Boulevard

This restaurant is offering a four course plated meal with lots of seafood and some Outer Banks favorites such as hunters stew (hearty stew with duck) sea scallops, oyster chowder, panko crusted turkey and even chocolate pot de crem with toasted marshmallow.  And that’s just the beginning.

Take Out

If you’d rather have Thanksgiving at the house you rented, there are also plenty of places that do Thanksgiving take out.

Tommy’s Natural Foods Market 

An upscale grocery in Duck, Tommy’s offers a variety of either fully cooked or ready to cook items. This way you can have dinner at that beautiful home you rented.

Currituck BBQ

More than just barbeque, you can also get fried and smoked turkeys and hams to go. Orders must be made in advance, so order early.

Grocery Stores

Many of the Outer Banks grocery stores offer premade or ready to make meals that you can order in advance. Some popular stores include the Publix, the Food Lion, The Harris Teeters, and the Fresh Market.

Coastal Provisions

Even though this restaurant is closed the day of Thanksgiving so the employees can be with their families, you can pick the food the day before Thanksgiving.  They offer a premade holiday feast for 6 for only $99. It includes oven ready turkey with stuffing, cranberry orange relish, rolls, green been casserole and more.  Itâ??s a perfect way to have a no fuss no muss Thanksgiving.

 

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be stressful. When you rent a home at the Outer Banks you don’t have to worry about where to put everyone, because the home is plenty big. And by utilizing some of these options, you don’t even have to stress about cooking. All you have to do is have a Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Wright Brothers Museum Re-Opens

Photos courtesy of Outer Banks Forever

After almost 18 months, the famed Wright Memorial Museum is once again open to the public. The Wright Memorial not only commemorates the amazing achievement of the Wright Brothers, but it commemorates something else as well; The Wright Memorial Museum was the first museum erected on park service property.

Because of this historic significance, the renovations took much longer than simply replacing it with a more modern building. 

So whatâ??s changed?  So much.

Letâ??s take a look.  Wright Brothers Museum

Even though the building was considered a historic landmark sometime in the 1990â??s, it had lost much of itâ??s glamour. However, now, the building has been restored to its former glory with orange trim, a gleaming exterior and huge windows offering a panoramic view of the park from nearly everywhere.

But the change wasnâ??t purely cosmetic. For the longest time, the interior of the museum was caught in a time warp; looking like a static museum from the 1960â??s, rather than the technologically advanced museums of today. Fortunately, that is no longer true. The exhibits have gone high tech (some of them) interactive, and fun for people of all ages.

Color has been used purposefully; a timeline of the Wrights activities and discoveries feature either a blue or maroon color scheme. The maroon is for tasks they did in Ohio, where they were born, while blue represents the discoveries they made here on the Outer Banks. This makes it easy to see at a glance the influence of both places in the leaves of these men and in the discovery of flight.

The original wind tunnel and tools have been moved from the outside replica shed to inside, where they can be cared for in a climate controlled environment.

The portrait gallery has gone high tech, with the images revolving on a single screen. It also features the newest inductee of the Pioneers of flight as well some artifact from humankindâ??s greatest achievement, going to the moon. (donated by Neil Armstrong.)

Interactive exhibits include: 

  • Bike handlebars that control a miniature â??Wright Gliderâ?? behind glass
  • â??Doorsâ?? you can open and close to find answers to questions
  • replica tools you can touch
  • A 3D map of the area
  • And several more…

The flight room, the room that houses the plane, has also undergone some massive changes. The portraits have been replaced with scale models of all the incarnations of the Wright brothers attempts to fly.  It also features the original bicycle hub the brotherâ??s used on their â??flying machineâ?? as well as some other artifacts. A ten minute video featuring the journey to flying to getting to the moon is also featured. Donâ??t worry though, the plane is still there and ready for pictures.

Of course everyone’s favorite is the â??dream boardâ??. Itâ??s a clear write on dry erase board with pictures of the Wright Brothers Impossible Dream in the background. Then you get to write your own â??impossible dreamâ?? on the board. Itâ??s fun for children and adults alike as it challenges you to â??think big.â??

Naturally, all the favorite outdoor attractions are still there, the 1903 statues (perfect for selfies), the boulders and the granite monument itself.

Be one of the first to see the new Wright Memorial; where imagination took flight.

Photos courtesy of Outer Banks Forever

Halloween on the Outer Banks

Fall is one of the most popular times of year to visit the Outer Banks. The weather is still nice, with an occasionally 84 degree day, the fishing is great, the shops and restaurants don’t have the summer crowds, and the vacation rental homes are at their “Off Season” rates!   And of course, thereâ??s Halloween, everyoneâ??s favorite October Holiday. If you happen to be on the Outer Banks for Halloween, you donâ??t have to miss your favorite Holiday. Here are some great Halloween events and activities to take part in during your visit.

 

Wanchese Woods Haunted Trail — Fridays and Saturdays in Oct

Get ready to scream…. with delight. Famous for being the largest haunted trail in the state, the Wanchese Woods turns everything you know about haunted trails on its head. Set the beautiful (and somewhat creepy) location of a real woods, this trail is old school with chainsaws, clowns and creatures from local legends.

*Note; there is both a regular version and an extreme version of this attraction. Choose accordingly.   To purchase tickets, please visit wanchesewoods.com. 

 

Pumpkin Patch Saturdays– All Oct  Image courtesy of Island Farm

Just because youâ??re not at home, doesnâ??t mean you canâ??t have a pumpkin. But why settle from one from the store when getting one can make a memory? Saturdays in October, the Island Farm will have you take an ox cart to their very own â??pumpkin patchâ??, where you and your family can pick your own pumpkin to take home. Not only can you go home with a pumpkin, youâ??ll get to go back in time too with animals, reconstructed building and living history. Itâ??s most fun you can have on a farm.

 

Haunts For Hunger — Oct 19-21 & 23-25

Fight hunger and go on a great ghost tour at the same time! The first annual Haunts For Hunger by Outer Banks Tastes and Tales, takes you through Downtown Manteo and regales you with true scary stories of the area. They have both a normal scary tour, and an earlier â??just scary enoughâ?? tour for little ones. All proceeds go the local Food Pantry. And if you have any leftover nonperishables, you can bring those along too. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

 

Halloween Arts and Crafts Expo — Oct 24

Held at the Secret Island restaurant, this arts and crafts festival is the perfect way to get yourself into the Halloween â??spiritâ??. It features dozens of local vendors selling handcrafted items. Admission is free, which is great because with so much to choose from, youâ??ll be hard pressed to decide what youâ??re taking home.

 

14th Annual Trick Or Treat Under The Sea — Oct 24 and 25 

Due to its immense popularity, Trick or Treat Under the Sea at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island will be held not one night, but two! Tickets must be purchased in advance and cannot be bought at the door. There are games, magic, contests, special programs, live animal encounters, places for the kids to â??trick or treatâ?? and more. Itâ??s a safe environment where kids can enjoy the fun of Halloween, even if they arenâ??t local.

 

Halloween International Film Festival — Oct 25 – 27

The third annual Outer Banks Entertainment Halloween International Film Festival spanning 3 days is a great event for older teens to adults who canâ??t get enough horror. Held in the R/C theaterâ??s decaplex, it features meet and greets with some of the filmmakers, question and answer sessions, photo ops and of course, itâ??s a chance to meet like-minded Halloween lovers.

October 26th features an After Party at the Secret Island restaurant.  *note: this event is not suitable for small children.

 

Trick or Treat Night — Oct 27

Thereâ??s no need to miss Halloween just because you aren’t home. First Flight Elementary sponsors a night thatâ??s open to the public. It includes food, photo booths, crafts, a cakewalk, and so much more. Youâ??re kids and you will have a blast. Plus, you get the added bonus of helping out the local school (since this is their fundraising event of the year.) So, come on down and have a great time!

 

Halloween Costume Parade — Oct 28

Originally founded by Mike Kelly, the costume parade is now in its 5th year. This is a free parade for everyone, even the family dog. Thousands of dollars in cash and prizes are given out for best costumes in each category, and there are certainly a lot of categories. The parade begins at 3pm at Aviation Park.

Prior to the parade there is Trick Or Treat party, suitable for all ages. A good time will be had by all.

 

Roanoke Island Maritime Museum Haunted House — Oct 31

This is a great haunted house attraction for kids and adults. The antique boats and scary sea stories make a perfect backdrop for an evening of Halloween fun.

After the haunted house, thereâ??s a trick or treat expedition to Downtown Manteo, where kids can knock on the doors of the historic home with their costumes, buckets and pillowcases. If you have a child upset about missing Halloween while on vacation, this is the must do.

 

Many families flock to the Banks for October. But just because youâ??re far from home doesnâ??t mean you canâ??t have some Halloween fun. There are plenty of events so that your kids, and all Halloween lovers will have a frightfully good time.  Give us a call today to get your Outer Banks accommodations for Halloween all set! 

 

Things to Do with a Large Group

The Outer Banks is made for families! It’s a great place for family reunions, birthday and anniversary celebrations, weddings, and all kinds of events where you can just get together with your large group. Of course, if your family is exceptionally large, say 45 people or more, then it can be difficult finding something you can all do together aside from meeting at the beach. This article will show 10 different things you can do with your exceptionally large group.

Hang Around The House 

Of course, the most important thing for your large gathering is to make sure you have a house that fits all of you, or at least as many as possible. Our largest home, the Pine Island Lodge, sleeps 80. The two homes next to it, Crew Quarters and Knot Home, can sleep 40 each. So there’s a home large enough to keep your entire group under one roof.   Inside there are extra-large porches, private gyms, pools, outdoor dining areas, games rooms, movie rooms and more. So even if you never leave the house, you still have plenty to do.  If that doesn’t sound like it will work for your crew, we also have several individual homes near each other or even condos in the same complex so your family and friends can be together without having to be together all the time! 

Rent Out The Crystal Dawn

The Crystal Dawn, is a head boat that sits over 97 people comfortably. That makes it the perfect boat for your family to rent for a fun filled day of sightseeing, fishing, exploring, partying, or whatever else you want to do at ‘sea’. Don’t worry, you’re in the Sound, so not really “at sea” at all. But it’s an experience you’ll never forget.

Arrange For A Private Tastes and Tales Tour

Outer Banks Tastes and Tales feature storytelling tours or taste tours (can be liquor or food related) in Downtown Manteo. You’ll hear local legends and tales of pirates. Alternately, you can sample the Outer Banks wines, craft brews, or dining experiences. If you’d rather have an experience at the house, that’s fine too. A ‘pirate’ will come to your house to regal you with campfire tales of all sorts.

Host Your Own Slush Or Froyo Party 

There’s nothing like an ice cold treat on a hot day. But did you know you can bring the frozen treat party directly to your house? It’s true. Both Outer Bank Frozen Yogurt and OBX Sunset Slush do private parties. They take care of everything with a variety of flavors for all tastes,  so the only question you have to decide is slush or froyo?

Sanctuary Vineyards Wine Tasting 

This event is for the over 21 crowd. Sanctuary Vineyards has won awards for their fabulous scuppernong grape wine. And the best part is, they do tastings. You can contact them to arrange a private tasting where you’ll sample Chardonnay, Red blends, dessert wines, Muscadine, Rosé, and more. You can even take a tour of the vineyards and winery. It’s a not to be missed event.

The Lost Colony 

Now in its 81st year, the Lost Colony is a spectacular display of history, storytelling and pageantry. It has plenty of seats for all, and you can arrange for a private backstage tour before the show. Contact them to find out more and see how all the magic works.

Photo Booth

Sure, you could have a photographer come to your house or meet you on the beach. But if you’re looking for a great time as well as some pictures, then rent a Photo Booth. It’s an old fashioned photo booth where people crowd in and get four pictures on a strip. Props are provided and your whole family will have a blast going and out of the booth with different people and props. Nothing says memories like photos. They are the best souvenirs ever.

Go On A Horse Tour

The wild horses of the Outer Banks have been here for over 500 years. Still, they can be rather elusive unless you know where to find them, and the professionals at Back Country Outfitters do.  Call them to arrange one for large group and see these majestic beauties in their natural environment. You’ll also be treated to the ‘back roads’ of the Outer Banks that few people get to see. It’s what memories are made of.

Festival Park

Designed for large groups, Festival Park is a great way to get immersive in history. Best of all, they do private tours. This gives you the option of just ‘dropping in’ or arranging something special in advance. From the 16th century life sized replica ship to the Native American Village, to the colonial settlement, to the costumed interpreters, it’s the best way to get ‘lost’ in history. 

Roanoke Island Aquarium

The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island serves hundreds of visitors a day, so it’s designed for large groups. But the fun doesn’t have to stop there. If you’re looking for a more immersive aquarium experience, ask about their private experience packages. The aquarium offers everything from fish printing and behind the scenes tours to crabbing, nature walks, animal encounters and ‘sleeping with the sharks,’ a slumber party in front of the shark tank where your group gets the entire aquarium to yourselves for the entire night.

Rent Stella, The Outer Banks Trolley 

Stella the Trolley is best way to see the Outer Banks in style. She’s beautiful with hand carved wooden seats, a pure white exterior, and windows galore. Stella is  wonderful for unique pictures, and whether she’s taking to you your wedding, to dinner, or on a sightseeing tour, she’s a sight to behold that will truly turn heads. Your family will feel like royalty when cruising the Outer Banks in your own trolley car.

Have A Big Screen At Home Movie Night

True, you could go to the traditional theater, but where’s the fun in that? Did you know you can rent inflatable outdoor movie screens that you can use at home?  Set up lawn chairs and watch them on the lawn or the beach. Buy or rent inner tubes and have your own ‘in the water’ movie night creature feature where you float around in your home’s private pool and watch a ‘creature in the water’ movie. Pop lots of popcorn, have drinks, snacks, and ice cream, and make family memories that will last decades.

 

The fun you can have with your group on vacation is endless and the memories you create will get talked about for years!  Start planning your group’s Outer Banks vacation today by giving one of our helpful vacation planners a call at 800-334-8401.  Whether you have a group of 8 or 80, we have something to fit your size, style and vacation budget!