Last Updated on December 1, 2022
I traveled from Vancouver, BC, Canada, to Duck, NC, for a Travel Writer’s University travel writing retreat. Our group consisted of three trainers and six excited trainees, all eager to check in to our Outer Banks vacation rental and finally meet each other in person.
You will find excellent Outer Banks vacation rental options whether planning a relaxing trip, attending a wedding or getting together with a big group of friends or family. Building height restrictions and development codes have kept most chain hotels out of the Outer Banks and, as a result, this is one of the largest vacation rental home markets in the country.
My Outer Banks house to rent, The Reserve, was in the quaint town of Duck. This isn’t where you stay in a hotel. Your best experience in Outer Banks is in a rental house or condo, and it’s a great place to gather with a large group because there are so many tremendous houses here! My house could have easily accommodated 20 people with on-site parking.
My group’s property had ten large bedrooms distributed across three floors. There was an elevator, but it was not working during the duration of my stay. Be sure to check on this if anyone in your group has mobility concerns.
Three-Story Outer Banks House to Rent
Level 1: This floor includes four bedrooms with a bathroom, a king-sized master, two doubles, two duo bunk sets, and two twins. A recreation room consists of a pool table, wet bar, refrigerator, entertainment center and a gas fireplace. There is a laundry room with two washers/dryers and access to the patio with a pool and hot tub.
Level 2: This floor includes four bedrooms with a bathroom, three king-size masters, and three twins. There is also a media room with a wet bar and refrigerator, an office area, and a deck overlooking the swimming pool.
Level 3: This floor includes two king-sized master bedrooms with a bathroom. There is also a great room, kitchen with two stoves, two ovens with warming stations, two microwaves, two dishwashers, an ice machine and a larger Kitchen Air refrigerator, dining room, half bath, screened porch with convenient access to the hot tub.
In the spacious kitchen on the third floor, you will find everything you need to create meals or perhaps a quick breakfast before leaving to explore the area.
In the Outer Banks, guests are expected to provide their own bed sheets, towels and toiletries. This is uncommon in the U.S., but the way they do it here. You’ll also need to bring your own hair dryer.
For those who love exploring, this house is ideally located within walking distance of Duck’s restaurants and shops, the community recreation center and the community trolley (in season).
With a large private pool, two hot tubs and two fireplaces, this Outer Banks vacation rental sets the scene for a memorable vacation.
What to do in Outer Banks
From your Outer Banks house to rent you will find an abundance of activities and places to explore.
- Fishing at Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head: If you’d rather just look at the fish, visit the aquarium.
- Kitty Hawk Woods Kayak Tours: This kayak tour is the best family eco-tour experience on the Outer Banks. The tour is for beginners who want to explore a calm, glassy creek that meanders through the natural glory of one of North Carolina’s most extensive tracks of deciduous maritime forest habitat.
- Native Birding Tours: Jonathan Cooley provides a fun and memorable birding trip for everyone at an affordable price! He caters to all experience levels; he is excellent for first-time birders, families, or experienced birders. You will have a 2-hour private tour of Duck Boardwalk and adjacent wetlands.
- Outer Banks Lighthouses: I always enjoy visiting lighthouses. There are five lighthouses to explore:
- Currituck Beach Lighthouse – This lighthouse is open to the public. Enjoy walking up 220 steps to the top. The views are spectacular!
- Bodie Island Lighthouse – Climbing the Bodie Island Lighthouse is available in summer.
- Cape Hatteras Lighthouse – Due to ongoing restoration efforts, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse may not be available for climbing in 2022.
- Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse – Today’s lighthouse is the fourth incarnation of the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse.
- Ocracoke Lighthouse – Unfortunately, you cannot climb the lighthouse, but you can still visit daily with on-site parking.
- Wright Brothers National Memorial: This National Memorial to the Birthplace of Flight has just received a makeover. Experience a cold day in December 1903 when Wilbur and Orville Wright changed the world forever. The first plane, “The Wright Flyer,” skimmed over the sands of the Outer Banks for 12 seconds before returning to the ground.
- Manteo/Roanoke Island Exploration:
- Manteo History Walking Tour with Francis D’Ambra – Take a walking tour through the Historic Waterfront of Old Manteo with this retired Police Chief. He has fantastic stories to tell including some about Andy Griffith and Richard Gere!. The Elizabeth Gardens – These elaborate gardens were designed to entertain Queen Elizabeth I during her reign. They were also created as a memorial to when Sir Walter Raleigh’s lost colonists lived in this place over 400 years ago.
- Fort Raleigh National Historic Site – This site protects and preserves known portions of England’s first New World settlements from 1584 to 1590. This site also preserves the cultural heritage of the Native Americans, European Americans, and African American’s who have lived on Roanoke Island.
Places to Eat in Outer Banks
If you won’t be cooking in your Outer Banks vacation rental, no shortage of local, family owned restaurants are here to welcome you. Seafood is the order of the day almost everywhere you go.
- NC Coast Grill & Bar: This restaurant celebrates the flavors of the coastal South while bringing in cross-cultural and global influences. Owner Wes Stepp, a long-time Outer Banks chef of Red Sky Café and Tastefully Fit Frame, describes NC Coast’s food as cutting-edge coastal and Southern with nuances from around the world.
I decided to try the Kilt-Less Salmon, as I am not a seafood lover, and I enjoyed the pistachio-crusted grilled salmon with potato risotto and grilled vegetables.
- Lifesaving Station Restaurant at Sanderling Resort: Sanderling’s casual, three-meals-a-day restaurant celebrates Southern coastal cuisine and regional, organic products indoors and out. It is well known for the “best breakfast on the Outer Banks.” The menu changes seasonally, while the wine and beer lists are always impressive.
I was so surprised that their fresh fish of the day was Halibut! I decided to order that, as it was a special treat. This meal also included Heritage pilaf rice, asparagus, and shrimp. The crust on the Halibut was terrific, and the fish melted in my mouth. For dessert, I chose pumpkin cheesecake, and it was so good!
Visiting the Outer Banks
When I discovered that the Travel Writer’s University retreat was in Outer Banks, North Carolina, I was excited to go to a place I hadn’t visited. I flew into Norfolk, VA, stayed in a hotel overnight, and then drove towards the Outer Banks – OBX.
When I arrived in Duck, I drove down the road for a while to get a feel for this new experience. On my way back, I decided to stop at an area with shops and a boardwalk. I spent at least an hour or more exploring and had a peacefulness come over me while walking and looking at the views.
I had looked at the pictures of the enormous Outer Banks house to rent we would be staying in before I got there, yet I couldn’t imagine such a big house. When I arrived, I slowly walked around, found my bedroom with a bathroom, and met friends I had known for a few years. It was a magical moment for me.
The Outer Banks offers something to everyone. There are beaches if you love to swim. I found out there are five lighthouses. I had wanted to take a tour with the wild horses, but needed more time… when I come back one day, I will book one of those tours!