Outer Banks Travel Guide

Outer Banks Travel Guide

Things you want to know!

Discover all that the Outer Banks has to offer in our Outer Banks Travel Guide. From delicious restaurants and unique shops, to famous historical sites and family-friendly activities, our coastline has something for everyone.  The Carolina Designs vacation guide is your entry point to the OBX!

Your Visit To The Outer Banks | Carolina Designs

Your Visit To The Outer Banks

Information, Tips and Directions

There’s a lot to see and do on the Outer Banks and we want you to enjoy it all. Here are some quick tips, directions and other information you’ll find helpful in making your stay with us all it can be.

About Carolina Designs And Our Outer Banks Vacation Homes

About Carolina Designs Realty

Since 1988, Carolina Designs Realty has represented select Outer Banks vacation homes located in the towns of Corolla, Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. We are a family owned and operated business that has established a reputation with guests for our quality properties and focus on customer service. Guests who reserve our homes enjoy keyless entry, freshly made beds, towel sets in each bedroom, wifi, our signature welcome package, and a dedicated staff whose goals are to enhance your vacation experience.

Our team is local and here to help! Here at CDR, we hang our hats on great houses and great customer service. If you need assistance finding the right house for your group, or have questions about the Outer Banks, give us a call! Our knowledgable staff is here for you, 7 days a week.

Voted “Best Vacation Rental Company” in Best of the Beach every year since 2013!

Any home can have problems that arise from time to time; what counts is how quickly those issues are addressed. Our operations team includes a staff of full-time field maintenance technicians and in-house coordinators that work hard to take care of our guests’ needs. We want your stay with us to be as carefree as possible!

To ensure that your home is properly prepared prior to your arrival, we manage our own cleaning and inspection staff. All of our cleaning teams are trained by our customer care department and each is required to follow a rigorous set of guidelines as they clean your rental home.

Read more

Highlights Throughout the Years

  • The first Outer Banks rental company to provide linens (beds made) as a standard amenity.
  • 1997: The first Outer Banks rental company (and one of the first in the country) to offer real time availability and reservations via Internet.
  • 2006: Deployed wireless internet access in our homes and now all of our homes provide wifi internet access.
  • 2007: To help preserve the fragile Outer Banks ecosystems, we transitioned to revolutionary electrolyzed home cleaning products eliminating the need to use harsh chemicals.
  • 2008: Initiation of an innovative wait list program for guests.
  • 2009: We launched a state-of-the-art, user-friendly website system to simplify locating and reserving homes, printing leases and making online payments.
  • 2010: The first Outer Banks company to offer guests the option to plan vacations a year in advance by securing a Houses with a 10% down payment.
  • 2013: We migrated to an all-encompassing property management system, Advanced Reservation Technologies (ART) and won the Max Radio/OBX Voice “Best of the Beach Competition” in the categories of “Best Vacation Rental Company,” Best Property Management Company,” and “Best Real Estate Sales.”
  • 2014: Winner of the Max Radio/OBX Voice “Best of the Beach Competition” in the categories of “Best Vacation Rental Company,” “Best Houses Management Company” and “Best Real Estate Sales.”
  • 2015: All of our properties were upgraded to our Smart Lock Keyless Entry System and we won the Max Radio/OBX Voice “Best of the Beach Competition” in the categories of “Best Vacation Rental Company,” “Best Houses Management Company” and “Best Real Estate Sales.”
  • 2016: We launched a new website and won the Max Radio/OBX Voice “Best of the Beach Competition” in the categories of “Best Vacation Rental and Property Management Company” and “Best Real Estate Company.”
  • 2017: We won the Max Radio/OBX Voice “Best of the Beach Competition” in the categories of “Best Vacation Rental and Property Management Company” and “Best Real Estate Company.”
  • 2018: We won the Max Radio/OBX Voice “Best of the Beach Competition” in the categories of “Best Vacation Rental Company” and “Best Real Estate Company.”

Read more

Contact Carolina Designs Realty | Get In Touch With A Specialist

Contact Us: 800-368-3825

Open Daily 9AM-5PM; Holiday hours may vary.

Keyless Entry

Keyless EntryKeyless Entry

How to Operate the Keyless Entry Lock

Your vacation home is equipped with keyless entry, which may look like one of the following:

Unlock

  • Touch the keypad portion of the lock with the palm of your hand to illuminate the keypad.
  • Enter your code followed by the asterisk key (*) or the check mark (√) — whichever icon you see on the bottom left of your keypad.
  • When the code is accepted the locking mechanism will activate and the lock will open.

Lock

To lock simply touch the keypad with the back of your hand causing the locking mechanism to activate and the lock will then close.

Should you have any problems with lock operation:

  • Please retry the procedure.
  • Double check the code you entered with the code provided.

If problem persists, please call 800-368-3825.

What To Bring To The OBX

What to BringWhat to Bring

  • Beach Chairs & Umbrellas
  • Beach Towels
  • Pool & Beach Toys
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Garbage Bags
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Spices
  • Pot holders
  • Paper Towels
  • Toilet tissue
  • Hair Dryers

You can pack less!

You can rent just about anything you need for your vacation. From baby cribs to surf boards, Ocean Atlantic Rentals has your back — and Carolina Designs Realty guests receive a discount on online orders.

All of our homes provide:

  • Convenient Keyless Entry
  • Wifi & Cable, Satellite TV, or Streaming Services
  • Freshly Made Beds
  • Towels (we supply two towel sets per King/Queen/Double bed and one per Twin bed. Each towel set contains a bath towel, hand towel and wash cloth)
  • Kitchen (stocked with basic cookware/tableware, microwave, stove/oven, dishwasher, and coffee maker)
  • Washer, Dryer, Iron, & Ironing Board
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Signature Welcome Package

Welcome Package

Our signature welcome package will be waiting at your home when you check in. You’ll find a reusable shopping bag containing a starter supply of the following items:

  • Fresh Roasted Coffee
  • Dishwashing Detergent
  • Paper Towels
  • Bath Soap
  • Toilet Tissue
  • Laundry Detergent
  • 2 Dish Cloths
  • 2 Dish Towels
  • 1 Pot Holder

A Few Additional Tips

Grocery Shopping

There are two standard grocery store chains that have multiple locations on the Outer Banks; Harris-Teeter (in Corolla, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills) and Food Lion (in Corolla, Southern Shores, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head). Publix Super Market is located in Kill Devil Hills. Tommy’s Natural Foods Market & Wine Shop in Duck has the largest selection of local, vegan and gluten free products in the area and you can pre-order groceries through their website.

Outer Banks stores can be very crowded on Saturdays and Sundays so we recommend planning your grocery shopping trip accordingly.

Traffic

Outer Banks traffic can be very heavy on Saturdays and Sundays, especially heading north towards Duck and Corolla, so make your travel plans with this in mind.

Swimming Safety

SwimmingOcean Swimming Safety Tips

Outer Banks Red Flag Warnings

During dangerous surf conditions on Outer Banks beaches, the public is informed by local radio stations and also warned by red “NO SWIMMING” flags flying on the oceanfront at beach entrances. For your safety, please obey all red flag warnings.

It is against the law to swim in the surf when there is a Red Flag Warning on the Outer Banks beaches of Currituck County (Ocean Hill, Corolla Light, Whalehead, Monteray Shores, Buck Island, Crown Point, The Currituck Club, Spindrift, Ocean Sands and Pine Island) and Southern Shores. Violation is subject to a fine of up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail.”Swimming” is defined to also mean entry into the ocean by assistance of any device commonly used. (Surfers using a fiberglass and foam combination surfboard of at least five feet in length with a minimum of one fin and used with a leash are exempted from this red flag provision.)

Rip Currents

Seaward currents, also called rip currents or rip tides, are created by breaks in the sand bar off shore and are very dangerous. Rip currents are channels of water flowing away from the shore and will pull a swimmer out from shore. When a rip current forms, a channel of water 10 to 50 feet wide flows quickly away from shore.

Contrary to popular conceptions, rip currents do not pull swimmers underwater.

To spot a rip current, look for the following signs:

  • Water appears calmer and cooler than water around it
  • Water color appears different than water around it
  • Foam, objects or debris are moving away from the shore

If you are caught in a rip current, do not try to swim toward the shore against the current. Instead, wave and call for the Lifeguard, swim parallel to the shore until free of the current and then swim to shore. Above all, remain calm.

Learn more about Outer Banks Rip Currents

Backwash

A backwash current on a steeply sloping beach can pull you toward deper water, but its power is swiftly checked by incoming waves. To escape this current, swim straight in if you’re a strong swimmer. If not, wait and float until the current stops, then swim in. If the current takes you out through incoming waves, it is a rip current.

The Outer Banks Is Well-Known As A Sport-Fisherman’s Paradise.

If you plan on going fishing during your trip, please be aware that a Coastal Recreational Fishing License is required for anglers 16 and older. The license is required to recreationally fish in the state’s Coastal Fishing Waters, which include sounds, coastal rivers and their tributaries, and out to three miles in the ocean.

Bonfire Rules & Regulations


BonefiresBonfires

Sitting around a fire on an Outer Banks beach can be romantic and relaxing. Although not allowed on beaches in Corolla, Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk or Kill Devil Hills – fires are allowed, with regulations, on beaches in Nags Head and along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The regulations are as follows:

Nags Head

Permits are required and are obtained from the Nags Head Fire Department located at 5314 Croatan Highway after 5:00pm on the specific day the fire is requested. Fires will not be permitted if winds are 10 knots or more. A picture ID, the address of applicant and the location for the requested fire are required. Fires cannot be built within 50 feet of any combustible material. In addition, the hollowed-out pit must be no larger than 3 feet in diameter and not less than 1 foot in depth. The fire must be attended by an adult and must be extinguished prior to leaving.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Small ground fires are permitted on the beach below the high tide line and a minimum 100 feet from dune vegetation. Ground fires must be attended by an adult and be completely extinguished using water, not sand, before leaving. Permits are not required.

Off Road & 4×4 Information | Carolina Designs

Off RoadOff Roading The Outer Banks

The Outer Banks, with its spectacular natural beauty, offers visitors opportunities to enjoy pleasures that are far from commonplace. Here, you can drive your four-wheel-drive vehicle along the many miles of accessible beach as you search for that perfect fishing spot, or sit around a bonfire with the backdrop of the ocean waves. All of this can be enjoyed, but there are a few regulations that must be followed.

Driving an off-road vehicle (ORV)

Driving an off-road vehicle (ORV) on the beach can be fun where beach driving is permitted. Please observe the following rules:

  • The speed limit is 15 mph unless otherwise posted
  • Enter and leave the beach only at designated, open ramps (never between or on the dunes)
  • Drive only on the portion of the beach that lies between the foot of the dunes a and the ocean
  • Proceed with caution and consideration for other beach visitors — pedestrians always have the right-of-way
  • All vehicles must have a valid vehicle registration, insurance, and license plate
  • The operator of the vehicle must have a current driver’s license

Corolla

Beach driving in Corolla takes place year-round at the northern end of NC12 where the pavement ends, but south of this point ORV’s are only permitted between October 1st and April 30th. As of summer 2018, permits are required for beach driving in Corolla (Currituck County) from the Friday before Memorial Day until Labor Day. The permit can be purchased at the Corolla Visitors’ Center at 500 Hunt Club Drive in Corolla, or by mail beforehand. For more information, contact the town’s administrative office at 252-453-9612 or visit ParkingOnTheBeach.com. Please be extra careful when driving north of where the pavement ends, because this is where wild Spanish mustangs roam free. It is illegal to feed or come within 50 feet of these wild animals. This video from the Corolla Wild Horse Fund provides more information.

Duck

ORV’s are permitted on these Outer Banks beaches between October 1st and April 30th. No permit required. For more information on beach driving, contact the respective town’s administrative office at: Duck: 252-255-1234 and Kitty Hawk: 252-261-3552.

Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head

Beach driving on these Outer Banks beaches is only allowed between October 1 and April 30. In order to operate an ORV on the beach in Nags Head, visitors must apply for and receive a permit from the Nags Head Town Hall. Permits will be granted only with accompanying proof of state registration. Kill Devil Hills does not require a permit. For more information contact the respective town’s administrative office at: Kill Devil Hills: 252-449-5300 and Nags Head: 252-441-5508.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Use of ORV’s on the Outer Banks beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore is permitted year-round with limitations. Oceanfront beaches located in the Outer Banks towns of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras are closed to vehicles from May to September every year. Driving on beaches at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is strictly prohibited. ORV accesses to beaches are open to vehicles by designated ramps only. For current information on ORV areas, contact National Park Service Headquarters at 252-473-2111 or visit any visitor center located throughout the park.

Southern Shores

No motorized vehicles allowed on the beach.

Information provided by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau.

Outer Banks Fishing Information

FishingFishing

The Outer Banks Is Well-Known As A Sport-Fisherman’s Paradise.

If you plan on going fishing during your trip, please be aware that a Coastal Recreational Fishing License is required for anglers 16 and older. The license is required to recreationally fish in the state’s Coastal Fishing Waters, which include sounds, coastal rivers and their tributaries, and out to three miles in the ocean.

Annual License

State Residents, 16 or older: $15 Non-residents, 16 or older: $30

10-day License

State Residents, 16 or older: $5 Non-residents, 16 or older: $10

Hatteras to Ocracoke

For a list of license retailers, or to order and print a license online visit www.ncwildlife.net

Outer Banks Fishing Piers and Fishing Centers

Avalon Pier

MP 6, Kill Devil Hills
252-441-7494

Nags Head Fishing Pier

MP 11.5, Nags Head
252-441-5141

Outer Banks Pier

MP 18.5, Nags Head
252-441-5740

Sound Pier

Nags Head Causeway
252-441-5028

Pirates Cover Marina

252-473-3906

Oregon Inlet Fishing Center

252-272-5199

Broad Creek Fishing Center & Marina

252-473-9991