Fishing on the Outer Banks — Part 2

In the second installment of our article on fishing the Outer Banks, were going to take a closer look at charter fishing. To be considered ‘a charter’ it means the boat comes with a captain. Boats you can rent and drive yourself is not included in this installment, but you can learn more in our previous blog article. 

Charters generally require a group of people and the number depends on the size of the boat.  There is usually a flat cost for the day so whether you have 2 or 10 people in your fishing party, the amounts per person will vary.  Charters include a blanket fishing license for all on board, so there’s no need to bring your own. The Captain/mate will also let you know if your fish is within legal limits to keep, so there are no worries about breaking the rules there.

When on a fishing charter, surrounded by reflective water, the sun is intense!  Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen as well as sun protective clothing such as hats, sunglasses, and even a light jacket or long sleeve shirt. Some charters provide the option of purchasing drinks and snacks from them, while others let you bring your own. Ask about which one your charter does before boarding. Be sure to remember if you pack your own that boats have a ‘no glass bottle’ policy. Aluminum bottles, cans, and plastic bottles are fine.

Keep in mind that the approximate prices given below only inlclude the price of the charter. It’s customary to tip the Captain/mate the same as you would a restaurant server for their service.   


Gulf Stream Charters

This 8 hour charter is what most people think of when they thing ‘charter’. It’s a deep sea fishing expedition that goes after either trophy fish like Marlin, or eating fish like Tuna. It goes all the way out to the Gulf Stream where the largest fish hang out. It’s important to note that while you can bring home eating fish (as long as you stay in a certain limits) trophy fish are strictly catch and release.  

This is a great charter for the experienced fisher, and makes memories for a lifetime. However, young children and the elderly donâ??t find it nearly as fun because 8 hours on a moving boat is exhausting.

Best For:  Experienced fishers 

Average Price: $1500

Holds: 6 people

What You’ll Catch:  marlin, tuna, mackerel, dolphin, cobia

Be sure to tell your captain what you’re hoping to catch before you go. This helps them plan where they take you, as well as the type of bait and poles used.


Half Day Ocean Charters

Half day charters are much shorter in duration than their full day counterparts. They only run about 4 hours. Because of this, they donâ??t go out as far, so that means no marlin.  However there are still plenty of other fish you can catch, from giant flounder to trout and more.  This is a perfect charter for a slightly less experienced angler who isn’t sure they want to spend all day on a boat. It’s also a great charter for families. Since you don’t go out as far, the waves are much smaller and you arrive at your destination faster so you can start fishing sooner.

Best For:  Families with older children; semi experienced fishers. Stripers, drum,

Average Price: $500

Holds: 6

What You’ll Catch: Flounder, speckled trout, bluefish, cobia


Makeup Ocean Charters

If you feel that the cost of a charter is prohibitive for only one or two people, then consider a makeup charter. It’s a type ocean charter where one or two people combine with other singles to go out on a charter together and split the cost. Be sure you call the marina ahead of time to let them know you’re interested in one. Then, when they have enough people interested for the same week, they’ll give you a call. Make up charters, like regular charters, can either be full or half days.


Inshore Charters

If you have a younger family, are traveling with your parents, are prone to seasickness or really just want a day on the water, then an inshore charter is probably a better fit for your group. Inshore charters go on the much gentler waters of the Sound. The waves are small, so there is less chance of seasickness or of a child getting scared because they lost sight of land. (Inshore charters very rarely lose sight of land, and if you talk to the captain first, they can make sure land is always in sight.) 

An inshore charter can be a full or a half day, the same as their ocean counterparts. Unlike the ocean, may different types of boats can go in the sound, including ocean boats. The numbers of people this boat can take vary between 4-6 people.

Best For: Families with younger/older members.

Average Price: $450-$950

Holds: 4-6 depending

What You’ll Catch: smaller flounder, trout, spot, croaker


Pontoon Boat Charter 

A Pontoon Boat Charter, such as the kind you get from our Explore the Shore Partner, is the type of charter you get when spending a day on the water with the family is more important than fishing. A Pontoon boat gives you the smoothest ride on the water with very little chance of seasickness. Additionally, Pontoon boats are able to go into the shallower waters that boat with sharp keels cannot.

A Pontoon boat charters can accommodate Sound fishing, (you’ll catch smaller fish) and crabbing. Of course, if you just want to spend the day exploring the surrounding islands, looking for dolphin and playing in the water instead of fishing, that’s fine too. 

Best For:  The entire family, including small children and the elderly

Average Price: $485-$950

Holds: Up to 12 

What You’ll Catch: small flounder, croaker, spot, trout, large crabs



A headboat is a unique experience. It’s a large boat that holds dozens of families. You all go out together for a half day and have fun fishing.  This is perfect for the beginning fisher or the kids.  You can bring your own drinks or concessions are available on the boat.   Rods, reels, bait, fish bags and licenses are included. It’s the best way to explore the idea of a charter before you invest in the big one.  A normal headboat charter runs a half day.  And if you’re coming with an extra big family, it would be easy enough to rent the entire boat for your party.

Best For: Families with young children or the elderly

Average Price: $48 per person.

Holds: 97

What You’ll Catch: spot, croaker, trout, flounder


No matter how you choose to fish, the Outer Banks is the place to do it. There are enough different types of charters out there to make everyone happy from the most experienced angler to the first timer. And no matter which charter you choose, you’re going keep those memories a lot longer than the fish it provides.

Fishing on the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks has been a favorite vacation spot since the 1950’s and one of the things that made it so famous is the fishing. From surf fishing to charters, our fishing experience is second to none!  Part of the reason that our fishing is so great is that we are surrounded by water.  Another reason is that the Gulf Stream and Labrador currents run very close to the Outer Banks, providing warm water and a wide variety of large game fish. 

Below is part one of our 2-part article on Outer Banks Fishing with a focus on fishing from the land.  Our next article will cover Charter Boat Fishing on the Outer Banks. 

Please Note:  Fishing in North Carolina from the land requires a license. 

Surf Fishing

Surf fishing is the most common fishing on the Outer Banks. It’s also the best way to introduce children to fishing. You simply get a pole, some bait, a fishing license, and cast into the water from shore.  You can catch some nice sized fish this way, some even large enough to eat.  Of course, what you’ll catch depends largely on the season, and whatever’s passing by. It’s all a matter of luck when you’re shore fishing.

The best idea for beginners is to stop someplace like Bob’s Bait and Tackle to pick up bait, tackle, advice, and a list of size limits for fish.

Best For: Family Fishing

Average Price: The cost of a license for each fishing family member

What You’ll Catch: drum, mackerel, spot, croaker, flounder, bluefish, trout

Pier Fishing   

There’s a little less luck involved in pier fishing and more skill. This is because fish love hanging around piers to eat the stuff that grows along the pilings. Larger fish come to eat the smaller fish that like to eat the growth on the pier. Also, because a pier can get you out at least a hundred feet further than the shore, you’ll be able to catch bigger fish that don’t come close to shore.

There are many piers on the Outer Banks. However, the Outer Banks Pier in South Nags Head is our Fun N Sun partner. This means one member of your crew can enjoy a whole day fishing on the pier for free. And you can even do it again tomorrow.  Piers do not require licenses as they have a blanket license to cover everyone. They also sell bait and rent tackle so you don’t have to buy your own.

Best For: people who have fished before (But kids are also welcome)

Average Price: Circa $12 per person, (or one person free on the Outer Banks Pier with Fun N Sun Pass)

What You’ll Catch: Much larger drum, mackerel, spot, croaker, flounder, bluefish, trout

Renting Your Own Boat

Renting your own boat is different from chartering one, because area charters feature Captains, while boat rental companies will simply rent you the boat.  Rental boats are geared mainly for the calm, shallow waters of the Sound.  It’s relatively difficult for people unfamiliar with the area to take a boat out in the ocean.   The changing sandbars and unpredictable currents are not for the casual boater.  

On the other hand, the Sound has small waves and is easy for even novices to maneuver.  Most often, there are two types of boats to rent; an outboard motor type, (think dingy with a motor) and a pontoon boat.

Pontoon boats are best for shallow waters, exploration of the surrounding islands and for those who care more about the smoothness of the ride than the speed of the boat.   They are also better for large families. An outboard motor type boat can go faster and go out further in less time than a pontoon boat. It also holds fewer people. It’s the equivalent of the type of high powered car when you can feel the road under you, only with this boat, you can feel the waves under you. Depending on how much you love waves, that may or may not be your type of boat.

In either case, you’ll catch the same kind of fish you’ll catch on shore, only smaller ones. Many fish use the gentle sound as a nursery for their babies. It’s rare to catch a truly large fishing the sound, but it does happen. You’ll want to make sure you bring your license and a fish size guide. 

Places such as The Outer Banks Fishing Pier also do boat rentals.   Check out their website for details. 

Best For: families who want to fish and explore the area

Average Price: $99-$499 depending on size and length of time (bring your own license)

What You’ll Catch: smaller drum, mackerel, spot, croaker, flounder, bluefish, trout, pigfish, pinfish



What’s New on the OBX

Summer is almost here!   And, with a new season comes “New Things to See and Do on the Outer Banks”.  Check out the fun new things we’ve found . . . . . .


Mulligans Dog Menu

Mulligan is not a new restaurant. In fact, itâ??s been in business for over 20 years.  Itâ??s famous for its burgers, Orange Crushes, and now it will be famous for something else; itâ??s dog menu. Thatâ??s right. Mulligans offers tons of outdoor seating options, from the downstairs porch to the enclosed deck upstairs with an ocean view. And now, they offer a â??dog menuâ?? so you can go out to eat without leaving man’s best friend behind. 

The menu is relatively small, but features everything a dog wants to eat; chicken, beef, and brown rice. Water is complementary, and the meal even comes with an adorable Frisbee that you take home and play with afterward.   Atlantic Realty is pleased to welcome Mulligan’s to our Fun N Sun pass program, where guests who stay with us get to try out the dog menu out for FREE.


Jumpmasters  Jumpmasters Outer Banks

The Outer Banks is pleased to welcome its first indoor trampoline park.  Kids of all ages will be excited about this one!  As part of the Fun N Sun Pass Program, guest of Atlantic Realty homes get to experience one free hour of jumping per day. Of course, if you absolutely love it and want to stay longer, day passes are available for purchase through the park itself.

Jumpmasters features enough to do for kids of all ages, and has separate â??jump timesâ?? for toddlers so they donâ??t have to jump with the big kids. An on premise food truck will be happy to provide lunch, or you can go to one of the many local favorites in Manteo.


H2OBX Waterpark

True, H2OBX techincally opened last year, but since it opened midseason and many visitors missed the chance to check it out, we’re still considering it ‘new.’ H2OBX is the largest waterpark to open anywhere near the OBX, ever.  The park offers rides and slides for ‘kids’ of all ages, from the littlest ones in the toddler area, to the tweens, intermediate, and then there’s the BIG slides.  Don’t forget to take a spin on the Endless Wave FlowRider.  It’s just like the ocean — only better! 

Of course, for the more laid back adults there is always the 1000 foot lazy river, the wave pool, and availability of some adult slushies.  Atlantic Realty is a partner with H2OBX Waterpark and offers the biggest ticket anywhere.  Get your tickets in advance, avoid the lines, and head right to the gate!


Paparazzi- Under 21 Dance Club & Music School 

If your teen is looking for something new and fun to do, then check out the newest addition to the Outer Banks, Paparazzi!  This Under Dance 21 Club features nightly entertainment for teens. Since no one over 20 is allowed, and there is a strict dress and security code, you can be assured of safe and wholesome fun.

During the day, the dance club turns into The School of Music and Arts, which offers lessons in music, modeling, acting, on-air hosting, video recording, and more.  It’s so much fun; the kids won’t even realize they’re learning while on vacation.



Will You Escape The OBX?

While the Escape Room itself isn’t new, it has some new rooms you’ve never seen before, including the Enchanted Garden and the Spooky Fun Mansion. The Enchanted Garden is the perfect adventure for the fairy loving child or adult in your life.  The Spooky Mansion is reminiscent of the Scooby Doo type spooky, so not too scary for young ones.

The Mad Scientist Lab and Under The Sea is coming soon.  Best of all, one member of your group gets to escape for Free with the Fun N Sun Pass.


The Farmers Market at Dowdy’s Park

If youâ??re here on the second Thursday of the month, youâ??re in for a treat. Dowdyâ??s Park will have a Farmers Market from 9am-2pm throughout the Summer. It will feature local produce from Currituck farms, as well as food, vendors, art and more.

Everything will be produced locally in either Dare or Currituck Counties. So if youâ??d like to be immersed the truly local culture, this is an event not to be missed.


The Murder Mystery Dinner Theater 

This attraction is now in its 5th Season, and the Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre has a new story, a new location, and new food!   This is the only murder mystery dinner theatre on the Outer Banks, and it features wholesome family fun for all ages.

Thereâ??s nothing scary about this show, in fact, itâ??s hilarious, so even the little ones can enjoy it. Itâ??s one of our Explore the Shore partners, so be sure to ask about the discount for Atlantic Realty guests. And, be sure to get your tickets early, because guests are “dying” to get in.



One of the best things about the Outer Banks is that itâ??s always changing. So whether youâ??ve been visiting forever, or itâ??s your first time here thereâ??s enough to do and see to make everyone in your group happy.  And, we have the perfect vacation homes to come back home to. Check them out here.

National Parks on the Outer Banks

It’s been said that the National Parks are the United States’ greatest treasure. That’s certainly true of the Outer Banks which is rich in history and nature. So, in honor of National Parks week this week, let’s explore the wonderful parks that are a part of the Outer Banks.

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is by far the largest park. It encompasses the three lighthouses of Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, and Ocracoke. It also includes the expansive and beautiful Pea Island, as well as the  beaches of Hatteras Island themselves. Because of the expansiveness of this one particular park, we’ll go over each part in a little more detail.

Bodie Island

The Bodie Island Lighthouse is believed to get its name from the colorful history of shipwrecked bodies being washed ashore after storms. Today however, Bodie Island is peaceful place with a nature trail, lush grounds and a stunning lighthouse. Sometimes the lighthouse is open for climbing, but most often not. It’s a stunning place to visit and take pictures, and sometimes even beachcomb.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse   

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the largest all brick lighthouse in the world. It’s frequently open for climbing and the view from the stop is stunning. Thousands of people from all over the United States and the world come to visit this particular lighthouse. In addition to being the largest, it’s also the most recognizable one in the world.


The beaches and lighthouse of Ocracoke are also part of the Cape Hatteras Seashore. Ocracoke has the distinction of being both the smallest lighthouse in the country, and also the second oldest operating one. The Ocracoke beaches themselves are perfect with white sand and wide beaches. The ferry makes for a nice ride. It’s a great place for a day trip. 

Pea Island

Pea Island is a birdwatcher’s paradise; home to tens of thousands of birds in hundreds of species. The Park Service offers bird watching tours, but you donâ??t need a tour to see them. All you have to do is head out to Pea Island with your binoculars, cameras and bird watching book.

The Beaches of Hatteras Island

The Beaches of Hatteras Island are pure and unspoiled with frequent sightings of rare birds, turtles and more. It’s also a great spot to fish. Licenses are required, but you can catch large fish right from shore. 

Fort Raleigh

Fort Raleigh, which also encompasses the site of the Lost Colony play, preserves the cultural heritages of the Native Americans, European Americans, and African Americans who have lived on Roanoke Island. Through a small museum, historical sites, movies, and Ranger Talks, you can really get a feel for the rich history of America’s first colony and beyond.

Wright Brothers Monument 

By far one of the most famous spots on the world, this is where flight first started. The park is simple, with a large monument on a hill, commemorative boulders, a few reproduction buildings and a small museum.  One of the highlights of the park are the ‘Ranger Talks’. The rangers are very knowledgeable about the Wright Brother’s and really bring the past to life. This is such an important spot for North Carolina and for the world, it’s simply a must see.

Alligator River

Technically Alligator River is not a park, but a refuge that has parts open to the public.  The rangers offer tram tours. You’re also allowed to drive your own vehicle on designated dirt roads, and private tours (via kayak) are also available on the property. You have the chance to see black bears, red wolves, bobcats, alligators and all kinds of birds. Of course, a refuge is not like a zoo, the animals could be anywhere, or nowhere. However, when you do see them, it’s an experience you won’t forget.

The National Parks of Outer Banks add greatly to your vacation. Plan your next visit today! 



Vacationing with a Group

Atlantic Realty has homes to fit every family size, style and budget!  From 1 and 2 bedrooms condos for a couples getaway, to large Event Homes that sleep over 40 to everything in between, we are sure to have the perfect home for you! 

Have you ever thought about celebrating a milestone birthday, family reunion, anniversary or even a wedding on the Outer Banks?  If so, we can help with our group vacation homes. 

If you’ve never been on a group vacation before, it can seem overwhelming to vacation with that many people. (80 people can fit in our new largest house.) so with that in mind, we’re going to show you how to vacation on the Outer Banks in a large group.


The secret to having a great vacation with a large group is communication. You need to make sure your group has a similar communication style and is willing to hear out the other. Once the communication breaks down, the arguments start. However, by keeping the lines of communication open, you can have fun with your friends and family.  A group text or family email chain is a great way to share ideas, plan meal schedules and activities, and build excitement for your upcoming vacation. 

Making Sure Your Home Is Large Enough

With large groups, you not only want to make sure the home has enough beds and parking spaces, but plenty of places for one group to ‘go off on their own’ and get their own space. Homes designed for large groups have many little nooks, special rooms, and small dens to make sure people can congregate where they choose for a maximum amount of fun (and have peace and quiet when they need it).

Choosing Your Bedrooms 

When it comes to bedding in large houses, you have a myriad of choices from King Masters to Bunk Bedrooms. Decide before your arrival how the bedroom situation will be handled. Do the kids get split into girls and boy’s bunkrooms? Do Mom and Dad or the grandparents get the room on the highest level? Will bedrooms be doled out on a first come first serve basis? In most cases, the person’s who made the reservation and planned the trip has first pick of the bedrooms, and everyone’s good with that.  Be sure to check out the home’s Truplace Floorplan to see exactly where each bedroom is located and what type of bedding and furniture is inside.  The tour is a great way to get famililar with your vacation home before you get here! 

Activities; Group vs. Self

Large groups have their own ideas of what fun is. This is another place where communication comes in handy. Are you going to do many activities together or just a few? Will you meet for a meal every day or just once in a while? Does someone want to see horses while someone else wants to go to the waterpark? All those vacations can work out just fine, just make sure to communicate  expectations before you go. 

The Fun N Sun Pass 

Of course, every one of our homes comes with a complementary Fun N Sun pass. This entitles you to one free ticket per activity per day. The passes can be shared, but they can only be used for an activity once per day. For example, Dad can go golfing, while the teens can go To The Escape Room, the grandparents see the wild horses, and at night, you can go fishing off the Outer Banks Pier (and dine over the beach). And tomorrow, you can do it all again. 

The Waterpark 

We’d be remiss if we didnâ??t’ mention H2OBX, the biggest waterpark to hit the Outer Banks. Discount tickets are available for all Atlantic Realty guests though our special link. Check out the “house package” — purchase 10 adult tickets to H2OBX and get 2 FREE — this package is perfect for a large family or group of guests who want to visit the park.  With two wave pools (large and small) a separate small children’s area, a lazy river, a Flo Rider, and slides that range from intermediate to “I can’t believe you’re going on that,” the waterpark has something for everyone to enjoy. (They even have a great food an drink selection, including adult beverages).   If you’re going with a very large group, you’ll also want to consider getting a cabana. These large canopies are perfect for a day at the park!  There’s plenty of comfortable seating in the shade, wait staff to take care of your food and drink needs, and the deluxe cabanas even provide TVs for when the littles ones need to take a break. 


With a little advanced planning, vacationing with a large group on the Outer Banks can be a rewarding experience that makes for a lifetime of happy memories. Contact one of our friendly reservationists if you’d like to know more about planning a vacation or family event here! 


The OBX for First- Timers

If you’ve never been to the Outer Banks before, you’re in for a treat!!   The Outer Banks is like nowhere else in the world. And because of that, you might be in for a few surprises too. Here’s what you need to know about the Outer Banks before you visit for the first time. 

The Towns

The Main area of the Outer Banks consists of seven towns; Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Corolla, Duck, Nags Head, South Nags Head and Southern Shores.  Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and South Nags Head are called the ‘Southern Beaches’. Duck, Corolla, and Southern Shores are called the Northern Beaches.

The Southern Beaches are more centralized, with more activities, chains, stores and things to do. The Southern Beaches are the recommended place to stay for first timers since they have more of everything.

The Northern Beaches are where you go if you want to get away from it all. They have fewer chains and fewer things to do than the Southern Beaches. However, if you love nature then the Northern Beaches are where you’ll want to be.

The Beaches

The Outer Banks is known for it’s beaches.  Natural, uncrowded and unspolied.  Don’t be surprised if you see ghost crabs, turtles, and a myriad of shorebirds sharing the shore with you.  

The sand is fine a sugar sand that can turn slightly pebbly after a storm. It’s a great place to go beachcombing. You can find an assortment of shells, driftwood, sea glass and all kinds of things. It’s also a great place to build sand castles but if you dig any holes, please be sure to fill them in to protect the wildlife (and beach goers).

The Two Bodies Of Water 

The Outer Banks is surrounded by two bodies of water; the ocean and the sound. The Atlantic Ocean is on the east and is open water. It’s a living ocean meaning it changes daily. Dolphins play in the surf, tidal pools, sand bars and drop offs can appear only for a few hours to disappear tomorrow. Rip tides come in and out while the waves crash on the beach. If you take a fishing charter, you can fish around wrecks or go all the way out to the Gulf Stream. Surfing, skim boarding, body surfing, boogie boarding and fishing are all favorite pastimes in the ocean. True, you do see some ocean kayaks or stand up paddleboards, but it’s not common due to the constant wave action.

The Albemarle Sound is on the west side of the island. A sound is more like a bay or a lake. It is calm and shallow with a weak current and no threat of riptides. It’s a great place to take the kids for an inshore charter. Though the fish are small, the waves are equally small, so there’s less of a chance of getting seasick. The sound is the body of water of choice for dolphin tours, jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking, jet packing and stand up paddle boarding (unless you’re a surfer.) it’s also the best place to go crabbing.

The Two Roads

With the exception of South Nags Head, the Outer Banks Southern Beaches is bisected by two roads; the Beach Road and the Main Road, (AKA the Bypass.)

The Main Road (US 158) is a large, five lane highway complete with turning lane. It’s recommended you donâ??t cross that road on foot. The Beach Road is a small two lane road built in the 70’s with a 35 mph speed limit. It’s common to cross this little road on foot.

When a vacation home is described as being ‘Between the Highways’ it means that you do have to cross the little road to get to the beach, but not the main road. A house that Fronts the Beach Road is considered a Semi Oceanfront.

The Traffic 

If you’re coming here for the first time on the recommendation of a friend, you’ve probably also hear the stories of the Summer traffic. On the main turnover day, which is Saturday, the traffic can resemble traffic in the major cities like Virginia, Washington DC and New York.

The rest of the time, the traffic moves swiftly and is not an impediment to getting to your destination. Tips for beating the traffic include arriving early.  Just be aware that most check in times are not until late afternoon so plan your day accordingly.  From there, plan to make a day of it; go the beach, the movies, to an escape room, to laser tag, to the harnessed adventure park. There are tons of ways to have fun before your house is ready at 4pm. You can even go H2OBX waterpark and have a splashtasitic time!!


The Outer Banks has a variety of groceries stores to choose from. Local stores include Tommy’s Gourmet Market and Winks. Chain stores include Food Lion, Publix, Harris Teeter, a Fresh Market and even a Super Walmart.  Every town has both a Food Lion and Harris Teeter nearby.

Grocery stores can get crowded on the Turnover days of Saturday and Sunday. It’s best to go shopping after you’ve checked into your house rather than before. After all, check in is at 4pm for most rental companies with Early Check Ins at the earliest of 1pm. There’s nothing worse than having ice cream melting in the car while waiting for your house to be cleaned and ready.

Another option is to have someone shop for you. Companies like At Your Service will go shopping for you and stuff your fridge full of food before you even arrive.  It’s an easy no aggravation way to get your groceries and start your vacation early.

Things To Do

The Outer Banks has plenty of stuff to do, but if you’re looking for something akin to Myrtle Beach or the Boardwalk of the Jersey Shore, this might not be the right beach for you. However, there are tons of things to do, including a newly built waterpark– H2OBX,  pier fishing, charter fishing, laser tag, mini golf, children’s museum, escape rooms, horse tours, dolphin tours, riding horses on the beach, visiting historic sites and more! 

Licenses, Permits, And Beach Accesses

Going to the beach is free. Parking at the beach is free. Driving on the beach may or may not be free depending on where you go.

If you drive down to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, you will need a driving permit. The park service has you watch an informative video on beach driving and explains the rules of driving on park service land. Pay for the permit, then you are off to drive on the beach.

Towns like Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills allow driving on the beach in the off season. You will need a permit for that.  You can get those at thelocal Town Halls.

Corova Beach is a bit of a special case. Though unpaved, it’s considered an extension of the Beach Road (NC 12), so you do not need special permission or licenses to drive on it. What you do need is a four wheel drive because all wheels get stuck in our soft fluffy sand.

Fishing on the beach requires a license, available at any tackle shop or online. Fishing off a pier or a charter boat comes with a blanket license.

Bonfires on the beach require a license. You get them from the fire department the day of the regular town and from the park service for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Fireworks (with the exception of sparklers) are banned on the Outer Banks.

In the towns of Nags Head, South Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, and Corolla have public beach access with parking (and sometimes bath houses with restrooms and showers) and are available all up and down the beach. Spaces fill up early to its best to get their early to get the best spot.

Though the beaches themselves are still public, the towns of Duck and Southern Shores have private accesses. You need to be staying nearby in order to access them as there is no public parking. 

Additionally, there are many public Sound accesses for swimming, fishing, kayaking and more. You can find them in Nags Head, Manteo, Corolla, and Duck.


The Outer Banks is a very dog friendly place. Not only do we have several homes that allow dogs, many restaurants feature pet friendly outdoor dining. The beaches of Nags Head, Duck and Corolla allow dogs on the beach at all times year round. The towns of Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, and Southern Shores have restrictions on dogs on the beach during the day in the summer months, but allow them back on the beach at all times the rest of the year.


If it’s your first time to the Outer Banks, you might not realize how vacation rental homes are different from hotels. Hotels usually provide basic toiletry items such as shampoo, paper products, and soap.  However, vacation homes do not. True, you get a starter roll of toilet paper, but it’s not enough to last a whole week.  Also, be aware that many homes do not provide linens.  You may choose to bring sheets and towels with you, or rent them.  Linen packages are available upon request for an additional fee. They include beds made on arrival, and a set of towels for the number the home sleeps.  Each set contains a hand towel, bath towel and washcloth.  Kitchen towels and bath mats are also provided in the package.   

Fun Add-Ons 

Want to make your vacation even more fun (and stress free)?

Companies like Beachmasters offer full set up and take down of a beach equipment each and every day of your stay. A setup includes chairs, a canopy, wireless blender, a cooler of ice (refilled daily) and a speaker system for your phone’s tunes. It’s ready for you when you arrive to the beach in the morning, and it will be taken down at sunset. No muss or fuss for you.

Golf carts are the fun new trend that’s hitting everywhere, and we have them too. The type of golf carts you use on the Outer Banks are called Low Speed Vehicles or LSVs. The LSVs are legal to go on any type of road where they can keep up with traffic. (So the beach road, Duck and backroads.) Of course you still have to find a place to park, but you park them in any spot made for a car.

You can rent things like baby equipment, beach equipment, and grills from Just For The Beach. They deliver and pick up. You also get two free beach chairs rentals from Just For The Beach from our Fun N Sun pass.

Have more questions?  Call one of our helpful Vacation Planners today at 877-858-4795 or Webchat us! 

Outer Banks After Dark

The Outer Banks is a great place to have fun during the day. With the wide variety of activities including the laser tag, horse tours, dolphins tours, museums, and of course the watersports and beaches. But, what about at night? Are there things you can do at night besides mini golf and movies?

The answer to that is a resounding YES. There is an assortment of activities you can do after dark that is fun for the whole family or just adults! 


Ghost Tours

Some folks say the Outer Banks is haunted. I donâ??t know if that’s true, but there certainly are a lot of ghost stories in the area. From the tale of Blackbeard’s headless body circling Maynard’s ship in Ocracoke, the Cora Tree of Frisco, the Beast of Trent Woods, to the white doe of Roanoke and the Lost Colony itself, there are plenty of scary stories (with a little bit of history) to keep you delightfully entertained on a balmy summer evening. The tour takes place in Downtown Manteo for the walking part of it and makes a stop at the Pioneer Theatre (the oldest family owned theater in the country) for popcorn. The tour is suitable for all ages as long as you and your kids like scary stories.  The Ghost Tour is one of our Explore the Shore Partners, which means Atlantic Realty guests can get a discount.

Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre

“You’ll die laughing”. Now in its 5th year, the Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre is fun for all ages. More satiracal than scary, the story unfolds between the four course dinner and you have to figure out ‘whodunit’. Audience participation is common and everyone has a great time. At the end of the performance, prizes are given out for a correct answer (all the right answers go in a bowl and are drawn by lot) but also the funniest answer. So if you have no idea who did it, make something up. You might win anyway. The Murder Mystery Dinner Theater is also one of our Explore The Shore partners, so discounts are available for Atlantic Realty guests. 


Lost Colony

The Lost Colony is America’s longest running outdoor drama. It tells the story of the original colonists that came over from England in 1587 and mysteriously vanished. The only clue were the words ‘Croatan’, carved into a tree. This play teaches the history of these doomed colonists in a fun, educational way. There’s dancing, music, pageantry, pyrotechnics, and more. Many famous actors, such as Terrance Mann and Andy Griffith even got their start right here. Itâ??s a show you don’t want to miss!   Be sure to use your Atlantic Realty Fun N Sun pass to get one free adult admission. 



The Coast of North Carolina is home to the very last red wolves in the world. Soon, the species will most likely go extinct, but this is your chance to see them, or at the very least hear them. At the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge, the rangers do ‘Howlings,’ this unique experience is where you head into the woods after dark in places where the red wolves have been spotted and howl at them. They’ll howl back and you’ll have a ‘conversation’. Sometimes, you might even get so see a red wolf. This is an adventure you and your children will remember forever. To learn more about the Red Wolf Howlings, visit the National Park Service’s website


Ghost Crabbing

This is the best, low cost family fun there is. All you need is a night, a flashlight, and maybe a phone. All you have to do is go to the beach at night, shine the light on the sand and keep sweeping the beam until you seeâ?¦a ghost crab. Now, obviously, it’s not really a ghost, but it is a white crab that blends into the sand so perfectly it can seemingly disappear like a ghost. (hence the name.) Snap its picture and then find another one. Kids and adults alike love ghost crabbing.  It’s an Outer Banks tradition. 



The Outer Banks Comedy Club

The Outer Banks is home to the longest running seasonal comedy club in the country. Many famous comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Drew Carry, and Ray Romano got their start right here. It’s your chance to see some truly great “up and coming” comedians before they hit it big. You can even order drinks and appetizers to enjoy during the show. We recommend this activity for adults only due to the PG 13 comedic material of some of the shows.

‘Clubbing’ Outer Banks style

It’s true that the Outer Banks doesn’t have traditional “night clubs”. However, what we do have is local bands playing at a variety of restaurants where you can get food and drinks–some are even outdoors!  This is clubbing Outer Banks style, and like everything else, it’s laid back. So, dress as casual as you please, (you’re on vacation after all,) pick a restaurant with an interesting sounding band and dance and enjoy the night away! 


There are many great restaurants on the Outer Banks, but TRiO is an experience in itself. What makes it so different? The unique way the wine is served, of course!   It all starts with buying a wine card. Then you can go around to various wine vending machines and get a quarter glass, half glass or full glass of over a dozen different wines. This is your chance to try wines that you normally have to buy a bottle to try. So, enjoy your very own “wine tasting” and find that new favorite brand to take home! 

Wine and Paint Parties

Who says crafts are just for kids? Certainly not Hang 12, one of Atlantic Realty’s Explore the Shore partners. This establishment offers an evening Wine and Paint Party. What kind of wine? Well, whatever you bring, it’s a bring-your-own-wine party, sharing optional. While you’re making new friends, drinking good wine and having a great time, you’re also making great art. The teacher’s by step-by-step structure shows you how to paint things like mermaids, your pet, the beach and many other things. You’re sure to leave the party with a wonderful piece of art and even better memories.

Night Fishing

You’ve probably tried fishing during the day, but have you ever tried fishing at night? Yes, you can fish at night. In fact, the fish often bite better, a secret commercial fisherman have known for years. You can fish from the surf or from one of the many piers. In fact, if you pick a pier like The Outer Banks Pier, (one of our Fun N Sun partners) you can drink and food to stay fueled from the bar-on-the-beach.

The fun doesn’t stop just because the sun sets. Though the sidewalks do roll up early on most things on the Outer Banks, there are still plenty of things to do after dark whether you’re in a family or in group of friends. Either way, you’re bound to have a great time and make memories to last forever.


What are you waiting for?  Let’s plan your next Outer Banks Vacation!! 





#bookdirect day is February 7th

February 7th is National #bookdirect day!  What are the benefits of booking directly with vacation rental company?  Read on to find out! 

There are lots of places to find vacation accommodations online.  Sites like,, AirBnB, and, etc. are a great place to start your search.   These “3rd party sites” help you get an idea of where you want to travel and what type of accommodations are available.  But, we recommend ALWAYS booking direct to avoid the additional “guest service fees” that are added on to the cost of the reservation.  

We believe that vacation rental homes are the best value for your vacation dollar for a number of reasons, but you can save even more and get even better service by booking directly with vacation rental companies, like Atlantic Realty. 


So What Professional Services Do Rental Companies Provide?

Good question.  It’s important to understand that unlike an ad site, rental companies are regulated as ‘real estate companies.’ The Owner has to be a licensed agent and has to follow all the rules for owning a business in the county and state where their business is located. This professional and ethical code followed by Realtors ensures that you’ll have the more professional experience and also gives you certain benefits that third party sites can touch. Here are a few of them.

The Best Prices  

Everyone thinks the third party sites have the best prices. That’s why people use them after all. However, most third party sites aren’t showing accurate prices, just low ones. When they use oddly specific language such as ‘starting at’ or ‘as low as’ followed by the price per night, what they’re actually doing is taking the lowest price it can be in a year and showing you that, regardless of the season. Most often, the true price you pay for peak vacation times is double or even triple that.

Additionally, third party sites are unable to run specials like flash sales, tax free days, or Black Friday deals. These are specials that property management companies use to reward their most loyal fans and guests. You can see a full list of our current specials here.

Knowledgeable Local Staff

When you call Atlantic Realty, you can be assured that the person answering the phone lives and works here. That means whether you’re looking for the perfect town, a great place to eat out, or activities you can do on a rainy or sunny day, you can have the best and most up-to-date advice given by a true local.

Professional Cleaning Included

Going on vacation is fun. You know what’s not fun? Having to scrub the house afterwards. Yet, with some of these third party houses that’s exactly what they expect you to do; ready the house for the next renter. The ones that don’t expect you to do that tack on a ‘cleaning fee’ that was never mentioned previously. Remember what I said about third party sites not offering the best deals?

However, when you use a vacation rental company, the cleaning fee is included. All you have to do is leave the house in broom swept condition and the professional cleaner will come in after you and take care of the rest. Best of all, you can be assure that your house had the same high standards of cleaning applied to it before your arrival as well.

After Hours Emergency Phone (For True Emergencies)

So what happens if you get to your house after hours and you can’t get in? Or what if the smoke detector starts beeping in the middle of the night or if the toilet starts overflowing with an endless supply of water? Without a professional manager, you’re on your own to handle these types of disasters. 

However, with a vacation rental company, you’re never on your own. Atlantic Realty provides an emergency after hours number for just such an emergency. You can call us anytime for the true disasters and our office between 8:30am-5:00pm for minor issues. It gives you peace of mind knowing your family isn’t all alone thousands of miles from home.

Makes It Easy On You If Something Breaks

In the rare even something does break, it’s up to the rental company to get a vendor over there to fix it, not you.  It’s also on the rental company to let them in. None of this ruining your vacation with the old ‘we’ll arrive between 10-3’ stuff.  If someone needs to wait at the house, we’ll wait for the repair person.  This way, you can go out, have a fun time and whatever it is should be fixed by the time you get back.

Most of the times the local repair people also put a house managed by a rental company closer to the top of the list than house managed by an individual. This is just good business. After all, who would you give preferential treatment to? A single house managed by one person or a company who manages hundreds of houses and can give you lots of business in the future?

Notifications Of Conditions That Will Affect Your Travel Plans

Let s face it, the Outer Banks is a beautiful place, but not all the time. Sometime we get weather that can adversely affect your plans. If you rented from a third party site, then it’s usually on you to know the travel conditions before you arrive. And nothing’s worse than traveling 12 hours only to find out the bridge is closed due to high winds. (yes, that happens.)

Fortunately, a rental company will alert you in the events of bridge and other road closures, evacuations, or anything else that will ruin your plans to arrive. And don’t worry. Once the condition has been lifted, your house will be ready and waiting for you. (and in the extremely rare case that it’s not, we’ll help you with that too!)

Special Discounts To Local Activities

Another benefit from booking direct is the partnerships that professional managers like Atlantic Realty have with local businesses. 

What does ‘partnered mean?’ it means that Atlantic Realty has agreed to showcase certain companies in exchange for a nice discount for all our guests. These are discount you won’t find the local coupon books or anywhere else. Take a look at some of our partners, (though by no means is this an exhaustive list.)

  • H2OBX Waterpark 
  • Kitty Hawk Kayak & Surf School
  • Roanoke Island Festival Park
  • Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station 
  • Will You Escape The OBX?  The OBX’s First Escape Room!
  • Outer Banks Pier
  • Carolina Club Golf
  • Pointe Club Golf
  • Dairy Queen Mini Golf
  • Frisco Native American Museum
  • Back Country Outfitter’s Corolla Wild Horse Safari Tour
  • Lost Colony Play
  • Elizabethan Gardens
  • Capt’n Johnny’s Dolphin Watch
  • Just For The Beach Equipment Rentals
  • Acoustic Nights Live Music By Graham Outten
  • Corolla & Duck Parasailing
  • Corolla Watersports
  • Bob’s Bait And Tackle 
  • North Duck Watersports
  • Pizza Stop
  • Lotas Yoga
  • Mmaxout Fitness
  • Deja New  (Art Classes)
  • Shooters At The Beach (Professional Photography)
  • Outer Banks Kayak Adventures
  • The Pit Surf Shop
  • Ocean Sands K9 Resort
  • OBX Mystery Dinner Theater   
  • Dirty Dick’s Crab House
  • OBX Skim Camp  
  • OBX Pontoon Man
  • Sea Hunter-Charter Fishing
  • OBX Ghost Tours
  • Photography By Geri
  • Equine Adventures (Horseback Riding On The Beach)
  • OBX Biplane And Helicopter Tours
  • Capt Froggy’s Guide Service(For Hunting And Fishing)
  • Beach Masters Beach Set Up

Final Thoughts

Renting with a professional property management company will not only give you the best price, but also a low hassle vacation with great advice and discounts for whatever you want to do on your Outer Banks vacation. You’ll also have someone to call in case of emergencies. And if it rains an you’re not sure what do with the kids, we can make personal recommendations for that too!  Let’s get started booking that Outer Banks Vacation.  Give one of our friendly and helpful vacation planners a call now — or chat with us online! 


Vacation Your Way

In response to our guests’ ever changing travel needs, Atlantic Realty is proud to introduce the Vacation Your Way Program.  Curious to know what it is and how it works?  Read our Frequently Asked Questions Article to find out!

What is “Vacation Your Way”?

Traditionally, vacation rental homes on the Outer Banks are only available for full week stays that start on Saturday or Sunday.  We get so many requests for short stays that we designed a program to meet those needs!  Homes in the Vacation Your Way Program allow you the flexibility to check in when you want and stay as long as you want. 


How far in advance can I book a Vacation Your Way reservation?

As early as you want!  Vacation Your Way homes accept partial week rentals year round.  We recommend you book as early as possible as this limited number of homes with this unique booking model are very popular!  Short stays with any arrival days are available year round so you can book a Summer Weekend or Holiday Weekend right now — no waiting until last minute to see what’s left! 


Is there a minimum night stay?

Vacation Your Way Homes have a minimum night stay of 2 nights.  However, you can stay 3 nights, 4 nights, or whatever your family needs. 


Do I have to check in on Saturday or Sunday?

No.  One of the best things about Vacation Your Way homes is the flexible arrival day.  You can check in on a Tuesday or a Friday — whatever works for you!


Are there Vacation Your Way Houses with Pools?

Yes.  Several of the Vacation Your Way Homes have private pools, hot tubs, Game Rooms and more.  And don’t forget, All Atlantic Realty homes come with the Fun N Sun Pass Program which offers Free activities such as golf, a sunset cruise, wild horse safari, and more each and every day of your stay! 


Are there Vacation Your Way Homes that are Pet Friendly?

Yes.  Many of the Vacation Your Way homes are pet friendly. 


How many homes are in the Vacation Your Way Program?

Right now, there are several homes in the program and we are adding new ones all the time.  This program is growing because families are finding it harder and harder to commit to a full week’s vacation with their busy schedules. 

So, find some time for your family and friends  to get away and plan your Outer Banks vacation in a Vacation Your Way home today!

Christmas on the Outer Banks

Not only is the OBX a great place to visit during the summer, it’s a great place to come for the Holidays. It’s true it’s too cold to swim, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. Here are just a few of the things you can check out when you’re here in December. 


Santa Paws Pet Supply Drive (Whole month of December)

This is your chance to see the NC Aquarium and help out a great cause at the same time. You can get into the Acquarium for FREE when you bring a 7 lb bag of dog food. The food is given to the local shelter so we can continue to care for dogs and cats until they can find their forever homes.

Winter Lights (Whole Month of December)

Just because it’s the winter doesnâ??t mean there’s nothing to see in the Elizabethan Gardens. Each Christmas thousands of lights transform the gardens into a winter wonderland. Traditional holiday décor, gingerbread ‘houses’ and more all combine to make this a spectacular event. There’s even a seasonal gift shop and plants to take home.

Manteo Christmas Parade (Dec 2)

It’s been called ‘the biggest small town celebration’. That means Manteo knows how to throw one heck of a party. This parade features floats, marching bands, singing and more. The highlight it when Santa arrives on the firetruck. In past years, as many as 50 floats were in the parade, and it just seemed to bet bigger each year.  After the parade, kids can get some one on one time with Santa.

Duck Yuletide Celebration and Elf Hunt  (Dec 2)

There’s actually two parts to this unique celebration. The first is a traditional parade and celebration featuring carolers, live music, hot chocolate and more.  It culminates with Santa’s arrival on the firetruck. The second part is the Elf Hunt. ‘Hunters’ pick up a â??Great Yuletide Elf Hunt Passportâ?? at select locations, then visit selected shops in search of the ‘elf’, filling up your passport as you go. At the end of the day, all successful hunters (those with a fully filled in passport) will get to enter a drawing for a chance to win some fun prizes.


Holiday Homes Tour (Dec 2)

Now’s your chance to see some historic Outer Banks homes, along with new ones built the ‘Manteo Way’ (renovated buildings that serve as business and residence.) Check in point is at Outer Banks Craft Distilling where you can partake of some light refreshments. Manteo Cyclery will provide bikes on a first come first serve basis. Commemorative ornaments are available.

TRiO Holiday Market (Dec 9)

Looking for last minute gifts? There’s no better kind than the ones handcrafted by local artisans.  From candles to jewelry, to soap and everything in between, the Holiday Market is your place to pick up some great stocking stuffers or last minute gifts.

St. Nicholas arrives at Island Farm (Dec 9)

Looking for a place for your kids to meet Santa? St. Nick is coming to the Island Farm. Instead of reindeer, he’ll come by ox cart then sets up in one of the quaint farm houses with a roaring fire, waiting for your kids to come and enjoy.  They’ll be hot apple cider, ginger cookies, ox cart rides, and a lot of fun.

Great White Fishmas (Dec 9)

Join the NC Aquarium’s Great White Fishmas. They’ll be crafts, cookie decorating, special programs, live music and more. And don’t forget the animals. You’ll see otters, jelly fish, alligators, turtles and so much more. There are even sharks you pet. Yes, SHARKS.

Poulos Family Christmas (Dec 17 – 31)

The famous Outer Banks ‘Christmas House’ has been featured on HGTV the Today Show and YouTube.  It takes 12 weeks to set up and $3500 in electric bills to run. A delightful mix of old and new Christmas traditions, you’ve never seen something quite like this before.

New Year in the New World (December 31)

Ok, so this is technically a new year’s thing, but it is in December and it is fun, so it’s worth mentioning.  Best of all, it’s family friendly. For this celebration, the streets of Downtown Manteo are closed and there will be a street fair party, complete with an early ball drop for kids. Live music, family friendly activities and food vendors are just the beginning of your great time.  The highlight of the evening will be the largest fireworks display in the state, and it will be choreographed to music. It’s the perfect way to ring in the New Year.

Olde Christmas (Jan 6)

The fun isn’t over yet. Hatteras Island is one of the last places in the country to celebrate “Olde Christmas” on the traditional date. It’s not the Christmas you’re used to because this one is steeped in Island Tradition. It features caroling, music, dancing, and the traditional Christmas food, oysters. The highlight of the evening is when ‘Old Buck’ the bull appears. In all of Rodanthe History, Old Buck has always been played by two locals, but the costume is supposedly made with the horns of the real ‘Old Buck’ who lived in Trent Woods.  Old buck plays with the revelers, doing his own dance through the crowd and mock goring people. He brings luck for the New Year.

There’s no better place to spend the holidays than on the Outer Banks. Even though you can’t go in the water, the beach provides endless opportunities to walk, and commune with nature. And the people of the Outer Banks have enough going on that you can celebrate Christmas in style. If you need to rent a house for your family, you can do that here.