Where to stay in the Outer Banks, NC

  • Post last modified:May 14, 2022
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The Outer Banks in North Carolina, also just known as OBX, feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle. In the relaxing setting you find stunning beaches and proud lighthouses. But where to stay in the Outer Banks for the best experience?

Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills & Nags Head are the best places to stay in the Outer Banks if you want a central location. However, further north and south you find more secluded options for where to stay when visiting the Outer Banks.

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Corolla, OBX – The secluded northernmost Outer Banks place to stay

If you want to get away from it all, it’s easy to like what Corolla offers. Far away from mainland distractions Corolla is the northernmost option for where to stay in the Outer Banks.

In Corolla, pronounced KA-RAH-LA, you find mile after mile of beautiful and uncrowded beaches to enjoy.

Above all it’s the peacefulness that makes Corolla such a popular place to stay in the Outer Banks. At Outer Banks hotels and vacation rentals up north it’s easier than ever to unwind.

A good way to enjoy both the quintessential ambience and iconic Outer Banks attractions is to walk the cozy Corolla Park.

Most eye-catching is the park’s red brick Currituck Beach Lighthouse that proudly extends towards the sky. There’s truly something special about the lighthouses in the Outer Banks.

Another highlight in the park during an Outer Banks stay is the historic Whalehead mansion. Once home to a rich New England couple, a mansion tour offers an interesting glimpse into the past.

On the Corolla beaches further north you find the legendary Outer Banks horses. In the Corova Beach area, only accessible by four wheel drive, the unlikely animals descended from Spanish mustangs roam freely.

In the appreciated setting in Corolla you also find great Outer Banks places to stay, down-to-earth restaurants and cute shops. It’s not hard to see why Corolla is an Outer Banks area that easily lure travelers in.

In short, Corolla is the northernmost option for where to stay in the Outer Banks. In the north you find a rare peacefulness, appreciated attractions and all the comfort you need including great Outer Banks places to stay.

Pick Corolla for: Secluded Outer Banks lodging.

Recommended Outer Banks hotels in Corolla

Hampton Inn & Suites Corolla – A beachfront Outer Banks hotel

The beach is the best part of the Outer Banks, and at Corolla’s Hampton Inn you stay right on it. If you book a room with ocean view, you even can hear the crashing waves from your own balcony at the beachfront Outer Banks hotel.

The Inn at Corolla Lighthouse – Stay at an Outer Banks inn

When it comes to location, it’s certainly hard to beat the Inn at Corolla Lighthouse. On the Currituck Sound, the Outer Banks inn offers both easy access to Corolla Park and some of the best sunsets on the East Coast.

Wild Outer Banks horses at beach on Schackleford Banks
Wild Outer Banks horses.

Duck, OBX – The best of both worlds Outer Banks lodging

The town Duck is located south of Corolla but north of the center of the Outer Banks. It’s an alternative for where to stay in the Outer Banks that offers a great compromise between tranquility and convenience.

Once famous for its bird hunting scene, Duck was named for the many ducks in the area. Although you still find ducks in the Outer Banks surroundings, most visitors today come for other reasons.

With its long beach and calm ambience Duck is an excellent North Carolina destination for travelers who need to recharge. In the untroubled setting Duck is the kind of beach town where visitors often feel at home within days.

An appreciated feature in the heart of Duck is its homey park and boardwalk. There, in the front row for sunsets on the Currituck Sound, the town also offers tasty eateries and fun shops to browse.

But if you’re after more things to see and do, you at Outer Banks hotels and vacation rentals in Duck also have much more action within easy reach.

From Duck you effortlessly get further south to the busier towns Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. It’s less than 10 miles (16 km) from Duck to Kitty Hawk, where you find more liveliness.

You also easily get from Outer Banks places to stay in Duck to the northernmost Corolla. From Duck it’s 15 miles (24 km) up to the historic Corolla Park.

In conclusion, Duck is an option for where to stay in the Outer Banks that offers the best of both worlds. The quiet town is a gorgeous destination on its own but also offers easy access to other popular Outer Banks towns and attractions.

Pick Duck for: Convenient yet tranquil Outer Banks lodging.

Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills & Nags Head, OBX – Stay in the Outer Banks’ heart

Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head are the three adjacent towns that make up the heart of the Outer Banks. The area is the most central option for where to stay in the Outer Banks.

One bridge directly connects Kitty Hawk to the mainland. Further south two bridges connect Nags Head to the mainland via Roanoke Island. These are the only mainland connctions in the Outer Banks.

Although Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head are different towns, they over time have grown together. Where one of the central Outer Banks towns ends, the next one begins.

In the more concentrated area you find a bigger selection of Outer Banks hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. The vibe is relaxed all over the Outer Banks, but the central towns are certainly busier than the more remote areas.

A favorite Outer Banks attraction in Kill Devil Hills is the Wright Brothers National Memorial. The extensive memorial commemorates the Wright brothers and their historic first flight, which once took place in the Outer Banks.

Another highlight in the central Outer Banks area is Jockey’s Ridge State Park. In Nags Head the park offers the tallest living dune on the Atlantic coast of the US. It’s also one of the best sunset spots in the Outer Banks.

All in all, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head constitute the undisputed heart of the Outer Banks. On top of the area’s convenient location it’s the best place to stay in the Outer Banks if you prefer liveliness over seclusion.

Pick Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills & Nags Head for: Central Outer Banks accommodation.

Markers at Wrights Brothers National Memorial in the Outer Banks, NC
The Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk.

Hatteras Island, OBX – The longest place to stay in the Outer Banks

Hatteras Island is by a margin the longest island in the Outer Banks. At roughly 50 miles (80 km) the option for where to stay in the Outer Banks even is one of the longer islands in the entire continental United States.

Spread out over the island you find several different towns with Outer Banks lodging. The towns that call Hatteras Island their home are Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras.

Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo are the charming northernmost towns on Hatteras Island. Deeper down Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras are other delightful Outer Banks places to stay.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore has protected the island from development. So no matter where on Hatteras Island you base yourself, you find an untouched setting to enjoy during your Outer Banks stay.

But pay attention to that the distances between the Hatteras Island towns are significant. From Outer Banks hotels in the Rodanthe it takes roughly an hour to get to the island’s southernmost town Hatteras.

So the northern Hatteras Island towns offer much better access to the livelier heart of the Outer Banks, while the southern communities are situated further away from the buzz.

In conclusion, Hatteras Island is not only a long island but also a great alternative for where to stay in the Outer Banks. Regardless of where on the island you look, you find Outer Banks places to stay where it’s easy to relax.

Pick Hatteras Island for: Unwinding Outer Banks lodging.

Search for hotels in the Outer Banks, OBX

Use the booking tool below to find the best places to stay in the Outer Banks. Browse the map for options in various areas, or click on the search button to get all Outer Banks hotels listed.

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Where to stay in the Outer Banks FAQ

Here you find the answers to some frequently asked questions about where to stay in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

Where should I stay when visiting the Outer Banks?

There are several great options for where to stay when visiting the Outer Banks. Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head make up the lively heart of the area. The further north or south you go from there, the more secluded Outer Banks places to stay you find.

Which part of the Outer Banks is the best?

The best place to stay in the Outer Banks for liveliness is the central area, including Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. However, look either further north or south if you prefer quieter options for where to stay in the Outer Banks.

Which is better Corolla or Duck?

Both Corolla and Duck are popular places to stay in the Outer Banks. Corolla is located further north and with that comes increased seclusion. Duck is in contrast situated closer to the area’s heart, which means better access to attractions further south.

Where to stay in the Outer Banks to see wild horses?

The wild Outer Banks horses are famed and to see them adds a dimension to an Outer Banks stay. Even though you find the unlikely animals in several places along the coastline, Corolla is an unbeatable option for where to stay in the Outer Banks to see wild horses. On the remote northern Corolla beaches, accessible by four wheel drive, the wild horses roam freely.

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