Finding a Rental in the Outer Banks


We wanted to plan a family summer trip.  My brother who lives in DC, suggested the Outer Banks in N. Carolina.  Most of us flew in to DC and drove down to the Banks, which took about 8 hours on a Thursday afternoon in July (6 hours of traffic jam).  Our rental here in the Outer Banks is fantastic – the research was done by my brother’s wife, who found us a pretty good deal.  Here is some helpful information on finding a rental in the Outer Banks.

Size of Rentals in the Outer Banks

Cheaper Rentals on the Bay side of Outer Banks

This Rental in Duck is a Small 2 Bedroom Duplex for $950 - Bay Side is usually cheaper, and has some advantages like Crabbing and a nice Breeze

It is tough finding a house smaller then 5 bedrooms, so families often share houses to save money.  A lot of the larger houses have a pool. You can get smaller sized duplexes and condos, but more often on the sound side of the Outer Banks, or further back from the ocean.

Reserve in advance

To get the best pick, try and book a year in a advance.  Early bird gets the worm.  Some people rent the same house at the same time every year, which can make the pickens slim.

Best Areas in the Outer Banks (which are cheaper and which are more expensive)

Kitty-hawk and Kill Devil Hills, which are older and have smaller houses,  offer more affordable rentals.

The more exclusive areas are Duck, Corolla, and  generally the northern beaches.  When you get far enough north, you actually need to go off road to access these exclusive properties.

Properties in first row of ocean will be most expensive, second row a little less.  The Bay side of the banks is usually more affordable.

View if Outer Banks Bay Side

Bay Side of the Outer Banks - Beautiful marshland full of wild life including Dolphins, 100 lb Striper Bass, Huge Channel Catfish, and a Sea Otters.

The sound side of the Outer Banks is better for boating, sailing, crabbing and wind surfing.  Most rentals on the bay side come with dock access.  You can actually just walk across the bank to the ocean side to access the ocean when needed.

Best Place to Find a Place in the Outer Banks

Search all rental agencies for Outer Banks Listings including your preferences for:

  • Ocean or Bay
  • Desired week
  • Desired Price
  • Number of Bedrooms
  • Amenities (pool or hot-tub)
  • Linens Included?

Each week will have its own individual price.

Since most places are booked online, the prices are generally not negotiable.  Occasionally if you look online the week before you want to vacation, you can score 40% off, if you are flexible and willing to play the game.  Craigslist sometimes also has some discounted rates.

The larger services are Twiddy, Atlantic Realty, Sun Realty, Kitty Hawk Realty and Carolina Designs.  Each one has it’s own search engine to find rentals on the Outer Banks.

Prices, Deposits, Setting Up for your Outer Banks Vacation

A small house with maybe 3 bedrooms during peak season on the ocean side of the Outer Banks will cost you $3,000 for the week

5 bedroom homes on the ocean during peak season start at around $4500.

Smaller 2 bedroom duplexes on the sound can be rented for $900 a week during peak season.

Typically, 1/2 the cost of your rental will be required to reserve up front.  The second half needs to be paid within 30 days of the actual rental date.   Sometimes damage deposits are required, and taxes always add more to the cost.

Sunset on the bay in the Outer Banks

Sunset on the bay in the Outer Banks - Something you can't catch on the Ocean Side

Video About The History Of The Outer Banks

Outer Banks Grocery Stores and Delivery

There is not a great selection of large grocery stores in places like Duck.  Down in Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills you will have a little more luck.  The rest of us are left with smaller markets and specialty stores which can get quite pricey.

Busy Times at the Outer Banks Grocery Stores

Saturdays at the grocery stores here in the outer banks are absolutely out of control. Best to use a delivery service for your first round of food.  This gave our family enough groceries to get through Sunday morning when the crowds died down at the larger markets like Food Lion.

Outer Banks Grocery Delivery Services Make Life Easier

The best way to order your outer banks groceries is like 10 days in advance.  Be careful though, they will substitute store products for brand names, if the product is not in stock, which is quite often.  You can avoid this by simply ordering at least ten days in advance, and specify no substitutions on the special instructions section of your order.  When you get to your house, your cold items will be in the fridge, and your dry goods will be in bags on your counter.

Types of Grocery Stores in the Outer Banks

The larger markets are down south in places like Kitty Haw, where the reasonably priced Food Lion is.  Also check out Coastal provisions on the southern shores of the Outer Banks.

Don’t buy your meats or fish at these larger markets.  The outer banks has some great smaller specialty grocery stores, like Tommy’s Small Town Grocery in Duck, or Harris Teeter in Corolla.

Crabbing in The Outer Banks

A bushel of #1 Jimmies just cost our family $125.00 in peak season in Duck, Outer Banks.

We have decided to learn how to hand line crab for ourselves.

It is possible to crab in the Outer Banks in the following ways:

  1. Hand Line
  2. Crab Trap

We will concentrate on Outer Banks hand line crabbing in this article.

Do I need a License to Crab in the Outer Banks?

Unfortunately you will need a fishing license if you are sixteen years or older.

Out of state residents will pay $10.00 for a 10 day pass, and in staters pay $5.00.

A North Carolina Crabbing / Fishing license is good for fishing in the sound, off the pier or in the ocean.

Where is the best Place to Catch Crab in the Outer Banks?

Crab Fishing Dock in the Outer Banks Duck

Typically the best place for crabbing in the Outer Banks is near a low dock over the water on the bay side.  The water here is brackish, and very suitable for Blue Crabs.  If you can get out further with a boat, you will catch the bigger Outer Banks Crabs, most often caught with traps. Hand line crabbing is is always done in the calm sound waters, not in the ocean.

How Do I Catch the Crabs?

Ok – this is the fun part.  Go head and pick up:

  • Long-handled dip net
  • Strong line made for hand-line crabbers
  • Chicken legs or chicken wings
  • Cooler – store your chicken and catch in the cooler – don’t let the crab hit the water though
  • It is also advisable to get some thongs of some kind to grab the blue crabs with

Tie a knot around your chicken, and extend 10-15 feet of line out, then tie the other end to your dock or whatever you are fishing near.   Throw the bait in the water and wait.

Give it a little time, and your may see your line starting to stretch or pull – you have an official Outer Banks Blue Crab on your line!  Now be patient.  Slowly, without any herky jerky movements, slowly start pulling the crab in.  They a pretty dumb, and will not notice the motion if you are good.

If you have had success pulling your crab in, bring it along side the dock, and slowly lift it while slipping your net under neath.  Then pull the crab, string bait and net all up at the same time.  If you are quick, you would have success catching your first Outer Banks Crab!

Does the Outer Banks have Size Limits on Crabs?

Yes it does!

Minimum Crab Size – 5″
MAximum Crab Size – 6 3/4″

There is also a legal limit is 50 Outer Banks Crabs per day.

Gone Crabbin!