Best Vacation Rentals in the Outer Banks on Airbnb, Vrbo (Updated July 2021)

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FAQs: Outer Banks vacation rentals

Where are the Outer Banks?

The Outer Banks are a 130-mile chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, accessible by car by crossing one of the many bridges that connect it to the mainland. If you are traveling here, the nearest airport is Norfolk, Virginia; from there it is about 80 miles by car.

With the ocean on one side and the strait on the other, the narrow strip of land is dotted with quaint towns and villages, as well as miles of pristine and protected National Seashore.

What towns and villages make up the Outer Banks?

The Outer Banks are made up of 10 major cities and many small villages. Those in the area known as the Northern Beaches are the most popular due to their central location: Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills, and a little further north are Duck and Corolla.

Heading south there is the historic Manteo (located on Roanoke Island), then the more remote Hatteras Island, where you will find Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras Town.

At the southern end (and accessible only by ferry) is Ocracoke Island and its namesake town of Ocracoke.

What to do in the Outer Banks?

A visit to OBX is all about the ocean, whether it’s swimming, surfing, or sunbathing on the wide, sandy beaches. It’s also a top fishing destination, with year-round charters and several piers that are fun for anglers of all ages. Other attractions include climbing the sand dunes of Jockey’s Ridge State Park, visiting the islands’ many historic lighthouses, and spotting the Corolla’s wild horses.

Where should I vacation in the Outer Banks?

The centrally located beach towns of Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and Kill Devil Hills tend to be more crowded, but they also offer the most amenities, from mini-golf and cinemas to department stores and plenty of restaurants.

Southern Shores, on the Sound side, is more residential and is home to residents year round; Further north are the upscale towns of Duck and Corolla, which have less crowded beaches, as parking is reserved for people with a pass (which most rentals offer).

The charming town of Manteo on Roanoke Island sits on the Sound side – not ideal for beachgoers but ideal for those looking for a quiet waterfront stay with lots of history (this is the one of the first English colonies in the New World).

If you’re willing to drive further south to Hatteras Island, you’ll be rewarded with miles of pristine beaches flanked by craggy dunes and laid-back little towns and villages. Those who really want to get away from it all can take the ferry from Hatteras Village to the remote island of Ocracoke.

How much does it cost to rent a vacation home in the Outer Banks?

Much of the housing stock in the Outer Banks is devoted to vacation rental, and there is a wide variety in terms of price, location, size, amenities, and design. Rentals on or near the beach are generally more expensive than those on the Sound side, and properties near the posh towns of Duck and Corolla tend to be higher. More importantly, prices fluctuate depending on the time of year; summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day) is peak season, while fall, spring, and winter (except during the holidays) see much lower rates. Usually it makes little difference in cost if you book midweek or on weekends, especially in summer.

Smaller properties are more affordable and generally have greater availability as the Outer Banks turn to vacationers with families or larger groups.

For example, a studio in the low season costs $ 75 per night, doubling to $ 150 in the summer. But a 5-bedroom house on the Sound side that costs $ 340 a night in the low season hits nearly $ 1,000 a night in July. And that’s if the property is available – many homes currently listed are already fully booked for the summer.

Also, be sure to allow for extra charges for cleaning, service charges, and other additional costs imposed by vacation rentals such as Airbnb.

What should I look for in an Airbnb or a Vrbo?

Consider criteria such as the items we use to select homes to recommend to readers. This includes recent positive reviews (often with a minimal rating), Superhost status, homes that participate in the Enhanced Clean program, affordable price ranges, as well as proximity to the beach and amenities such as swimming pools, outdoor seating and water views.

Be aware that many properties, especially larger homes, have minimum stay requirements.

What is Airbnb’s cancellation policy?

Cancellation policies on Airbnb differ for each home and are set by each host. For a full description of Airbnb’s cancellation policies, click here.

How to book a house in the Outer Banks on Airbnb?

You can search for rentals in the Outer Banks based on location, price, date, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, amenities, etc. Once you’ve found a home, check the cancellation policies and review your price in full. For more information, click here.

Is it safe to stay at an Airbnb?

According to experts, yes. The CDC says fully vaccinated people can travel safely to the United States.

And if you’re wondering if Airbnb is safe, private home rentals are believed to offer a higher level of security than hotels. They minimize interactions with others, and Airbnb hosts are required to follow enhanced cleaning procedures.


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